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Workforce Revival in NC: Cape Fear

In the last edition of our workforce series, Vice President of Workforce Development at Central Carolina Community College Margaret Roberton shared how she used her knowledge gained from the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy in launching the Central Carolina Manufacturing Institute.

For this issue, we asked another TPM Academy graduate (May 2021), Erin Easton, to provide her perspective for incorporating TPM lessons into business-driven collaboratives. In her past role as Business Engagement Manager at the Cape Fear Workforce Development Board, Erin brought TPM into an existing collaborative to achieve a manufacturer’s talent needs.

Erin now serves the Cape Fear Community College as Workforce Training Coordinator. She implemented TPM in her former role.

Why did you join the TPM Academy?

As a convener for a Next Gen Sector Partnership for manufacturing in my region, I see TPM being a valuable tool to utilize with this current employer collaborative to help them solve their workforce supply and retention concerns. Layering in TPM with an existing employer collaborative that has identified a challenge with ensuring the workforce supply meets workforce demand in the manufacturing industry was one of the main reasons for me joining the TPM Academy.

What are the most useful tools you’ve gained?

Having a platform for collecting and analyzing data to assist the collaborative in making decisions and confirming efforts are working is a great tool.

How will you incorporate these tools into your workforce development efforts?

The web tool is a great way to show businesses how this approach is data-driven and led by information they provide. It confirms to businesses that the initiatives created from a TPM collaborative will be solutions focused based on industry-specific needs.

Why are business-driven collaboratives important for North Carolina’s talent pipeline?

The voice of the business is something that we have often overlooked in the past. Using business-driven collaboratives is a necessity to drive real change with North Carolina’s talent pipeline. The first-hand knowledge that businesses can provide gives our academic partners the information they need to develop education programs that truly achieve employers’ needs.

Any advice or tips for launching local collaboratives?

  • Analyze which industry in your region needs a TPM collaborative.
  • Assemble a small group of interested employers to champion your collaborative.
  • Identify like-minded public partners to assist with convening the collaborative.
  • Confirm that each step is employer-driven and you are always listening to the employer’s talent supply needs.