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

Empowering North Carolinians through excellent education is essential to securing a skilled talent pipeline and achieving a competitive, diverse, and world-class workforce. In today’s competitive global marketplace, where North Carolina competes for top talent with economies around the world, we must do more to strengthen our workforce and fill the talent pool.

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The Challenge

More than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44, and even more from underserved areas, have only a high school degree. As our economy grows, jobs will require high-quality credentials or post-secondary degrees.

North Carolina needs to ensure that two million North Carolinians hold a post-secondary degree or credential of value by 2030. Our business and education communities must join forces to ensure that students are getting the right degrees and certifications.

A strong talent pipeline is not only necessary to retaining businesses that have chosen NC as their home, but also recruiting new businesses that will enhance our economic competitiveness and improve quality of life for North Carolinians. Sustainable action is needed to ensure students are adeptly prepared for the careers of tomorrow, and that our current workforce has the opportunity to reskill and/or pivot to acclimate to new business demands.

Watch: Workforce Webinar: How K-12 Education Fuels NC’s Competitive Success (January 26, 2022) with NC Chamber President & CEO Gary Salamido and State Superintendent Catherine Truitt

The Solution

Collaboration is key to solving workforce shortages and securing future talent supply.

The NC Chamber is focused on empowering businesses in leading sustainable solutions to their workforce needs. Even before the pandemic, North Carolina’s employers struggled with hiring workers who have the certifications or training matching the jobs in demand.

COVID-19 widened the skills gap and narrowed talent pipelines. Baby Boomers retired at a faster rate than expected. Parents, mainly mothers, left the workforce due to childcare demands – and they haven’t returned. More and more North Carolinians need reskilling or upskilling for new careers.

Through continuous collaboration with North Carolina’s education community, the NC Chamber is advancing alignment of education and training systems with job demands of today (and tomorrow). Employers and educators need a “common language” that will align education with workforce readiness, particularly in identifying the right credentials of value for employers.

NC Chamber Foundation Institute for Workforce Competitiveness

Responding to the urgent workforce needs of our state’s employers and focusing on North Carolina’s future talent supply, the NC Chamber Foundation launched the business-driven Institute for Workforce Competitiveness in March 2022. North Carolina and the nation face workforce challenges, changes, and opportunities. The states that successfully address these issues will be best positioned for economic competitiveness.

The strength in the NC Chamber Foundation is its access to the very employers facing workforce challenges every day. With the formation of the Institute for Workforce Competitiveness, the NC Chamber Foundation will advance the quantity and quality of the state’s workforce.

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Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy

Across North Carolina, we see an ongoing need for business-led collaboratives with our educational institutions to supply the training specifically needed for the jobs in demand.

To meet this need for our members, in 2019, the NC Chamber Foundation launched the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy, an employer-led, demand and data-driven program based on supply chain principles. Collaboratives are formed between businesses and local education/training providers and economic/workforce development groups statewide. Through strategic initiatives like the Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Academy, we are filling North Carolina’s talent pool and closing the skills gap.

Our business community’s leadership and engagement in the TPM Academy are essential for solving the workforce shortage, building a skilled talent pipeline, empowering North Carolinians with rewarding careers, and attracting companies to invest in our great state.

There are now 23 TPM experts across North Carolina. 

Read more about the Talent Pipeline Management Academy

The Agenda

  • View our 2023 Legislative Agenda to learn how the NC Chamber will advocate for education and workforce development this legislative session.
  • Learn how the NC Chamber championed these issues in the 2021-2022 edition of How They Voted.
  • Explore our Education & Workforce Conference, which brings together leaders in education, business, government, and nonprofit to discuss collaborative approaches to workforce development and education attainment and alignment.