Sheridan, Johnson Counties Launch Manufacturing Partnership
On Nov. 1, Sheridan and Johnson counties launched their “Next Generation Sector Partnership.”
According to the Next Generation Sector Partnership Community of Practice, they promote partnerships of businesses from the same industry and in a shared labor market region, who work with education, workforce development, economic development, and community organizations to address the workforce and other needs of the targeted industry.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services said that industry leaders, public-sector representatives, and community leaders have identified the opportunities and actions needed to promote and grow the manufacturing sector in both counties.
“This initiative is different in that it is private industry lead,” said Joe Wright, CEO of Kennon Products Inc. in Sheridan, in a press release. “This is a venue for manufacturing companies in Sheridan and Johnson counties to discuss issues that we all face and are important to our prosperity.”
The “Next Gen Strategy” positions industry professionals as the leaders in economic growth, with the public sector following their lead. The strategy also focuses on discussions among companies on ways to mutually benefit their industry and the economy.
Over the course of a series of Next Gen workshops, participants divided the state into eight regions and chose an industry within to focus on. Sheridan and Johnson counties chose manufacturing as an opportunity for growth.
Participants identified the following opportunities to drive that growth:
- Growing markets, both locally and regionally
- New and enhanced products that can compete with overseas versions
- Emerging technologies like factory-scale automation inter-device communication
- Faster adaptation to new technologies
- Policy impacts that positively affect business growth
Participants also identified two major action areas: a manufacturing talent pipeline and an increased manufacturing business-to-business exchange and collaboration.
The talent pipeline would work with local schools to educate students about career opportunities, while the business-to-business exchange would organize companies to pursue common needs.
“The resounding theme for me in the kickoff meeting was the significant interest from the attendees to have a group of motivated and talented people sharing problems, ideas, and best practices,” Wright said. “Having that venue for manufacturing business leaders creates and enhances a passionate energy within our sector. I sincerely enjoyed spending time with such a diverse group of motivated people.”
Industry leaders and other Next Gen partners will discuss these opportunities through the end of November, and then will develop a draft of needed outcomes.
To learn more about the Next Gen Partnership initiative, click here.