Key Initiative

Business Higher Education Forum’s Workforce Partnership Initiative

With the assistance of a grant awarded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation in summer 2022, the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF) is expanding its work on the Workforce Partnership Initiative (WPI), a Business Roundtable-led effort to leverage the collective interest and need among CEOs for a skilled workforce. BHEF serves as the implementation partner for WPI.

WPI represents business’ commitment to driving inclusive economic growth in regions with a focus on increasing workforce diversity, supporting business-higher education partnerships, and accelerating and scaling best-in-class workforce development programs. Phase 2 of WPI focuses on (1) implementing best practices that result in higher representation of traditionally underrepresented populations in the workforce; (2) accelerating access to a full spectrum of competitive, ready-to-work learners with in-demand skills; and (3) fostering high performing industry-higher education partnerships built on market-driven knowledge, skills, and abilities. Work will continue with selected sites from Phase 1 plus new regions to join WPI. Phase 2 will track impact in areas such as number of partnerships and programs developed, curricula enhanced, and total participants—both individuals and organizations.

Phase 1 outcomes demonstrated that regional-specific skills development can have a meaningful effect on employers’ talent needs. Phase 1 launched in June 2018 as a 5-year effort including regional projects focused on business-higher education partnerships in selected states, as well as a national effort to disseminate learning from the projects and scale effective practices. Regional projects included efforts in data science and analytics, cybersecurity, water and energy sciences, materials sciences, and engineering. BHEF compiled tools and materials to enable business and higher education to move from piecemeal activities such as on-campus recruiting or support of research related to business products and services—to strategic and long-term partnerships to align human capital with workforce needs. The initiative has focused on assisting companies, higher education institutions, private philanthropies, government agencies, and other stakeholders seeking to invest in long-term partnerships to increase the persistence of undergraduate students, particularly women and minorities, toward degree attainment and to create connections between undergraduate education and the 21st century workplace.

Information on the Phase 1 regional partnerships is available in a series of case studies. The  2021 report covers five of the nine partnerships: Chicago; D.C.-Maryland-Virginia; North Carolina; New York City; and the Southeast.

Partners:  The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), a private, non-profit membership organization of leading C-Suite business executives and university presidents; Business Roundtable;  JP Morgan chase Foundation

Stakeholder Group(s)
Employers Policymakers Universities
Alliances & Intermediaries
Business-Higher Education Forum

Have something to add or refine? Your input in this work matters greatly and we look forward to reviewing your additions.

Request an Edit

Make a Submission

To provide feedback, suggest edits, or request new content.

Make a Submission