NCWorks Commission approves strategic plan for building job-ready workforce

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The NCWorks Commission, a 33-member panel that includes the business community, state workforce agencies, educators and community leaders, approved a new two-year strategic plan and certified local career centers.

The strategic plan, entitled “Preparing North Carolina’s Workforce for Today and Tomorrow,” is aligned with Governor Roy Cooper’s NC Job Ready initiative.

“Our strategic plan will guide our efforts to continue to develop the workforce that North Carolina needs in order to strengthen our employers, attract new businesses and adapt to a changing economy,” commission chair Tom Rabon said in a statement.

Four major goals form the basis of the strategic plan are:

  • Prepare workers to succeed in the North Carolina economy by increasing skills and education attainment;
  • create a workforce system that is responsive to the needs of the economy by fostering employer leadership;
  • promote replication of creative solutions to challenging workforce problems by supporting local innovation; and
  • promote workforce system access, alignment, integration and modernization.

Under the first goal, related to education attainment, the plan calls for making progress toward the goal set by the myFutureNC Commission: that by 2030, 2 million North Carolinians between the ages of 25 and 44 years old have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential. Gov. Cooper and other state leaders have endorsed that attainment goal.

The second goal, employer leadership, includes an emphasis on supporting increased work-based learning programs to expose students to career opportunities through career awareness and career exploration such as internships and apprenticeships and developing industry-led partnerships to ensure workforce agencies are working together to address business needs.

The “local innovation” goal calls for promoting leadership development opportunities for the state’s workforce professionals, and for funding community-based initiatives that pilot new ideas or replicate proven programs.

The final goal is related to the coordination of the workforce development system itself, which involves numerous partner agencies. Among other items, the plan calls for enhancing public awareness of the services provided through NCWorks for individuals and businesses, while researching new technological means to serve the system’s customers.

In addition, the commission, which is designated as the state’s workforce development board under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, officially certified the NCWorks Career Centers in Charlotte to ensure high-quality and consistent service delivery across the state. The “one-stop” centers assist job seekers with improving their skills and finding jobs, and help businesses develop a qualified workforce. Certification indicates that the centers deliver services in an integrated, coordinated way, have well-trained professional staff and are accessible to all customers.

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