Producing a globally competitive workforce across North Carolina relies on each community’s commitment to education and workforce development. Without the support of local communities across the state, securing North Carolina’s place as a top-ten state for workforce readiness will be that much harder. It is for that reason, an entire session at our 2017 Conference on Education was dedicated to local leadership in action, where local leaders discussed how collaborative efforts in their communities are closing the skills gap and improving outcomes for students in their areas.
One such effort is the NCWorks Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, which serves to further economic growth in each of the state’s communities by distinguishing those that are taking the necessary steps to advance workforce development. In partnership with the Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Community College System and the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the North Carolina Chamber Foundation acts as the final certifying body to designate each NC Works Certified Work Ready Community after the community demonstrates it has met the necessary benchmarks to qualify. How exactly does participating in this program improve workforce development? Within each Work Ready community, business leaders are better equipped to communicate the skills their business needs, individuals within the community know what skills are needed and what must be done to cultivate them, policy makers are able to measure the skills gap, educators have more tools and resources to better prepare students and economic developers have the ability to market the quality of the county’s workforce.
It was our goal to certify 30 communities by the end of this year and as of this month, we’ve surpassed that goal. Hoke, Johnston and Pitt counties were certified this month, bringing the total number of NC Works Certified Work Ready Communities to 31. McDowell and Wayne counties also maintained their certifications, which are valid for two years. While meeting this benchmark is a tremendous accomplishment, there is clearly much more work to be done to ensure all 100 counties are Certified Work Ready by 2030. With almost 2,500 employers supporting this initiative, there’s no doubt it’s one that’s important to North Carolina job creators. If you’re interested in showing your company’s support, please click here, or for additional information, please contact Meaghan Lewis, NC Chamber government affairs manager. Of course, if your community is already Certified Work Ready be sure to give it a shout out today in honor of #WorkReadyWednesday. We look forward to adding more Certified Work Ready communities to the ranks, as we work to secure North Carolina’s position as the number one place to find world-class talent in the modern global economy.
North Carolina’s Certified Work Ready Communities
Gary J. Salamido
Vice President, Government Affairs
North Carolina Chamber