In order to accelerate the good work underway across the state, myFutureNC is working to create the space for the education and workforce sector leaders (K-12, community colleges, UNC colleges, private colleges and workforce entities) at the state and local levels to collaborate on high-impact strategies, especially those that affect students at key transition points in the education continuum. Equally as important, myFutureNC is working to align educational attainment with the demands of the state’s employer community. These efforts will help to ensure all North Carolinians are adequately equipped with the skills necessary to fill high demand, high growth jobs that pay living wages and to meaningfully contribute to society.
Outside of the education and business communities, myFutureNC educates and supports philanthropic and legislative decision-makers in efforts to ultimately align resources with attainment-focused initiatives. By encouraging public-private investments and collaborative philanthropic endeavors, myFutureNC can buoy the efforts already underway to increase educational attainment.
Recognizing North Carolina’s declining labor market participation rate, myFutureNC is bringing added focus to the need to engage adult learners into the education pipeline. Partnering with five community colleges across the state, leaders from the John M. Belk Endowment, myFutureNC, the North Carolina Community College System, and N.C. State’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research launched a pilot project and Summer 2021 outreach campaign focused on adult learners. The initiative was created to engage adults who have not completed a post-secondary credential and connect them to educational pathways at the local community college that lead to improved career opportunities. The pilot includes supports for a marketing campaign with the tagline “Better Skills. Better Jobs.“, direct outreach to previously enrolled students that did not complete, and ongoing institution-led efforts to increase adult learner engagement, completion, and employment opportunities.
CCRG is a collaborative effort led by the NC Community College System (NCCCS) and the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to increase high school student readiness for college. This program front-loads remedial coursework for high school students who are at-risk of not entering credit-bearing courses in a postsecondary institution. High school students will complete modules identified by NCCCS prior to high school graduation in English/literacy and math courses.
North Carolina First in FAFSA is a myFutureNC collaborative that focuses on increasing the number of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA application. Increasing the FAFSA completion rate is a fundamental step in our state’s efforts to meet our postsecondary attainment goal. FAFSA completion is required for Pell grant eligibility, as well as in-state needs-based grants and other scholarships. Students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to enroll in higher education, recognizing that college may be an affordable opportunity for them as well.
In response to COVID and declining levels of FAFSA completion, myFutureNC launched a statewide FAFSA Frenzy campaign in June 2020. The campaign engaged statewide partners and informed strategy for ongoing FAFSA initiatives, and helped to secure additional Finish the FAFSA Data Sharing Agreements. Currently, 662 or 97% of public high schools have signed data sharing agreements, a more than 55% increase in the number of data sharing agreements since June 2019.
NC First in FAFSA, a myFutureNC collaborative with Carolina Demography, College Foundation of North Carolina, College Advising Corps and Hunt Institute, developed a statewide FAFSA Tracker hosted on a publicly accessible website which displays updated data on the overall percentage of FAFSA completions at the state, district and high school levels. Additionally, the collaborative launched the inaugural NC First in FAFSA Challenge, and is leveraging connections to reach underrepresented populations and increase overall awareness of the tools and resources available to support students and families.
Learn more on NC First in FAFSA
The Informed Decision-Making Collaborative (IDMC) is a North Carolina initiative bringing together partners vested in the state’s education longitudinal data system. This actionable working group of leading practitioners in the state will engage to help move raw data to informed policy in order to benefit our students and state. Partners include: Governor’s Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Government Data Analytics Center, North Carolina Community College System, Education Policy Initiative at Carolina, myFutureNC, North Carolina Department of Commerce, Department of Public Instruction, UNC System, The Hunt Institute, and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.
The IDMC began working together in February 2020 to collaboratively create a cross-sector research agenda that uses data from the North Carolina Education Longitudinal Data System to inform policy and practices across the pre-kindergarten through workforce (P20-W) education spectrum. The research agenda is an evolving document that will be informed by stakeholders and by the lessons learned as use cases are carried out to better understand the tools, data systems, and processes needed to answer identified questions.
myFutureNC and Carolina Demography collaborated to launch the myFutureNC Educational Attainment Dashboard. The dashboard shows North Carolina’s progress toward the state’s overall 2 million by 2030 goal for postsecondary educational attainment, as well as 18 educational performance indicators. These indicators span the education continuum, capturing key transition points for students from NC Pre-K through college completion and into the labor market.
To help local North Carolina communities develop action plans grounded in data, myFutureNC State and County Attainment Profiles were created to highlight attainment levels and performance on key myFutureNC metrics. The county profiles are intended to facilitate decision-making on local priorities to increase attainment by highlighting county and regional performance and specific opportunities for improvement.
Go to the Attainment Dashboard
myFutureNC is committed to ensuring efforts to increase postsecondary attainment in North Carolina are rigorous and evidence-based. While numerous stakeholders are involved in data improvement efforts across the state, few have focused on the development and evaluation of strategies to increase postsecondary attainment and education-to-labor market alignment. Recognizing this gap, myFutureNC is working to identify and facilitate adoption of evidence-based policies and practices that drive improvements in educational attainment for all, with a focus on steps to understand and close gaps in opportunity/access, quality, and/or outcomes across student subgroups. myFutureNC aims to highlight research that demonstrates evidenced-based practices, that if implemented with fidelity, will ultimately lead to increases in postsecondary attainment and economic prosperity for North Carolinians.
The NC Community College System, in partnership with myFutureNC, engaged all education and workforce sectors to define non-degree credentials that lead to high-growth, high-demand occupations that pay a living wage.
The core team, made up of NC Community College System, myFutureNC, NC Business Committee for Education, NC Department of Commerce, NC Works Commission, NC Department of Public Instruction, and local NC Workforce Development Boards are working to define and incentivize high-quality, non-degree credentials recognized by employers that help workers in North Carolina obtain in-demand living wage jobs. As part of their work, the team is also working to identify the list of credentials that will count toward the educational attainment goal and working with education partners on workforce alignment.
In partnership with CREED, Hunt Institute, and EdNC, this effort includes conversations with all 10 HBCUs in North Carolina, including the leadership of each college and university, to increase the statewide prominence of the NC10. Through cross-institutional knowledge sharing and by gaining a better understanding of the assets and challenges of these institutions, the ultimate goal will be to increase enrollment and completions of students attending these critical institutions.
Recognizing the missed opportunity – both economic and social – that our communities face when youth between the ages of 16-24 become disconnected with both work and school, myFutureNC is launching a statewide collaborative for communities focused on addressing opportunity youth. This network of communities, the myFutureNC Opportunity Youth Network, will be convened regularly to learn and share effective practices to reengage opportunity youth and to prevent youth from becoming disconnected.
myFutureNC is a core partner of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ 2020 Presidential Task Force for the Pathways Initiative, NC Counties Guiding Our Next Generation to Brighter Futures. The mission of the Pathways Initiative Task Force is to develop strategies for counties to reduce the rate of disconnected youth (youth ages 16 to 19 who are not in school nor working). During task force meetings, the group sought to better understand the issue of disconnected youth and to begin to determine how counties can pull different levers to affect change. The task force worked closely with experts to identify several successful county-led efforts and factors that influence youth engagement. The report includes examples of programs throughout the state that have shown promise in keeping youth engaged in their journey from education to career.
Read the NCACC Pathways Report