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Director's Log

Director’s Log | March 2024

Sarah Langer Hall headshot
IEI Director Sarah Langer Hall

March is almost over and while some of our brackets may be busted, our team alliances remain deep. The same could be said for our views on today’s political landscape. 

Later this evening, we are hosting our second event with NC State’s School of Public and International Affairs. “Constructive Compromise: Governance in our Polarized Political Environment” highlights the important bipartisan work taking place in government that often gets overlooked, especially among young adults committed to making our state a better place to live, work and play. Seats still remain. 

On March 20, we wrapped up our series of regional workforce development meetings with the teams from the Talent First Economics Community Cohort. Our last meeting, “Jobs of the Future: Guilford County Workforce Action Meeting” was held by the cohort’s Piedmont team in High Point and featured a robust discussion among business leaders about opportunities for building the local workforce. Read more about the meeting in this recap from IEI Communications Intern Adam Sichel. 

I’ve had the honor of attending all of the regional cohort team meetings since they started in September, and I’m proud of the work leaders across the state have done within this short period of time to break down barriers faced by underrepresented workers. It’s hard to believe that in just a few months, it will be one year since we released the Talent First Economics Task Force Recommendations Report. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to review the report and share it with leaders in your community. Physical copies are available upon request.

On March 14, our BAND-NC teamed up with the NC Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy, and The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation to hold a webinar where digital inclusion partners could learn more about data sources and how those sources can support local digital inclusion planning efforts. If you weren’t able to attend the webinar, the recording is available online.

In addition to supporting digital inclusion efforts, our BAND-NC team has been busy planning its first statewide digital inclusion opportunities gathering this summer in Flat Rock! We heard from many of you that regular statewide gatherings on digital inclusion were needed to help foster the sharing of knowledge, best practices and innovative solutions among digital inclusion planners across the state, and we’re excited to make this a reality. Registration will go live this April. Stay tuned for more information.

Finally, our Faith and Community Initiative team has been hard at work all month long finalizing details for the annual Faith and Community Initiative Conference, taking place April 15 and 16 in Asheboro. This year’s conference will bring together rural faith leaders from across the state to engage in thoughtful discussion around mental health care, end-of-life care, financial wellness and more. There’s still time to register. Visit our website to learn more and reserve your spot.

We’ve got an exciting spring and summer ahead of us. While our college basketball allegiances may divide us at this time of year in the name of school spirit, our ability to work together across differences to collaborate on solutions to our state’s emerging issues makes us all winners in my playbook. See you on the road!