myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit organization focused on educational attainment and is the result of cross-sector collaboration between North Carolina leaders in education, business, and government.
myFutureNC promotes a shared vision for an education-to-workforce continuum across North Carolina–from early childhood through adulthood–and aligns and supports local, regional, and state actions that will dramatically increase attainment of industry-valued credentials and postsecondary degrees. myFutureNC promotes work of all sectors and helps find and fill gaps to drive educational access and attainment outcomes that align with and fulfill employer needs.
On Feb. 20, 2019, myFutureNC unveiled its goal and bold vision for the future of education in our state: We will work to ensure that by 2030, 2 million North Carolinians have a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree. Visit the Goal page to learn more.
“Two of every three new jobs now require some form of post-secondary education – whether that’s training credentials, an associate degree, a four-year degree, or higher. This reality underscores how critical education is to career growth and how important it is to increasing economic mobility.”
- Andrea Smith, Bank of America CAO
Education is the gateway to the discovery and realization of interests, abilities, and potential. Higher levels of educational attainment translate into greater economic opportunity and upward mobility, and while we are making significant progress towards our 2 million by 2030 goal, we are committed to the transformational changes needed to provide opportunity for all. Achieving educational equity for every student regardless of race, geographic location or socio-economic condition is essential. Meaningful and transformational equity work can be challenging so this will serve as a guiding light to provide an opportunity for every citizen to achieve their dreams and be empowered to unleash their full potential. myFutureNC will continue to strengthen our awareness, understanding and skills necessary to advocate for programs, priorities, and policies that equitably distribute educational opportunity and maximize everyone’s strengths and talents. We will expand our cultural perspective and awareness by listening to all voices of our students and employers. With a greater appreciation and understanding, we will advocate for a seamless education-to-workforce pathway that leads to a better and more economically competitive North Carolina and ultimately, better social, economic, and civic outcomes for both individuals and communities.
In January 2017, MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment, and Margaret Spellings, then-president of the University of North Carolina System, recognized that their organizations’ strategic priorities aligned in a powerful way that could lead to transformational change for North Carolina and its citizens.
Both organizations were identifying strategies to increase postsecondary attainment and improve access for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. For the future of North Carolina, they determined it was essential to set an ambitious target for postsecondary attainment in the state, identify places in the education pipeline where students are being lost and determine the solutions leaders from across the education continuum should collectively advocate for. But this could only be achieved with the input and expertise of North Carolina’s leaders.
With support from the John M. Belk Endowment, Goodnight Educational Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the group began to reach out to North Carolina’s thought leaders in education, business, faith-based and nonprofit communities, and representatives from the North Carolina General Assembly and the Governor’s Office. Together, these leaders became the myFutureNC Commission and launched a statewide conversation about economic competitiveness, workforce development and educational attainment.
The commission worked throughout its first year to conduct research and collect input from experts across the state to develop a vision—from preschool through postsecondary education and the workforce—for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina. Between November 2017 and December 2018, the full commission convened five times in different locations across the state. Over the same period, subject-matter experts in P-12 education, postsecondary education and workforce, along with many other myFutureNC partners, produced multiple policy briefs and fact sheets, conducted nine listening sessions across the state, commissioned a statewide Gallup survey and created a webinar series, all with the goal of building a comprehensive plan that promotes lifelong learning for all North Carolinians.
MDC, for instance, played a critical role in building agendas and consolidating and reconciling recommendations. The Friday Institute served as the research team behind the effort, leading work to facilitate and gather input from eight regional listening tours, identify and engage North Carolina-based researchers and policy experts, and synthesize information gathered during commission meetings. EdNC leveraged its award-winning writing and media team to document and share the most interesting, relevant and timely stories that emerged from the commission. EdNC and ncIMPACT at the University of North Carolina School of Government also developed program profiles, or “bright spots,” of these local innovations aligned to myFutureNC priorities.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the North Carolina Community College System, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina State University, the Hunt Institute, ECONorthwest, James G. Martin Center and The National Fund for Workforce Solutions wrote research and policy briefs on Pre-K through workforce topics identified by the commission as the most important and relevant. The Hunt Institute and education associations (North Carolina Association of School Administrators, North Carolina Association of Educators, the Public School Forum, the John Locke Foundation, the NC Rural Center, etc.) included notices of events in their regular communications to encourage attendance for myFutureNC events. These partnerships resulted in a call to action with four focus areas to guide the state’s work and facilitate commission listening sessions. These organizations, in cooperation with others, were essential partners throughout these efforts.
This multi-year, collective initiative resulted in myFutureNC’s Call-to-Action report, released in February 2019, and the official launch of North Carolina’s postsecondary attainment goal: 2 million 25 to 44 year olds with postsecondary credentials or degrees by 2030.
With momentum building around myFutureNC and the statewide attainment goal, the organization officially transitioned from a commission to a nonprofit organization during the summer of 2019. As a nonprofit, myFutureNC is now able to work more effectively across the business, education and workforce sectors to realize the bold attainment goal. The work of the myFutureNC Commission will continue to support this effort as an advisory board of commissioners, providing real-world insights and expertise about the challenges of improvements to postsecondary attainment across the state.