ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Aspen Institute has recognized collaboration between Monroe County and Monroe Community College as a national model for best practices in workforce development.

In a new report entitled “The Workforce Playbook, a Community College Guide to Delivering Excellent Career and Technical Education,” MCC and five other colleges were cited for their successful initiatives.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and MCC Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development and Career Technical Education Dr. Todd Oldham discussed the report and its significance Wednesday during our Greater Rochester Enterprise Why ROC conversation.

“Our selection I think largely comes from the fact that we, for the last nine years, have invested very aggressively in a variety of new workforce development methods and have a variety of outcomes that we can show from having done that,” said Dr. Oldham. “It’s really exciting to be selected. This wasn’t something that we solicited. It was something that we were notified to come into, so it’s obviously – from nine years of work – nice to see independent validation of some of the things that we’ve been working on.”

A change in methodology has helped lead to a better way of preparing students. “If you look at the “Playbook,” one of the big areas that they focus on are schools with the best practice that are actually trying to understand their economy,” Dr. Oldham explained. “It’s not just about providing education and training, which is kind of what folks traditionally think about from a college, it’s understanding where needs are, number one, and the partnerships with businesses, but more importantly if you get under the hood of why those needs are there so we can build different types of program interventions.”

Monroe County’s LadderzUP program started with the employers and their needs, which provides critical insight into what type of training is necessary for students at MCC.

“So we put together, based upon the needs of businesses specific certification programs to address the needs of our local businesses,” Dinolfo said. “Together we’ve worked with countless businesses here locally in the County of Monroe which has enabled them to hire over 750 local people who are fulfilling the needs of businesses certainly but also attaining economic sufficiency for themselves and their families for decades to come. It has resulted in local companies expanding their footprint here in the County of Monroe and it also has been a great economic development tool for companies looking to come to Monroe County because when companies come here they’re looking for the same thing — those skilled employees in a specific industry and we’re able to provide that training as well.”

Dr. Oldham added, “We’re not just providing the training. We’re not just providing the education. We’re also working with the County and others to actually find the individuals and work with them to actually have them placed. So there’s a staffing component that’s entering into it and that’s something that companies are looking to us to be able to do more than the training. They’re really looking to us and our partners to be able to help collaborate with them to solve a real workforce challenge for them which does impede their ability to grow.”

Watch our entire conversation with County Executive Dinolfo and Dr. Oldham below.

For more information visit Imagine Monroe and Workforce Forward.