2.1. ALIGNMENT. Centralize demand-side input to ensure that training curricula are aligned with regional employers’ needs and a 21st Century workplace


  • Industry Partnerships (Lead)
  • Backbone (Support)
  • Education & Training (Advisory)
  • Communications (Advisory)
  • Data & Evaluation (Advisory)
  • Policy & Systems Change (Advisory)

2.1.1. Engage employers to identify the three to five most critical occupations in their industries (See Strategy 1.1.2

  • For each critical occupation, use O*NET and real-time labor market information to define the relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) and create a “strawman” job description
  • Map each critical occupation to regional training programs

2.1.2. Assemble an employer task force for each industry to develop competencies and refine the profiles for each critical occupation

  • Assess the relevancy of the KSAs and job description to define what entry-level workers are expected to be able to do in each critical occupation 
  • Use this input to develop and refine skill standards and profiles for each critical occupation
  • Share task force findings across the Talent Network


Assessing and documenting the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities of critical occupations provides a useful tool for industry, education, and training providers. Industry partnerships are essential for obtaining employer input, feedback, and the collaboration needed to accomplish this task.

For each occupation, organize two input sessions to assess the KSAs:

  • Hiring authorities – the supervisors directly responsible for managing people in the occupation
  • Employees – high-performing employees that can speak directly to what the occupation entails

In each session, facilitate discussions of entry into and out of each occupation, tasks and functions, and skills necessary to perform those functions. Use this input to refine job descriptions and define skill standards.

Adapted from: Building Industry-Driven Career Pathway Systems in Colorado: A Step-by-Step Guide, 2016

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