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Public-Private Partnerships

As a key strategy for acheiving the goals in GSMP's five-year strategic plan, Vision 2020, the Director of Business Retention and Expansion & Workforce Development, Cara Ryan, discusses the development of public-private partnerships (P3s).

The last installment of the Optimizing Local Talent Base series discussed the many variations of P3s as it relates to workforce development. Here, Cara goes over cooperative partnerships which are specifically based around information sharing. In a cooperative partnership, the organizations involved share minimal resources and do not require the organization's structure to change. Specifically, she will focus on two cooperative variations between educational institutions and businesses for the purpose of improving the workforce pipeline. 


Cooperative Variations of Public-Private Partnerships

Industry advisory boards are one of the most popular versions of a cooperative P3. This is when a group of industry representatives specific to a field come together to advise an existing educational institution on their training needs. The industry representatives can represent their company or view their role as voluntary in nature. They can represent businesses both large and small. Discussion points can include specific skills related to the field, how the industry is changing, recruitment issues, or any other relevant topics to the industry. 

In Hays and Caldwell Counties there are many of these P3s currently in existence including at San Marcos CISD, Hays CISD for several programs at Texas State University, including its engineering program, and many at Austin Community College. In fact, Austin Community College was featured in an article in TIME Magazine titled Can Community Colleges Save the Economy? in 2009, for its success in partnering with industry to create programs related to green energy that placed students directly into the workforce.

Targeted hiring agreements are a potentially great option when your business requires a larger number of employees in specialized training.  A company will work directly with an educational program to design a tailored training program specific to their needs. The company agrees to give priority to the students graduating from this program when hiring. Graduates are required to go through the hiring process.

One example of this taking place in the Greater San Marcos region is with Austin Community College. ACC's Continuing Education program can create tailored programs for adult students entering the labor market based on the needs of a specific company or a group of them. The Texas Workforce Commission offers grants to Austin Community College to buy equipment and pay for the teachers associated with the training program so that the students who qualify can go through the job training for free and enter the labor market. 

Other opportunities for targeted hiring agreements exist with several of the high school CTE programs within Hays and Caldwell Counties and with Gary Job Corps. It's just a matter of identifying your company's needs and what currently exists to bridge the gap. 

How to Move Forward?

There are a ton of opportunities to connect with our future workforce in Hays and Caldwell Counties. The first step is to identify your workforce needs. 

  • What type of skilled training is necessary to perform the job?
  • How many people will be needed to fill the vacancies at your location?

The next step is to call us at the Greater San Marcos Partnership. Based on the demands, we can help you identify the educational institution that can best suit your needs. We will help you to touch base with the educational institution and facilitate the line of communication


The Greater San Marcos Partnership is a public-private partnership between multiple cities and towns and industry within Hays and Caldwell Counties with the intent of supporting economic development for the region.

Cara recently earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership, Evaluation, and Organizational Development and specializes in issues related to workforce development. Her past research has included a case study of industry and community college partnerships including Toyotas relationship with Bluegrass Community College. In addition, she has focused on how regional development and characteristics shape educational policy and institutions.

If you are considering changes to the makeup of your workforce or would like more information about educational initiatives taking place in Hays and Caldwell Counties, please contact Cara at carar@greatersanmarcostx.com or 512-393-3400. 

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