CODY - Park, Big Horn, Washakie and Hot Springs counties kicked off their combined Next Generation Sector Partnership, focusing on the healthcare industry. Leaders from various healthcare companies met in Cody on Oct. 22 to choose priorities they feel will best foster growth in the field. Public-sector representatives sat around the perimeter of the room, with strict instructions to only watch and listen, for now.
"I am thrilled with the outcomes from the Big Horn Basin Healthcare Partnership launch," said Amy Quick from the Wyoming Business Council. "The meeting started with a slight air of uncertainty or skepticism, a feeling maybe of, heres just another meeting, but ended with enthusiasm and commitments on real actionable items from everyone. It was awe-inspiring to be a part of a meeting like that where in less than two hours, people who may not have previously known one another came together, identified opportunities, and then committed to work together to take concrete actions."
The Next Gen strategy aims to position industry professionals as the leaders in economic growth, with the public sector (such as economic developers, educators and workforce professionals) following their lead. It's a reversal from how such partnerships tend to operate, with the public sector frequently directing industries toward their own vision of the future. And it asks companies to do something they wouldn't normally do: sit down with their competitors to discuss mutually beneficial progress.
In previous Next Gen workshops, participants from the public sector as well as various private sectors divided the state into eight regions and chose an industry in each region to focus on first. In making that decision, participants considered multiple factors, including the need and potential for growth within the sectors. Participants then brainstormed specific people and companies from the chosen sectors that should be invited to participate in the partnership meetings.
The healthcare sector was chosen for Park, Big Horn, Washakie and Hot Springs counties as a starting point, and Monday's meeting was the official launch of that partnership. The ultimate goal is for such Next Gen partnerships to develop in several sectors within each region.
During the meeting, the healthcare industry reps landed on five categories for opportunity:
- Expanding markets, including an overall increase in the need for healthcare services as well as specific drivers of new healthcare demand
- Expanding career opportunities, including a shift in staffing needs and the overall demand for employees
- Transportation, specifically patient travel to access services
- Technology, including adoption of WiFi and improved patient care via telemedicine and data and technology sharing
- Collaboration, including communication and coordination of care and services
At the end of the workshops, participants were asked to volunteer to champion one or more of these opportunities by participating in a conference call and an additional meeting, likely in November or December.
Each of the five categories had multiple volunteers for champions.