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North Carolina’s K-12 Talent Pipeline Toolkit

A collaboration between the NC Chamber Foundation and N.C. Department of Public Instruction

A skilled and educated workforce is the cornerstone of a strong, healthy economy.

According to the North Carolina 2022 Employer Needs Survey, many applicants lack employability skills like dependability and work ethic. Employers also cite inadequate work experience as a hiring challenge. This data demonstrates that many North Carolina students and families are simply not adequately prepared for or informed about how to chart a successful path after graduation. When students and parents know about the opportunities for great jobs in North Carolina they are often more excited to explore them and more likely to persist through school and into a career when they understand what that pathway looks like.  

We consistently hear from businesses that they need help engaging their local school system. In a survey completed by the NC Chamber Foundation in late 2022, businesses expressed a desire for a toolkit to help you engage with schools and students in your communities. We hope this K-12 Talent Pipeline Toolkit helps your organization become more involved in education in your community, ultimately connecting North Carolina students with viable career opportunities. As you find ways we can improve this toolkit, please let us know.

    Meredith Archie
    NC Chamber Foundation

    Catherine Truitt
    N.C. Department of Public Instruction

Getting Started

You are obviously committed to your future talent pipeline. Before you get started, we recommend that you brainstorm the following with your internal team(s).

  • Identify your talent needs.
  • Determine your resources.
  • Consider both short- and long-term plans, strategies, and goals.
  • List out your assets.
  • Establish how much time and money your business can dedicate to this effort.

Opportunities to Engage with Your Local Schools

Depending on the needs of your business, the following are ways you can engage with your local school district. To learn more about these ideas and how to engage with your local schools, fill out the form below to be directly connected with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Tools & Next Steps

Now that you have a better idea of where to start, we invite you to utilize the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) Navigator tool. It is a free online tool to help connect students to careers. The platform brings together members of the business, education, and workforce development communities in a space where they can post, search for, and measure work-based learning opportunities. These opportunities are experiential learning activities ranging from guest speaking roles to apprenticeships, posted by and used by educators and members of the workforce communities. 



If you need additional resources on how, for example, to start an apprenticeship program, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction is prepared to facilitate a direct connection to your local school system based on your specific needs. Complete the form below to begin that process.




Employer Case Studies

The following case studies showcase opportunities that may give you ideas on how to engage students in your community and make them aware of career opportunities at your business.

Carolina CAT: Building the Construction Trades from the Ground Up

They may not have walked across the stage to get their high school diploma yet. But for some Union County high school students, they are well on their way to establishing themselves in a very lucrative career. Learn more.

Atrium Health: Working With High Schools to Grow Its Nursing Pipeline

The Southeastern United States has some of the worst nursing shortages in the country. In response, Atrium Health is offering the LEAP 2 RN youth apprenticeship program to help attract future nurses. Learn more.

GSK Internships Let High School “Rising Stars” Shine

Rising Stars is a summer internship program for rising juniors and seniors in Durham Public Schools. Fourteen employers, including GSK, participated in the Summer 2023 program. Learn more.