Fewer than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44 hold high-quality credentials or a postsecondary degree, and individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are disproportionally affected. A thriving economic future for North Carolina requires communities to find innovative solutions that increase educational attainment.
The ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government and myFutureNC, with support from the John M. Belk Endowment, are partnering to help communities create meaningful change. Together they are launching a two-year pilot program supporting 10 local educational attainment collaboratives across the state. Applications are now open for North Carolina communities wishing to participate in the program. Click here to learn more.
Through expert and peer support, robust technical assistance, and critical financial support, these collaboratives will seek to significantly increase the number of individuals successfully completing post-secondary credentials of value in the workforce, including a degree, credential, or certification.
“We understand how critical educational attainment is to North Carolina’s economic success,” said Anita Brown-Graham, professor and director of the ncIMPACT Initiative. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to declining enrollments and learning loss, making this issue all the more urgent. We look forward to helping communities find collaborative solutions to the challenges they face.”
myFutureNC seeks to ensure that by 2030, 2 million North Carolinians have a postsecondary degree or credential. Local educational attainment collaboratives launch at a critical juncture for North Carolina communities. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 67 percent of jobs in North Carolina required some form of postsecondary degree or credential. The pandemic has accelerated this trend while simultaneously slowing attainment of these credentials. Dropout rates may triple, and first-time community college and university enrollment declined 21 percent.
“In order to reach our audacious 2 million by 2030 goal, it is critical that North Carolina’s local counties and regions share in this vision for attainment by establishing local goals and collaboratives that move the goal into action,” said Cecilia Holden, president of myFutureNC. “Building a strong talent pipeline will require a new level of coordination among preK-12, universities, community colleges, workforce boards, civic leaders and critically – employers. The myFutureNC Local Educational Attainment Collaboratives, in partnership with ncIMPACT and the John M. Belk Endowment not only strengthen our local communities, but also build a stronger North Carolina.”
The myFutureNC Local Educational Attainment Collaboratives are made possible by funding from the John M. Belk Endowment, which is committed to transforming postsecondary educational opportunities to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs.
“From the beginning, we’ve recognized that progress toward North Carolina’s 2 million by 2030 goal happens when the alignment and coordination of educational attainment efforts are both state-led and locally owned,” said MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment. “Local attainment collaboratives like the one recently launched in the Land of Sky region are informing the design of a customizable framework to catalyze similar efforts across the state. These community-led collaboratives will be critical to building the workforce of today, tomorrow, and the future.”
Communities wishing to participate in this new program may apply as county teams, municipal-county partnerships, or multi-county collaboratives. Applications for the program are due by March 29, 2021. Click here to learn more.
The ncIMPACT Initiative (ncIMPACT) is a statewide initiative launched by the UNC School of Government in 2017 to help local communities use data and evidence to improve conditions and inform decision making. To learn more, visit ncimpact.sog.unc.edu.
myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit focused on educational attainment that includes some of North Carolina’s most influential education, business, and civic leaders. The organization was formed with the goal to create a stronger, more competitive North Carolina. myFutureNC is working across sectors and in communities throughout the state to close gaps in the education pathway, to promote alignment between educational programming and business/industry needs, and to ultimately improve educational opportunities for all North Carolinians. Join our efforts, stay in touch and help champion success for our state and all of its people. Visit myfuturenc.org to learn more.
The John M. Belk Endowment is a private family foundation committed to transforming postsecondary educational opportunities to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs. Its mission is aligned with the vision of its founder, the late John M. Belk, who served four terms of mayor of Charlotte and was CEO of the department store company Belk, Inc. Now led by Mr. Belk’s daughter, MC Belk Pilon, the John M. Belk Endowment continues to partner with innovative, results-oriented programs in North Carolina to further Mr. Belk’s values, legacy, and focus on the value of education as a means to personal fulfillment and community vitality. For more information, please visit jmbendowment.org.