Championing High Road Partnerships

Unions have a long tradition of driving progress in their industries with cutting-edge skills training and strategic alliances that keep workers productive and employers competitive. WED assists affiliates and their partners committed to developing collaborative strategies that embrace the principles of a high road economy – one that competes on the basis of innovation, quality, and high skills rather than low wages, contingent employment, and low or no benefits.

WED resources unions and labor-management training programs to build strong high road partnerships with signatory employers, local workforce development boards, community colleges, community-based organizations, and the K-12 system to create and sustain training pathways for incumbent workers and new workers in California’s high road jobs.

High road partnerships are one of the most effective ways to bring scale and impact in addressing some of the workforce challenges facing California and the country today. High road partnerships have demonstrated their ability to draw upon industry need and worker voice to bring dignity and respect to incumbent workers across all industries. In addition, they have proven themselves effective in providing pipelines into middle class jobs for formerly disadvantaged workers. And high road partnerships are invaluable in supporting high road employers to compete based upon innovation and quality.

WED believes that high road partnerships are effective and sustainable when they are developed and operated based upon 4 key principles:

  • Industry Driven – Employers and Labor bring first-hand knowledge of the skills, knowledge, competencies and the nature of the work in their specific industries.  Thru partnership, “baking-in” industry’s participation in creating training standards results in “industry-valued” knowledge, skills and abilities that employers seek.
  • Worker Centered – Respecting and incorporating worker’s insights should be part of a larger viewpoint of inclusion, empowerment and promise to the growth and wellbeing of workers. Well-practiced worker voice helps companies to innovate, solve problems and build success, and for workers to positively influence business decisions.
  • Community Focused – Neither economic growth by itself, nor the general demand for labor guarantee access and equity for disadvantaged workers. High road partnerships should not only support incumbent worker’s aspirations but be a means to create pipelines for community members into quality jobs.
  • Results Measured – High Road Partnerships should enable stakeholders to address workplace and industry issues through results-oriented, measurable actions outcomes.