Workforce consortia we reviewed connected small businesses to a coordinated system of organizations and activities that provided the services and information they needed to address both current and future workforce needs. Current needs included identifying and hiring new employees as well as training existing employees. Consortia activities to address businesses’ needs for new employees included activities like job fairs that brought businesses together with job seekers and initiatives that linked businesses with community-based organizations that had pools of potential employees. Consortia activities to address training needs for existing employees included, for example, industry-specific training in the use of manufacturing technology and English as a second language classes for improving worker/supervisor communication. Consortia activities that focused on future workforce needs were designed to create pathways for new workers—particularly youth—into the job market. These included career awareness activities for youth, such as job shadowing, and internships as well as longer-term training, such as apprenticeships, in the skills needed for a specific trade or technical career.

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