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

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 pipeline.

The Challenge

According to a Deloitte study, in the manufacturing industry alone, “[T]he skills gap may leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled between 2018 and 2028, with a potential economic impact of $2.5 trillion.” The Society for Human Resources Management reported that in the past 12 months, 83% of HR professionals had trouble finding qualified candidates for open jobs. 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 our state’s citizens. Urgent, 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 needs. And with COVID-19 impacting education delivery statewide, it’s critical that we address any learning deficiencies resulting from the pandemic with evidence-based pedagogic approaches.

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The Solution

The NC Chamber advocates for a comprehensive approach to education policy and works on issues ranging from early childhood education and K-12 public schools to community college and university education, as well as workplace learning initiatives like apprenticeships. Two of the top priorities identified by our Workforce Readiness Committee are increasing 3rd grade reading proficiency and increasing career relevance in high school classrooms.

We strive to better align education systems with the needs of our modern workforce because we know the skills gap—or the lack of workers with the right skills, talent, and experience for open positions—is a top concern for our members. Through initiatives like the NC Chamber Foundation’s Workforce Consortium — a collaboration between the Foundation, NC Community College System, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Governor’s office and others — and Talent Pipeline Management program, we’re fighting to strengthen North Carolina’s talent pipeline and solve the skills gap.

Read more about the Talent Pipeline Management Academy

The Agenda

  • Learn more about the NC Chamber’s plans to advance this issue in the 2021 Legislative Agenda.
  • 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.
  • Read about Talent Pipeline Management  — an employer driven, regionally focused program created by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that aligns classroom with career.