Business-Education Partnerships

In 2013, the Farm to Plate Network published “Charting a Path: Food System Workforce Needs Assessment” (http://bit.ly/2tfvEBI). One of the top ten recommendations of this report was to “develop ongoing opportunities for food system employers and educators to build and maintain lasting relationships so that the education and training being offered meets the evolving needs of employers.”

The Network feels that the work of building these relationships, especially if they are to result in concrete action steps and partnerships, requires convenings and capacity building at the regional rather than statewide level.

In 2016, the Farm to Plate Network’s Business-Education Partnerships Task Force met with stakeholders in Washington County to build relationships between workforce support systems, educators, and food system businesses, as a pilot project for how other regions may build their own partnerships. These meetings revealed that each sector had common goals and similar barriers to success, yet competing resources and separate languages.

This focus on bringing together workforce support organizations, educators, and food system businesses (WEBs) at the regional level has proved fruitful and is now being replicated in additional regions of the state. While every WEB brings together these three sets of stakeholders, the exact form of the partnership varies according to each community’s needs.


Activities

Updates from Across Vermont

Four regions across the state (Lamoille/Northern Vermont, Washington County, Bennington County, and Windham) have been working hard to build WEB partnerships and have exciting plans for 2018.

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Partnerships Formed in Two New Regions

In 2016, the Business-Education Partnerships Task Force met with stakeholders in Washington County to build relationships between educators, workforce support systems, and food system businesses. This project served as a pilot to determine how other regions may best build these relationships. In the upcoming year, the Washington project will continue, and new partnerships in both Windham and Lamoille counties will pursue variations on the Washington County model.

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