The UNC School of Government’s ncIMPACT Initiative announces the selection of 15 community collaboratives to an inaugural cohort working to better align their education systems with the needs of their regional economy, in partnership with myFutureNC.
This intensive two-year project will position the cohort to significantly increase the number of individuals with postsecondary degrees, credentials or certificates of value in the workforce. It aligns with the state’s legislative goal to reach 2 million individuals between the ages of 25-44 who possess a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. Funding was provided by the John M. Belk Endowment, Dogwood Health Trust and UNC Rural.
“These collaboratives offer an organized way to respond to future of work challenges that no single institution or even an entire sector can effectively tackle,” said Anita Brown-Graham, UNC-Chapel Hill professor and director of the ncIMPACT Initiative. “We are eager to begin this important work together.”
Each team, or “collaborative,” may cover an individual county, a municipal-county partnership, or a multi-county region. The 15 selected collaboratives are led by the organizations identified below and serve the counties listed:
- Cape Fear Workforce Development Board (Brunswick, Columbus, Pender, New Hanover);
- Central Carolina Community College (Chatham, Harnett, Lee);
- Central Piedmont Community College (Mecklenburg);
- Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board (Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Wayne);
- Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro (Guilford);
- HIGHTS, INC (Jackson, Macon, Swain);
- Land of Sky Regional Council (Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Transylvania);
- Made in Durham (Durham);
- McDowell County Schools (McDowell);
- Elizabeth City State University (Pasquotank);
- Sampson Community College (Sampson);
- Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership (STEP) (Edgecombe, Nash);
- Surry Community College (Surry, Yadkin);
- Wingate University (Anson, Union); and
- Work in Burke (Burke).
Each participating community will benefit from: Five regional forums at which teams will establish goals, identify strategies, set plans for implementation, collaborate across sectors, and learn from experts; technical assistance support throughout the process; $15,000 to assist with the costs of hiring a community project manager; $10,000 in implementation funding for the project; evidence-based resources that respond to immediate learning loss concerns and prepare for longer-term planning; and a Local Attainment Collaborative Toolkit to implement and sustain demand-informed local collaboration with regional employers.
The myFutureNC field-based regional impact managers will serve these collaboratives in partnership with ncIMPACT, as well as other communities across the state so that they are positioned to join a future cohort of collaboratives.
“Building a strong talent pipeline will require a new level of cross-sector coordination,” said Cecilia Holden, president of myFutureNC. “Among others, key strategic partners in these collaboratives must include PreK-12, universities, community colleges, workforce development boards, economic developers, chambers of commerce, county commissioners, policymakers and civic leaders. And most critical to the overall success is ensuring decisions are being made based on data and research, and the voice of communities, businesses, industries and employers is in the center of these important conversations.”
The cohort was selected from 46 applications spanning 82 counties of North Carolina. The selection committee sought to deliver a cohort with regional, economic, and demographic diversity; demonstrated community commitment; prior experience with educational attainment efforts; and identified barriers to educational attainment in the community. The ncIMPACT Initiative will manage this first cohort of collaboratives. myFutureNC will leverage the model developed through this cohort to identify and support additional collaboratives moving forward.