linking partners, resources and talent

Link Upstate Manufacturing Sector Partnership

Manufacturers have come together throughout the Link Upstate region to tackle challenges within the industry using the Next Generation Sector Partnership Model, a model that has been extremely successful in more than 35 states in the US. You may be wondering, “why a new group or initiative for manufacturing, and why now?”- when there are numerous workforce boards, economic development agencies and other organizations and partnerships in the region already focusing on manufacturing. Next Gen is not an initiative, but a movement, a shift in the direction of doing business through collaboration and partnership. It’s a way for manufacturing leaders in the region to come together and work on common priorities. These priorities aren’t necessarily always workforce-related. Often times the pain points are about supply chain, infrastructure, regulatory and other issues that are frequent concerns in manufacturing. Agendas are based on industry determined priorities, not geared to specific programs available or already in motion. Manufacturing leaders champion the priorities they identify and respond. So partners, such as workforce development, economic development, education, service organizations and other groups, work together to provide current resources and program solutions to get the work done, or develop new ones if needed. Since Next Gen Sector Partnerships are organized around the topics that interest business leaders most—’what it takes to ensure that their company thrives’—the work is more sustainable over time. 

A group of manufacturers launched the initial meeting of the manufacturing sector partnership in Greenville, in March 2019. As of January 2020, the group is working on 2 priorities.  


1) Building a talent pipeline in manufacturing through enhanced career awareness

The team is partnering with Tallo, an online connection platform that brings stakeholders together, to target individuals who are not committed to college or employment one year post high school graduation. Tallo will present to the full partnership at the January meeting. 

2) Address the middle/technical skills gap within manufacturing

This team is working to clarify skill requirements including weighted values in an effort to design a robust maintenance technician curriculum.  Overall skill matrix will be presented to full partnership at the January meeting. 

If you are a manufacturer and are interested in learning more about the partnership, please contact Ben Waldrop with Century Printing at or 864-848-0100  

Link Upstate Region - (Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Edgefield, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Saluda, Spartanburg, and Union)

Additional industries with priority

Construction & Trades


Seeking Business Champions 

Distribution & Logistics


Seeking Business Champions



Seeking Business Champions

Get involved

For more information regarding sector partnerships, contact Johnnie-Lynn Crosby, Regional Director of Business Solutions with SC Works Greater Upstate