State Sector Strategies Toolkit


About the Toolkit

The State Sector Strategy Toolkit is a collaboratively developed, web-based tool intended to help states to design and implement statewide sector policies and frameworks that position their regions to strengthen regional, skills-based economic competitiveness.

The Toolkit contains information, resources and templates to be used by state policy makers in launching and managing a state sector strategy. The Toolkit was developed as part of the National Governor’s Association State Sector Strategy Learning Network, in conjunction with its two project partners - The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW) and the National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP). State leaders in the Learning Network (see acknowledgments below) were integral to the development of this Toolkit, providing ideas for much of the narrative and sharing tools and resources that they have developed in their respective states. In fact, much of the guidance in this toolkit is direct advice and lessons learned from states experienced in sector strategies.

In interviews with state sector leaders, we asked them the question "What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you were starting your sector strategy?" You can hear their responses in the video below. Our hope is that this toolkit will provide new states with some of that hard-won knowledge, as well as providing resources for established states as they move through the sector strategy lifecycle.

The Toolkit is designed to be easy-to-navigate, interactive, and able to evolve over time, along with our collective thinking around sector strategies. The Toolkit is intended to:

  • Help distribute knowledge from one generation of sector leaders to the next.
  • Introduce more states to the framework for “thinking and doing” state sector strategies.
  • Assist states that have begun sector strategies to “get to the next level.”
  • Minimize the need for states to “reinvent the wheel.” The numerous resources, templates, and tools that are included in the Toolkit can be adapted or modified to meet the unique needs of your state.

Navigating the Toolkit

The Toolkit is built in a linear fashion, but does not have to be used that way. Users can start wherever they want, jump back to previous topics, or forward to others. The Toolkit is intended to be a flexible, web-based resource that allows users to easily access the topics and tools that are most useful or significant for them. On the website, there are front and back page arrows, links in the narrative to other Toolkit sections, and a menu of topics on each page, in order to make it easy for users to jump around to topics that are most relevant to them. The pre-assessment will help users understand which modules are most valuable to use and/or start with, depending on where they’re at now.

Module Components

Each module in the toolkit has a similar structure:

Why is this important?

This section provides a brief overview of the topic and discusses why it is important in the sector strategy development and implementation process.

State Role

This component describes the major roles that the state partnership plays in the development and implementation of their state sector strategy – strategies focused on supporting regional sector initiatives. Tools, templates and resources that are related to the state role are integrated and linked throughout the narrative section.

Regional Role

This section briefly summarizes some of the key roles of regionally targeted industry strategies in order to differentiate these roles from those undertaken at the state level. This section is not intended to be detailed or comprehensive, but rather is intended to highlight the similarities and/or differences of the state and regional roles in each module.

Lessons Learned/Pitfalls/Considerations

This section includes direct advice and lessons learned from states that have had considerable experience in developing and implementing sector strategies. It is intended to point out potential pitfalls and highlight areas that need special attention in order for states to be successful. Although there is no “magic formula” for a successful state sector strategy, and no two state sector strategies are alike, there are some broad “lessons learned” that can be helpful to states as they design or enhance their sector strategies. Tools, templates and resources that are related to the “lessons learned” are integrated and linked throughout the narrative section.


Thank you to the members of the State Sector Strategy Toolkit Work Group: Mike Baker (IL); Bob Garraty (PA); Eleni Papadakis, Bryan Wilson (WA); Kathy Sweeney (MN); Terry Watson, Lydia Johnson (OK); Elise Lowe-Vaughn, Kate Anderson (CO); Janice Cooper (MI), Jack Mills, Jim Torrens (NNSP); Martin Simon (NGA); Gary Yakimov, Nancy Laprade, Tammy Coxen, Lindsey Woolsey (CSW).

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