Interim Director’s Log | October 2022
An Ode to Superheroes
Governor Roy Cooper declared October 2022 as Workforce Development Professionals Month. In his proclamation he addresses the economic imperative of a strong workforce, mentioned the myFutureNC statewide goal of 2 million North Carolinians with a postsecondary degree or credential by 2030, and highlights the role of workforce development professionals—both in connecting workers to jobs AND in helping their clients build confidence, find pathways to rewarding careers with family sustaining wages, and gain the skills they need for the modern workplace. It sounds to me like he’s describing a league of superheroes.
The primary definition of a superhero is a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers. But it also means an exceptionally skillful or successful person. At this year’s closing session of the NCWorks Partnership Conference, IEI’s Practitioner-In-Residence Philip Cooper and I got to play the roles of superheroes, saving the fictional Gate City from the plague of a tight labor market (and yes–we were in costume!)
I brought the data, Philip brought his passion and experience, and together we celebrated the state’s workforce development professionals and all they do to connect and support workers and industry. We acknowledged that the work is not always easy and that strong, productive partnerships that address the root causes of challenges should be the core foundation of a new PEOPLE strategy for North Carolina – one that creates empowerment through employment and engagement:
P = Partnerships that
E = Enable
O = Opportunities for
P = Policies & Programs that
L = Lead to
E = Empowerment
Those with the title of workforce development aren’t the only professionals dedicated to this important work. Economic development, community development, education and public policy also bring their super strengths to the table. We are working with five regional teams committed to strengthening their local workforce that came together earlier this month for the Talent First Economics Community Cohort where a regional lens was applied and partnerships was a key theme.
So on behalf of the “elite policy and program league” at the Institute for Emerging Issues, I want to thank all of the workforce development professionals and others that work tirelessly day in and day out to connect workers to jobs, build their skills and confidence and contribute to the economic vibrancy of our regions and state. We recognize all of the state’s superheroes, all of our change agents “fighting for the underdog,” and the workers themselves who are creating new opportunities for their families and their communities. #TalentFirstNC