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History: Regional Collaboration to Close the Skills Gap
Our community has a long history of collaboration to address our workforce challenges. For over ten years, businesses, workforce investment boards, economic development agencies, educational institutions, philanthropic funders, and community organizations across the tri-state have come together to coordinate service delivery, address skill shortages in specific industries, and serve employers.

Since 2001, the four workforce investment boards that serve the tri-state along with the Northern Kentucky Chamber have worked together to serve employers with coordinated services around major layoff or hiring events in the region. Collectively, the four boards administer roughly $13.5M in federal funds across our tri-state region and serve nearly 50,000 individuals and 1,200 businesses. The four workforce boards formalized their collaboration by launching the Employers First Regional Workforce Network in mid-2011 to coordinate efforts to meet employer needs. Employers First will focus on connecting businesses with workforce supply, streamlined business services, outreach and marketing, partnerships with chambers and economic development, and regional strategic partnerships to develop a skilled workforce. 
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In 2008, the Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network (GCWN) was convened as a regional public-private partnership aimed at growing the skills of our workforce to match the needs of employers in key industries. Launched by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and currently led by United Way of Greater Cincinnati, the partnership was created when Cincinnati was selected to be a part of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. GCWN had primarily been focused on supporting career pathways in health care, construction, and advanced manufacturing to help employers access skilled workers and help low-skill adults get the skills and preparation needed for in-demand careers. 

In early 2011, leaders from the workforce boards and GCWN launched a planning process to figure out how to more closely align our efforts and build on our successes. The result of this planning process was the creation of Partners for a Competitive Workforce (Partners) as the umbrella that brings together all of the region’s workforce efforts under a common mission. Building on the history of Employers First and GCWN, Partners will be positioned as a tri-state regional partnership between businesses, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, service providers and philanthropic funders. Partners will provide a common platform to communicate our region’s workforce priorities and progress, align and coordinate those efforts towards common goals, and continuously improve strategies.  
Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana  Tri-State Region
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