Advancing Together: The 2022 Emerging Issues Forum


Tuesday, February 8, 2022
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
McKimmon Center
Raleigh, NC

The Challenge

As our economy grows the vast majority of new jobs will require more than a high school diploma. Today, less than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44 are ready for this work. As set by myFutureNC, with the strong support of the North Carolina General Assembly, the Governor, and the education and business communities, the current goal is 2 million North Carolinians with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. But absent intentional action, we face a significant gap between the skills and experience that employers will need and what the state’s labor force will be able to provide. Even more worrisome, economically disadvantaged and workers of color, the segments of the workforce growing fastest, are particularly less equipped for this future. And this was before the pandemic.


The Opportunity

The 2022 Emerging Issues Forum will bring together local, state and national leaders to call attention to this attainment gap and to the impact of the pandemic on efforts to close it. Because education is fundamentally local in character, a particular focus will be on spurring effective action at the community and regional levels across the state. The event will showcase promising practices that help all students—younger and older, White and non-White, richer and poorer—to get ready for, gain access to and to successfully complete postsecondary educational opportunities. The importance of effective collaboration will be highlighted, especially the role of the business community in promoting curriculum alignment, offering work-based learning and advocating for a competitive workforce.


Moving Ideas to Action

A central goal of the Forum and a series of regional meetings afterwards is to promote local-level action that boosts educational attainment levels, especially for lower-income and students of color. This will happen by lifting up effective practices, policy supports and by offering capacity-building workshops. And following a practice honed over the past three years, IEI will select, highlight and support the work of a cohort of five communities from across the state that are moving the needle for these students. More information on IEI’s community cohort program, including an application, can be found on the Communities page.


Scholarship Program

We recognize that for some, cost is a substantial barrier to attending the Emerging Issues Forum. We also know that every voice is important.

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) has scholarships for those interested in participating in the “Advancing Together: Enhancing NC’s Workforce Through Educational Attainment” Emerging Issues Forum and who identify ticket price affordability as a significant barrier to participation. This is an in-person event on Feb. 8, 2022 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC. 

Scholarship recipients will receive free admission to the Forum but are responsible for any additional costs, including travel. 

Because scholarship sponsors often ask that their funds be given to applicants with specific characteristics, we ask that you identify yourself in as many categories as apply in the question below.

The deadline for applications is noon on Friday, January 14, 2022. Applicants will be notified of their status by Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

To apply for a scholarship, click here

For more information: please contact Davina Thrash at 919-515-9255 or 

Our sponsors

2022 Forum Sponsors