As 2023 draws to a close, the NC Chamber team is reflecting on a year of tremendous collaboration and connection with the leaders of our state agencies. We appreciate their service to North Carolina and their commitment to working together to make our state the best place to live and work.
Protecting the Environment While Growing at the Speed of Business
Nearly 200 professionals convened in January for the NC Chamber’s Environmental Compliance Conference, presented by Robinson Bradshaw. It is one of the few times the regulated community has the opportunity to engage with the regulators outside of typical permitting processes. The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality signaled its support of the dialogue through comments from N.C. DEQ Secretary Elizabeth Biser, as well as each of her division leads. Having the DEQ leadership team all in one place, particularly at a time of such staffing challenges, made for a thorough discussion of key issues. The insights and connection shared by the regulators, as well as our members, has been referenced throughout the year.
Tackling NC’s Health Care Worker Shortage
The NC Chamber Foundation and the NC Center on the Workforce for Health formally launched a landmark public-private partnership in May that is aggressively addressing the state’s critical health care workforce shortages. The NC Health Talent Alliance has engaged 124 employers, representing approximately 139,200 employees in 4 pilot regions across the state. The Foundation is providing training and support to the coalitions, and working with industry leaders, trade associations and education partners on customized but replicable solutions and policy recommendations. Within three years, the partnership will cover the entire state and will begin expanding to other key industries including manufacturing and information technology.
Building a Strong Transportation Infrastructure
North Carolina’s transportation infrastructure is a critical component of ensuring our state is a top place to live and work, and there is still much work to be done to continue to meet the mobility needs of our fast-growing state in an increasingly competitive business environment. North Carolina Board of Transportation Chairman Michael Fox addressed attendees of the our annual Transportation & Infrastructure Summit to discuss the state of transportation in North Carolina.
Our relationship with the team at the N.C. Department of Transportation is critical in our work to research and advocate for diversified, sustainable investment in our state’s transportation networks. We appreciate the work they do to help ensure people and products can move safely and efficiently across our state.
Connecting with a Skilled and Educated Workforce
We consistently hear from businesses that they need help engaging their local K-12 school system. This year, we worked with the Department of Public Instruction to develop a K-12 Talent Pipeline Toolkit to help organizations become more involved in education in their community, ultimately connecting North Carolina students with viable career opportunities. The toolkit will launch in January.
Our annual Education and Workforce Conference included a conversation with President of the N.C. Community College System Dr. Jeff Cox, State Superintendent Catherine Truitt, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities President Hope Williams, and UNC System President Peter Hans. These education leaders and their teams continue to provide opportunities for dialogue and collaboration as we work together to provide North Carolinians, wherever they are in their life, the best opportunity to succeed.
Developing Resiliency and Preparedness
This year, our inaugural Business Continuity Summit worked to engage leaders from the private sector as well as public officials in emergency management, public health, government, and beyond, with the objective of nurturing relationships, communicating recommendations, conducting gap analyses, and fostering buy-in from key stakeholders, policymakers, and the public. It was a tremendous success and the private sector developed key relationships with attendees from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, Department of Public Instruction, Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation, and more.
After the event, we were pleased to tour the NC Emergency Management / Joint Force HQ at the invitation of Director of Emergency Management William Ray and Assistant Director Persia Payne-Hurley. Together with members of our board, we had an exciting discussion and are exploring ways to continue our collaboration in 2024 and the years to follow.
Harnessing Our Momentum
It takes collaboration between our private and public sectors to continue the momentum we have as a state, and we are proud to be part of that important work. We put great value on the open dialogue we share with our public leaders and appreciate the time they spend with us and our members. In addition to some of the formal engagements, we have hosted numerous elected officials and leaders from the courts and state agencies for briefings and roundtables with our membership. We appreciate the time they take to truly listen and share as we all share one goal – to continue to make North Carolina great.