March 2007   Volume 4
 Issue 1

In this issue...

 NNSP, National Governors Association, and Corporation for a Skilled Workforce Collaborate

The New Orleans Region after Katrina

LA Recovery Authority Awards $38m to Support Sector Initiatives

A Glimpse at System Change in Flint, Michigan

NNSP Program Updates

Policy Updates

Funding Announcements

Partner Press Announcements




March, 2007

Dear NNSP Affiliates and Supporters,

Welcome to the first issue of Partner Press in 2007. This issue will fill you in on recent and exciting advances for sector initiatives.

Here are some highlights in this issue:

  • State policy support for sector is expanding rapidly. Learn about NNSP’s work to increase state policy support for sector initiatives with the Accelerating State Adoption of Sector Strategies project.

  • The sector approach is being used in workforce and economic development efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans and the surrounding region. This issue covers work that has gone forward to develop sector initiatives and to gain significant state funding.

  • The Funding Announcements section provides information on four potential sources of funding for sector initiatives.

  •  Applications for the third class of the Sector Skills Academy has begun, and applications will be accepted through March 16, 2007. To find out more, see the Announcements section. To download an application, go to  

  • We are announcing the 2007 NNSP Conference.  Save the date!  November 13-15 in Denver!

Other topics in this issue include California’s increased support for regional workforce funding collaboratives and NNSP’s role, a healthcare CEO’s perspective on changing industry and workforce development systems, sector training for community colleges, and NNSP’s strategic venture grants.

The work this issue of Partner Press describes would not have been possible without the generous financial support NNSP has received. NNSP thanks the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the California Endowment, the States of California, Louisiana, and Minnesota, the Aspen Institute, the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative, the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and Jobs for the Future for the funding they have provided.

I’d also like to introduce you to additional National Economic Development and Law Center staff members who join Dexter Ligot-Gordon and me to work on NNSP projects, including two who were recently hired (Serena Unger and Ravi Mangat) and two long-time colleagues. Among other projects, Serena is leading our work on membership recruitment and engagement, and has joined project teams working on state policy and community college support of sector initiatives. Ravi is analyzing the sector field and developing informative reports that describe the state of sector initiatives nationwide. In addition, Gabrielle Lessard and Liz Roth have joined a project team working on expansion of regional workforce funding collaboratives.

Finally, congratulations to Amy Wallace, who had done so much for NNSP over the years. She has recently joined the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development in San Francisco, as a Workforce Development Manager specializing in sector initiatives.

All the best, and we look forward to working with you during 2007.

Jack Mills
Director, NNSP

p.s. Reminder, to access the NNSP affiliate-only sections of the website, use the password “oakland.”

NNSP, National Governors Association, and Corporation for a Skilled Workforce Collaborate to Expand State Sector Strategies
For the past two years, NNSP has partnered with the National Governors Association and Corporation for a Skilled Workforce on the groundbreaking “Accelerating the Adoption of State Sector Strategies” project. The project brings together teams that include state policy makers and leaders of sector initiatives. It has three tracks that support their efforts to scale up sector strategies —the Learning Network, Policy Academy, and the Knowledge Exchange—for advanced, emerging, and new state sector strategies. ...please click here for full article.

The New Orleans Region after Katrina, a Perspective by
Dexter Ligot-Gordon

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita exacerbated and exposed the entrenched poverty and social isolation that touched New Orleans long before the hurricanes touched shore.  The hope is that this devastation will become a catalyst for a better future. In 2006, my colleague at NEDLC, Susie Suafai, and I spent time in New Orleans to hold focus groups with local residents and employers. ...please click here for full article.

LA Recovery Authority Awards $38m to Support Sector Initiatives

In December 2006 the Louisiana Recovery Authority awarded $38 million in grants to support sector initiatives in hurricane-affected regions of Louisiana. As a part of that award, the New Orleans region received funding for advanced manufacturing, healthcare, construction, and other sector initiatives, including one with which NNSP worked extensively. ...please click here for full article.

A Glimpse at System Change in the Flint Healthcare Employment Opportunities Sector Initiative
An Interview with Norma Hagenow by Serena Unger

The Flint Healthcare Employment Opportunities (FHEO) Sector Initiative began in 2002 as a project of the Greater Flint Health Coalition (GFHC) in collaboration with over 20 local partners. FHEO works with healthcare employers to make entry-level positions a stepping stone to a better life for Flint’s low income, and primarily African-American residents. FHEO works with residents to improve employability and occupational skills, and works with employers to restructure hiring, retention and promotional practices to help reduce turn-over and meet hiring needs. With GFHC managing the initative, all industry, educational, and community-based partners collaborate on planning, implementation, and management. As an industry-led initiative, three major employer partners, Genesys Health Systems and McLaren and Hurley Regional Medical Centers, have the primary role of defining training needs.

Norma Hagenow is Chief Executive Officer of Genesys Health Systems, a regionally integrated health care delivery system comprised of a complete continuum of care with operating revenues of over 410 million. As Chair of the FHEO Implementation Committee (which also serves as FHEO’s board of directors), Norma has been a key player in promoting the project among other local employers and has shown how important employer buy-in and employer engagement is in turning out what she calls “win-win-win” outcomes for a sector initiative. ...please click here for full article.


NNSP Program Updates


An Agenda for Equity: Examining How Sector Initiatives Can Serve Immigrant and Communities of Color

Strengthening Community Colleges through Sector Strategies

Expansion of Funding Collaboratives in California

Strategic Venture Grantees


Policy Updates

Retooling for the Road Ahead, focusing on Sector Policy in the South

Massachusetts Workforce Development Trust Fund

Funding Announcements

Several sources of funding, named below, are currently available for sector initiatives. Please click here for complete description of grant opportunities.

High Growth Job Training Initiative Grants for the Long-Term Care Sector of the Health Care Industry Closing Date: April 5, 2007

Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) Initiative - Third Generation Closing Date: April 13, 2007

Women in Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Occupations (WANTO) grants Closing Date: April 16, 2007

AT&T Excelerator Grants Closing Date: May 4, 2007


Partner Press Announcements


Sector Initiatives Make Front Page of Washington Post!
Check it out the February 26, 2006 article, "Building a Career Path Where There Was Just a Dead End," on the Washington Post website.

The Knowledge Exchange at
The Knowledge Exchange, part of a joint project of the National Governors Association, the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce and the National Network of Sector Partners, is a new website designed to provide policymakers and sector leaders with the tools to design and implement sector policy. It is a component of the Accelerating the Adoption of State Sector Strategies project that provides governors and states with learning opportunities to align their workforce, economic and education systems to meet the needs of critical industries. Please go to to visit the Knowledge Exchange.

Learn More About State-level Sector Strategies via Online Workshops!
Starting in late 2006, NNSP began hosting a five-part series of webinars (live, interactive online learning forums) as a part of the Accelerating the Adoption of State Sector Strategies project.

The webinars are intended to help a growing network of people interested in sector initiatives learn directly from state sector leaders who have implemented cutting-edge sector policy. Over 80 people from 32 states were in attendance for an interactive discussion during each of the first two webinars, which were held on December 12 and January 18. These sessions focused on “How to Launch a State Sector Strategy” and “State Funding Strategies.”

To sign up for the next webinars or review materials from the first two, please go to  Registration is free so spread the word!  Dates for the next three webinars will be announced on the website in March.

Sector Skills Academy
The Sector Skills Academy was initiated in June 2005 by the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative, the National Network of Sector Partners, and Public/Private Ventures. The Academy is designed for organizational leaders with direct responsibility and authority to implement a sector strategy. Fellows have represented a variety of organizations including: community- and faith-based organizations, workforce investment boards and economic development organizations, and community colleges. In addition to learning about innovative ideas from creative leaders in today's sectoral development field, participants also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with experienced professionals serving as mentors. The Academy is now recruiting for the 2007 class of fellows. All applications must be received by March 16, 2007. For more information on how to apply please visit the Sector Skills Academy website.

Save the Date

  NNSP’s Biennial Conference will be held in Denver, Colorado, November 13-15, 2007. More information will be available soon at  

"Partner Press" Contributing Staff:
Serena Unger, Dexter Ligot Gordon, Jack Mills, Esther Polk, and Ki Allen