From building trades apprenticeships to the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas’ casino and hospitality worker training, labor-management partnerships are well regarded for their ability to connect private sector workers to high-paying jobs while ensuring that employers receive a steady stream of well-qualified employees. Yet, policymakers and advocates often pay less attention to existing partnerships between unionized public sector workers and their employers, despite the fact that these workers now account for about half of all union members and that there is a long history of public sector partnerships providing professional development opportunities to workers.1
By expanding the use of public sector labor-management training partnerships, policymakers and unions can help government employers and unions work together to solve challenges and deliver good results for workers, employers, and the public. Labor-management partnerships—independent organizations that unions and employers jointly control—allow partners to collaboratively design and manage workforce training, professional learning, and apprenticeship opportunities. Research finds that these sorts of programs can help employers recruit and retain skilled workers; improve work quality; boost productivity; and strengthen employee relations.2 Public sector training programs are also being used to increase the diversity of the public sector workforce; ensure that government is ready to serve diverse populations; and provide a pathway to a good job for workers, particularly those who face multiple barriers to finding employment.