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The Industry-Education-Workforce Ecosystem

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More than 9.1 million adult learners attend the country’s 4,000 colleges and universities, where they comprise almost 49% of total enrollment. With so much of the workforce depending on upskilling and reskilling opportunities to achieve equitable economic mobility, it is critical that educators, trainers, employers, industry groups, and policy makers remain aligned in support of adult learners and workers.

Connecting these components of the industry-education-workforce ecosystem can be challenging – but well worth it. When they align, adult learners and workers thrive and the ecosystem generates much more impact than scatterings of siloed efforts. Workforce development boards exist to connect job seekers and employers. But often, there is a disconnect between the talents employers need and the skills employees have. Education and training providers fit that piece of the puzzle, as adult learners and workers move  through cycles of skill development and employment,  fueling an inclusive cycle of upward mobility and economic growth. 

The force-multiplying benefits of industry-education-workforce ecosystem partnerships extend into the public sector as well. Because they strengthen impact and expand its scale, the partnerships can use public funding more effectively and as a result, obtain greater amounts. Through its role as honest broker, CAEL (Council for Adult and Experiential Learning) is building more and more of such partnerships. So it’s no surprise that the CAEL community is bigger and more diverse than ever before. United by a common cause, these education and training providers, employers, industry groups, workforce developers, government agencies, and mission-aligned organizations are finding that together, they can strengthen and extend their impact far beyond what they could achieve alone.