Industry-Led Postsecondary Partnerships

Multinational students in group learning

To strengthen students’ pathways through postsecondary education and into in-demand careers, employers and colleges must work more closely together. Industry-led public-private partnerships have tremendous potential to build and grow these employer-college relationships, but little information is available on these partnerships and their postsecondary initiatives.

This project highlighted the features of industry-led public-private partnerships’ initiatives with postsecondary institutions and provided lessons and opportunities for developing, sustaining, and scaling these initiatives.


We want this study to help build connections between active and potential partnerships to share lessons learned. We created an interactive map so that partnerships could identify other partnerships focused on the same region, pursuing similar activities, or working in the same industry.

View the interactive map

ILPP map screenshot



Mapping the Opportunities Report cover

Mapping the Opportunities: How Industry-Led Public-Private Partnerships Are Engaging Postsecondary Institutions to Benefit Employers, Postsecondary Institutions, and Employers captures the key features of 23 active postsecondary initiatives run by industry-led postsecondary partnerships.

View the report
View the executive summary


We created a directory of initiatives that contains further details, including contact information, to help partnerships connect with and learn from each other.

Download an Excel version of the directory


Growing Industry-Led Public-Private Partnerships’ Postsecondary Initiatives

Watch the webinar on YouTube

View the webinar slides


This report's coauthors are Alexandria Walton Radford, Helen Muhisani, Kathy Hughes, Jasmine Howard, and Lauren Mason. That said, this project could not have been completed without the assistance of numerous colleagues at the American Institutes for Research. Drawing on their own work with and at industry-led public‒private postsecondary partnerships, Wendy Brors, Erin Duckett, Chris Herzog, Joe Quick, Gretchen Sullivan, and Stephanie Veck offered great advice and connections as we engaged partnerships. Multiple staff members also shone in their leadership of different aspects of this project's dissemination activities, including Joanne Blank (report design), Joyce Garcia (editing), Caitlin Deal and Lee Nethercott (interactive map), Anand Kumar and Meghan Rivera (project website), and Emily Loney and Sofia Bowman (webinar and social media campaign).

We also would like to acknowledge the contributions of the American Association of Community Colleges, Business-Higher Education Forum, National Association of Workforce Boards, National Governors Association, National Skills Coalition, and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Staff at these organizations provided valuable perspectives on industry-led postsecondary initiatives as well as suggestions of specific initiatives to include in our study.

We want to express our appreciation of the staff who, while leading industry-led postsecondary initiatives, took the time to participate in interviews and/or complete this project's survey. The information and lessons learned that we are able to provide through this project would not have been possible without your involvement.

A very special thanks to Shannon Rowan of Walmart for her thoughtful suggestions and feedback as we developed this project. We are also grateful to Walmart for its financial support, which made this work possible.

Helen Muhisani
Senior Researcher
Alexandria Radford headshot
Senior Director, Center for Applied Research in Postsecondary Education (CARPE)