Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) between Businesses and Adult Education Providers

Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) between Businesses and Adult Education Providers

Courtney Curatolo, Valerie C. Bryan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2181-7.ch013
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This chapter defines and examines public private partnerships, often referred to as P3s, between the business sector and education sector. In particular, the focus is on economic and workforce development benefits that ensure the successful connection of these partnerships and the added incentives that aid adult learners in developing new talent and provide opportunities for different career paths. Best practices are discussed through a literature review and information from partnerships that have taken place throughout the United States. Recommendations for future trends and future research are offered.
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Trends in adult education have included public private partnerships between businesses and the education sector over the past three decades in order to create a skilled workforce and economic competitiveness throughout the United States. These partnerships have helped adult learners, businesses, education institutions, and communities build their knowledge to increase the United States’ competitiveness in a world of globalization and the era of technology. However, they have not come without sacrifice, hard work, and effective leadership.

Due to the downturn in today’s economy, the current workforce must develop advanced language skills, technological literacy, and excellent communication skills in order to obtain and maintain jobs. Therefore, educational institutions can enhance their programs for adult learners by partnering and collaborating with local businesses and seeking community involvement. The private sector, as well as community agencies, is critical in these partnerships because it offers the talent and knowledge of business leaders, managers, and personnel that are equipped to help schools prepare students for the changes taking place in today’s workforce (Sanders, 2003).

This chapter will discuss the definitions of key terms such as public-private partnerships, social capital, adult education, collaboration, economic development, and workforce development. It will examine different methods for building innovative partnerships that have successful and sustainable outcomes. Also included are best practices for building these partnerships including continuous and open communication, gathering input from various stakeholders, short and long term planning, financing, determining clear goals and objectives as well as student outcomes, co-creating a shared mission, and implementation and evaluation of the partnership. In discussing several examples of public private partnerships, key trends in adult education and collaboration will be examined. Strengths and weaknesses of these partnerships will be discussed in order to help future business and educational institution leaders create sustainable partnerships. Another focus of this chapter will be on economic and workforce development benefits that ensue from public private partnerships and incentives for adult learners to develop new talent and gain access to opportunities for different career paths.

Key trends in public private partnerships and adult education will be highlighted, including innovative learning, the age of technology, globalization needs, and lifelong learning for continuous change. It is important for leaders across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to understand these trends and be able to create successful collaborations in order to enhance local and national economic development and workforce development in order to be competitive in our global society. Finally, future trends and recommendations for public private partnerships will be provided.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainability: Able to last or continue for a long time and endure by being able to adapt during turbulent times. May have environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses stewardship and responsible management of resources.

Adult Learner: An individual socially accepted as an adult who is in a learning process interested in lifelong learning including personal, social and skill development.

Human Capital: Assets related to individuals, volunteers or employees.

Community Organizing: Collaborations between schools and individuals, businesses, formal and informal organizations, and institutions in the community.

Social Capital: Networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit and take an investment of time and effort to establish and sustain.

Public Private Partnership: Working arrangements based on a mutual commitment between a public sector organization and an organization outside the public sector, such as private or nonprofit sector.

Workforce Development: The creation and maintenance of the workers engaged in a specific activity or enterprise.

Economic Development: The creation and maintenance of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

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