Giving Compass’ Take:
• Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment initiative utilizes cross-sector partnerships to advance outcomes in postsecondary education. Here are four lessons the foundation learned when trying to engage with employers in partnership success.
• How can philanthropy work to build and. support strong cross-sector partnerships? What partnerships can you engage in?
• Read about the importance of creating a cross-sector leadership network.
Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment (CPA) initiative aimed to improve outcomes with cross-sector partnerships for postsecondary education. Lumina’s mission is to expand access and success in education beyond high school, particularly among adults, first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color.
Employers often play unique roles to support and pursue strategies for improving postsecondary attainment, along with community partners. Through collecting data from 75 communities and conducting follow-up interviews on employer engagement with 10, we found four lessons as critical for engaging employers in cross-sector partnerships.
Four Ways to Make Cross-Sector Partnerships a Success:
- Engage Employers around “Pain Points”: Communities pointed to the value of working with employers around their “pain points” — pressures and stressors they face in meeting business needs.
- Locate the Right Players from the Business Sector: Identifying partners and launching cross-sector collaborations to address postsecondary attainment can be time consuming and intensive. In addition, one of the biggest challenges in cross-sector initiatives is building trust between partners — as it is likely that members of various sectors have never worked together before, and do not have a shared language.
- Set Up Employers for Success: Bringing together partners from diverse sectors and backgrounds inevitably surfaces differences in language, priorities, and the pace of decision making. Cross-sector partners have observed that employers are often accustomed to real-time data, rapid processes, and hierarchical decision structures in their own work.
- Articulate Roles that Encourage Employer Commitment: Employers become engaged in partnerships when they experience the mutual benefits partners bring to one another. The extent of employer involvement in a community partnership ranges from the tactical to deep commitments that require sustained resources and financial contributions.
Read the full article on cross-sector partnerships for postsecondary education at Medium.
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