Call for Communities



ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity

Call for Proposals from NC Communities

Deadline: Friday, June 7, 2019 5:00 p.m. EST


How are communities across the state connecting individuals to stable and living wage jobs, with the potential for career advancement?

The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at North Carolina State University is seeking applications from NC “communities” that are actively working to help remove structural barriers facing individuals who seek higher wage employment. Selected communities will join IEI’s ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity community cohort.

Communities selected for the cohort will benefit from:
  • A platform to talk about their initiative at the October 15, 2019 ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity Emerging Issues Forum in Charlotte, NC. Five complimentary forum tickets will be available to each community team.


  • A peer learning network to share with–and learn from–communities across the state,


  • Free capacity building activities during cohort meetings, including storytelling, civil dialogue training and more. Two strategic planning sessions will also be available and will take place in your local community, and


  • Increased visibility and potential for greater financial support of a community’s reconnection efforts.


While there is no fee for participating in the cohort, communities are asked to cover travel expenses for their community team to attend five meetings over two years. Some travel scholarships may be available.

Capacity-building activities will be provided at no cost and include:
  • Sharing your story: Local teams will learn how to tell the story of their community’s initiative to build community support. One person from each local team will present their community initiative at the October 15, 2019 Emerging Issues Forum in Charlotte. Storytelling sessions will take place with the full cohort, followed by two virtual technical assistance sessions with the Forum presenter.


  • Civil dialogue training: Communities will gain understanding in effective communication that can lead to better problem-solving and/or more effective government. Participants will gain skills in talking and working across racial, economic, and political divides. This session will take place with the full cohort, with the potential for more in-depth training with a broader group of local community members.


  • Strategic planning or coaching: Depending on a community’s unique needs, each local team will have access to strategic planning facilitation or coaching support. These sessions will take place in the local community and are optional.


  • Increasing community capacity: Additional capacity building will be provided based on community need. For example, communities can learn how to develop community capacity by utilizing service year corps members to build capacity and address critical challenges.


IEI is accepting applications from NC “communities” that are actively working on successful efforts to connect adult, lower income earners to information or services related to sustainable-wage employment, effective skill-enhancing training models and employer-supported initiatives. Programs that remove non-academic barriers to, and provide support for, postsecondary education will also be considered. IEI will follow these communities over the duration of the project, capturing their successes and lessons learned in case studies that will be shared statewide.

Who Can Apply: Specific to this cohort, a “community” refers to an organization or partnership located in a region, county, city, town, or neighborhood. These can include, but are not limited to, entities of local government, educational institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and faith communities.

To be considered for the cohort, each group should identify a diverse local team of 4-5 representatives from the community to participate in a series of cross-community capacity-building meetings over the course of two years (see cohort structure below).

Applications are due no later than Friday, June 7, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. EST. and should be emailed in a single PDF to Molly Sheehan, IEI’s AmeriCorps VISTA, at