Sample Talking Points and Employer Questions

Sample Talking Points and Questions for Employers

What Employers Should Hear from You:

  • That the goal of a sector partnership is to better organize the public sector (including workforce development, education and training, economic development) to meet the needs of their industry;
  • That sector partnerships are employer-led, and that because their company is an important member of the local industry, their input will be highly valuable to the identification of common challenges across firms and the development of customized solutions to benefit all firms;
  • That you know something about their industry (how it works, their priorities, trends, and some challenges), but want to know more;
  • That sector partnerships have been shown to work in their industry. Share stories of other sector initiatives that have had positive impact for employers, including outcomes that they can appreciate (higher productivity, reduced turnover, etc); and
  • That you are part of a planning team for a potential sector partnership in their industry, and immediate next steps include . . .

What You Want to Know from Employers:

(The following questions are generic and can be customized for any industry. To see a framing that focuses on green sector intiatives, check out this example from Kansas City.)

About the Economy

  • Looking at the big picture for a moment, what national and global economic drivers are affecting your company or industry, both positively and negatively?
  • Getting closer to home, what state and local economic factors impact your company and its potential growth?
  • What do you see as major challenges for your company or industry as you move forward?
  • What do you see as major opportunities in the industry?

Workforce and Hiring Issues

  • What jobs are most important to your company?
  • Which jobs are hardest to fill? Why?
  • Which jobs are growing, and which are no longer needed?
  • When you look to hire new employees, what skills, certifications and qualifications are most important to you? How do you determine if applicants are qualified?
  • How do you recruit new employees?
  • What are your problems in terms of turnover and employee retention, and how do you address those challenges?
  • How has the workforce pool changed over the last five years, and what changes do you expect in the future?

Training Issues

  • What are your most important training issues and challenges?
  • What are some specific kinds of training that you provide to your workers?
  • Do you use outside providers for any of your training? How do you find those providers, and do they do a good job?
  • What’s changed about your training needs in the last five years, in terms of quantity, type of training, or method of delivery? What are the reasons for those changes?
  • As a percent of your total budget, are you spending more or less on training now than five years ago? Why?

Technology Issues

  • What specific technological changes have had the most influence on your company or industry?
  • In what ways are technology changes affecting the skills you need in the workplace?

About the Market

  • Who are your major customers? Where are they located?
  • Who are your major suppliers? Where are they located?
  • Do you expect any changes in the type or locations of your customers and suppliers?
  • What are the region’s biggest strengths as a place for your company to do business? What are its biggest weaknesses? What keeps you here?

Industry Linkages

  • Do you belong to any industry associations? Which ones? What benefits do they provide?
  • Do you have other kinds of formal or informal interaction with your industry peers in the region? If so, please describe.
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