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Employers can improve their fortunes by investing in training and development for their lower-wage employees according. This business brief, released by the National Network for Sector Partners (NNSP), is based on structured interviews with employers around the nation who have achieved significant bottom line benefits by undertaking innovative training and career development efforts targeted at their lower-skilled, lower-wage workers, and providing significant wage increases for those that develop skills the employers value. Many of the employers participate in sector initiatives.

2010
National Network of Sector Partners, The Insight Center for Community Economic Development

To highlight the growing importance of business engagement in education, the National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) and the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have released a joint publication titled Thriving in Challenging Times: Connecting Education to Economic Development Through Career Pathways.

The publication’s title reflects an increasing awareness among American employers and business leaders of the critical role they must play in supporting successful education models in their local communities, particularly in challenging economic times.

Thriving in Challenging Times profiles 17 local and two statewide career pathways programs from across the U.S. by documenting the challenges, strategies, results, and business engagement each partnership has experienced.  Featured industry sectors range from aerospace to healthcare to nuclear energy with business involvement ranging from small businesses to multinational corporations.  Each program includes three essential elements for ensuring students are prepared for college and careers –secondary, postsecondary, and business/industry engagement components.

2009
Institute for a Competitive Workforce and National Career Pathways Network

For over a decade Corporate Voices for Working Families (Corporate Voices) has provided leading best-practice employers a forum to improve the lives of working families, while strengthening our nation’s economy. Many employers accomplish this by supporting the educational attainment of current and future employees. In order to ensure that individuals have the skills to succeed in the workplace and are on education and career pathways to earning family sustaining wages, employers often partner with community colleges in Learn and Earn models of talent development. These partnerships integrate important aspects of employment and education for working learners and do so at an attractive price point for working families.

This blueprint, which is intended for business and community college leaders who have limited expertise in forming partnerships and are interested in undertaking such an endeavor, is divided into four sections:
• Overview: Explains how partnerships serve businesses, community colleges and working learners.

• Section I: Targets businesses with strategic ways to leverage community college expertise.

• Section II: Identifies business and community college divisions where partnerships can be integrated.

• Section III: Targets community colleges with the advantages of partnering with business.

The study discussed in this report examined how a cost-benefit analysis system could be used to evaluate the long term fiscal and outcomes impacts of innovative programs, such as integrated ESL classes or adult development education. This approach is novel because in more commonly used enrollment-driven approaches to evaluation, program improvement is seen as a cost rather than a potential investment in increased retention, and by extension, revenues.

2009
Kristin Corash and Elaine DeLott Baker
Colorado Community College System