RELEASE: Public Sector Training Partnerships Build Power

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report looks at the success of public sector labor-management training partnerships, in which labor unions and government employers create jointly controlled training, professional learning, and apprenticeship programs.

Research finds that these sorts of programs can help employers recruit and retain skilled workers; improve work quality; boost productivity; increase the diversity of the public sector workforce; and ensure that government is better able to serve diverse populations. At the same time, public sector training programs can give workers access to good jobs and career advancement opportunities while helping to ensure that public sector unions sustain high levels of membership.

The report highlights several case studies where these sorts of programs are successful:

  • A four-week boot camp for new teachers in Pinellas County, Florida, to ensure that they are prepared to enter the classroom and motivated to stay.
  • California and New York City programs to attract well-qualified information technology staff.
  • A sanitation worker apprenticeship in Phoenix, Arizona, that helps to recruit women, veterans, and youth to high-quality city employment.
  • Benefits navigation training the help government employees in the state of Oregon make smart choices when saving for retirement and choosing health care plans that are of good value.

“The benefits of public sector training programs are clear: Workers gain the skills they need to be successful in good, middle-class jobs, while city and state employers are able to obtain and retain the highly trained, diverse workforce they need, said Karla Walter, director of Employment Policy at the Center for American Progress and author of the report. “Moreover, training partnerships provide a tangible example of the benefits of unionization to workers and thereby help to sustain public sector unions, in spite of a decadeslong attack by corporate interest groups on the freedom of workers to come together in unions. State and local policymakers can raise standards for workers and taxpayers and support workers’ collective bargaining rights by partnering with unions to expand their use of these sorts of partnerships.”

Read: “Public Sector Training Partnerships Build Power” by Karla Walter

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at or 202.495.3682.