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Institute for Emerging Issues

What Keeps NC Workforce Development Leaders Up at Night?

By Sarah Langer Hall, IEI Interim Director

On May 18, 2022, IEI co-hosted the NC Association of Workforce Development Boards (NCAWDB) spring meeting. Workforce development professionals from across North Carolina gathered virtually to learn about state workforce trends and share what they are seeing in their regions. Dr. Mike Walden, Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at NC State University, shared workforce projections for the state and offered his policy recommendations to ensure North Carolina will have access to a strong workforce.

Participants also received an overview of the new NC Workforce Development Leadership Initiative, an intensive, six-month professional training program designed to prepare attendees to participate on and lead workforce development boards and create initiatives that will further communities. The curriculum consists of four instructional courses, each of which includes 12 hours in the classroom. IEI’s Talent First Economics community cohort members will be the first leaders in the nation to participate in this initiative and receive the professional designation of Certified Workforce Developer (CWD). Classes begin this October.

More importantly, the NCAWDB spring meeting was a space for leaders to discuss issues important to today’s workforce development landscape. Participants shared what keeps them up at night, as well as challenges and best practices specific to a variety of workforce issues. Their greatest concerns centered around eight themes: pipeline/skills, outreach and engagement, job vacancies and retention, equity, behavior and mental health, quality jobs, workplace support and culture, and collaboration and resources. The meeting summary and key takeaways can be viewed here.