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Linking Workforce Development, Education & Economic Development In Armstrong, Butler & Indiana Counties

Industry Clusters

The Commonwealth’s Targeted Industry Clusters

An industry cluster consists of a group of industries that are closely linked by common product markets, labor pools, similar technologies, supplier chains, and /or other economic ties.  Clusters can take on strategic importance because activities that benefit one group member will generally have positive spillover effects on other members of the cluster.  Clusters are used to:

  • Provide a consistent definition that allows for the comparison of the industrial structure of Pennsylvania’s regional economies.
  • Identify major employers in significant clusters as a springboard for building Industry Partnerships.
  • Provide a basis for occupational data analysis – Knowledge, Skills, Abilities (KSA) – by grouping industries together that share workforce needs.
  • Direct resource allocation to the preparation of the Commonwealth’s workforce for jobs that will offer family-sustaining wages.

The Commonwealth’s targeted industry clusters and eight sub-clusters were defined in 2003 and 2004 based on detailed industry analysis, the local knowledge of leading Local Workforce Investment Boards, and input from educators and representatives of the Departments of Labor & Industry and Community and Economic Development. Each of the targeted industry clusters consists of a group of industries that are closely linked by common product markets, labor pools, similar technologies, supply chains, and/or other economic ties. In 2008, Labor & Industry revised the industry clusters to the following.

1. Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing

•   Chemical, Rubber and Plastics
•   Electronics
•   Metals and Metal Fabrication
•   Printing
•   Vehicle and Vehicle Equipment

2. Agriculture and Food Processing (includes Food Processing)
3. Bio-Medical
4. Building and Construction
5. Business and Financial Services
6. Education
7. Energy (includes Mining and Utilities)
8. Health Care
9. Information and Communication Services
10. Logistics and Transportation
11. Lumber, Wood and Paper

Locally, the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board has focused on the following clusters:

Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing
Health Care
Information and Communication Services
Business and Financial Services

Industry Partnerships

Industry Partnerships (IPs) are a key institutional innovation for meeting the skills needs of businesses, the career goals of workers, and the economic development goals of the Commonwealth. Industry Partnerships are a particular kind of “workforce intermediary,” a so-called dual customer institution that helps connect and meet the needs of both workers and businesses. Industry Partnerships bring together multiple employers, and workers or worker representatives when appropriate, in the same industry cluster to address common or overlapping human capital needs. Effective Industry Partnerships can accomplish the following:

  • Develop a deep, thorough and forward-looking understanding of the human capital needs and critical challenges of the industry cluster through the regular interaction of partnership members, trade associations, and  industry experts;
  • Identify the training needs of businesses, including skill gaps critical to competitiveness and innovation;
  • Facilitate companies to come together to aggregate training and education needs and achieve economies of scale;
  • Help educational and training institutions align curriculum and programs to industry demand, particularly for higher skill occupations;
  • Inform and collaborate with PA CareerLinks, youth councils, business-education partnerships, parents and career counselors and facilitate bringing  employers together to address the challenges of connecting youth to careers;
  • Help companies identify and work together to address common organizational and human resource challenges – recruiting new workers, retaining incumbent workers, implementing high-performance work organization, adopting new technologies and fostering experiential on-the-job learning;
  • Identification of barriers to entry level employment for workers and youth and strategies to remediate those barriers;
  • Develop new career lattices within and across companies, enabling entry-level workers to improve skills to advance into higher skill, higher wage jobs;
  • Develop new industry credentials that give companies confidence in the skills of new hires and workers more mobility and earning potential across firms;
  • Establish communication networks between firms, managers, and workers to promote innovation, potential economies of scale in purchasing and other economic activities, and dissemination of best practices. In some cases, these activities result in the development of new learning collaborative, Centers of Excellence, or joint economic development activity.

TCWIB coordinates three local industry partnerships within the three counties and partipicates in several regional partnerships.

Local industry partnerships include the following.

Tri-County Manufacturing Consortium
Tri-County Health Care Consortium
Tri-County Technology Consortium

Regionally, partnerships include those for the following industries : mining, security and preparedness, oil and gas, business and financial services, and transportation.