LadderzUP: a strategic partnership with MCC for regional workforce development.


LadderzUP, a public-public (PuP) partnership between Monroe Community College and Monroe County, New York’s Imagine Monroe, leverages flexible funding from the county to create and implement industry-focused job training and workforce education leading to certifications and other professional credentials. The funding provides an economic incentive for businesses who are in need of trained middle skilled workers, and supports students who might not otherwise be able to afford such training. The partnership has exceeded expectations: just over two years into the program, 807 individuals and 41 businesses have been impacted. Since its founding in 1961, Monroe Community College (MCC), a public institution within the State University of New York (SUNY) system, has earned a reputation as a leader in workforce education in the Upstate New York region. The college’s LadderzUP project, a public-public (PuP) Partnership between MCC’s Economic and Workforce Development Center and Monroe County (county seat for Rochester, N.Y.), offers workforce training that links county funding to college educational resources to address persistently difficult to fill positions in industry and provides access to short cycle and accelerated educational programs for individuals seeking a new career. Less common than public-private partnerships, a PuP collaboration is an agreement between two public authorities or organizations to create a positive impact that is beyond the scope of each organization by itself (Greasley, et al., 2008).

I nspired by the PuP model, the LadderzUP partnership provides a conceptual framework for rethinking how regional workforce development strategy can be achieved by leveraging flexible, unstructured financial assistance from the county, coupled with the college’s ability to build and administer both industry-focused academic and non-credit curricula to rapidly respond to the needs of local businesses.

The result of the LadderzUP PuP partnership has been improved employment opportunities within Monroe County through financially accessible, job-oriented training for students who range from recent high school graduates to employed individuals seeking to upskill their professional education. The alignment of MCC and Monroe County through a PuP model ensures that the training programs available through this partnership are informed by an understanding of the economic development strategy of the region and the workforce needs of Upstate New York’s business community (Adair, Brown-Lonis & Oldham, 2019).

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