Employer-Educator Partnerships:
The Educator's Perspective

America's educational system—particularly Adult Education and Career and Technical Training—has a crucial role to play in "upskilling" the workforce—eliminating the gap between current workforce skills and projected workforce needs. The U.S. Department of Education has implemented a variety of national activities designed to strengthen connections among Adult Education, Career and Technical Education, the public workforce system, human service agencies, and businesses and other employers.

Bridging the Skills Gap

Educators are in a unique position to:

  • Help bring together the goals of education and industry.
  • Educate employers about the value of Career and Technical Education and Training, compared with traditional vocational education, in upskilling the workforce.
  • Find easy and meaningful ways that employers can participate in the educational arena as part of the upskilling process.
  • Help individuals develop foundational skills needed for existing and future jobs.

Adult Education and Career and Technical Education programs understand that integration of basic skills and occupational training can be a powerful accelerator for addressing the shortage of workers with high-demand skills. This requires cooperation with employers and industry groups to embed work experiences of all kinds into education pathways and to keep job-specific skills updated in the curriculum.

Job-driven, competency-based training begins by engaging with employers early in the process of designing education and training programs. Education and training programs can partner with employers to:

  • Provide work-based learning opportunities.
  • Identify types of training demanded by the labor market.
  • Offer externships (teacher learning experiences).
  • Make a commitment to hire program graduates.

Working with multiple employers is likely to be more effective than partnering with isolated businesses. One promising approach is reaching out to employers who are already engaged with workforce development and career pathways programs or those involved in collaborations within their industry sectors.

View Stories from Educators to learn how educators and employers have formed partnerships to help American workers acquire high-demand skills and connect them with opportunities for meaningful employment.

View Professional Resources including policy briefs and practical tools to build partnerships for upskilling America's workers.

Students in lecture hall
This website was developed by NOVA Research Company with assistance from the LINCS Technical Support Contract and funding from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE), under Contract No. ED-VAE-14-O-5014. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education should be inferred.