Central Piedmont selected for ncIMPACT Initiative

The UNC School of Government’s ncIMPACT Initiative announced recently the selection of 15 community collaboratives to an inaugural cohort working to better align their education systems with the needs of their regional economy. 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 of 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 and Dogwood Health Trust, a private foundation based in Asheville, N.C., with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and well-being of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina.

Central Piedmont Community College, the multi-campus college serving Mecklenburg County, is among the 15 chosen collaboratives. Aligning with their efforts to facilitate student learning, success, and completion, Central Piedmont is working closely with Mecklenburg County, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, and Bank of America.

“These collaboratives offer an organized way to respond to future work challenges that no single institution or even an entire sector can effectively tackle,” said Anita Brown-Graham, 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 they are positioned to join a future cohort of collaboratives.    

"Building a strong talent pipeline will require a new level of cross-sector coordination. 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,” said Cecilia Holden, president of myFutureNC.

Forty-six project applications were received, representing 82 counties across the state. 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. Communities interested in updates and resources offered during this two-year project may visit: http://bit.ly/LEAC-project.