A Call for Applications from Regional Teams
Talent First Economics
The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) at NC State University is seeking applications from regional teams across NC that are interested in diversifying, developing, and enhancing their workforce talent, with a focus on underrepresented and/or marginalized groups of workers, by improving collaboration and strengthening partnerships among workforce, economic and community development leaders. The five teams selected will join IEI’s Talent First Economics cohort.
Regional teams selected for the cohort will benefit from:
- Enrollment in the NC Workforce Development Leadership Initiative. Teams will be comprised of six members, all of whom will participate in the new NC Workforce Development Leadership Initiative, an intensive, six-month professional training program. Graduates of the program receive the professional designation of Certified Workforce Developer by the National Association of Workforce Boards. Visit the initiative’s website for more information.
- Regional Action Planning Support. Each regional team will partner with IEI to host an action planning meeting in their region to identify tangible next steps for moving forward a set of strategies that connect and/or engage underrepresented job seekers to high demand, good-paying jobs in their region.
- A peer learning network to share with—and learn from—other regions across the state.
- Increased visibility for their region’s efforts. IEI will provide a statewide platform for each region to talk about its work at the February 13, 2023 Emerging Issues Forum, Talent First Economics, in Raleigh. In addition, we will track and communicate each region’s efforts in this program, capturing lessons learned and inspiring others to scale what works.
The cost to participate is $1,200 per regional team of six to register for the NC Workforce Development Leadership Initiative (a $13,470 value) and travel expenses for team members to attend the Leadership Initiative classes and daylong Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh. IEI will provide each regional team with six complimentary Emerging Issues Forum tickets and cover expenses for the regional action planning meeting (a $3,000 value).
More information about the cohort and who can apply is included below.
The project is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
DEADLINE EXTENDED: Applications are due no later than Friday, July 29, 2022, at 5 p.m. EDT.
Additional Information on the Call for Applications
North Carolina’s Talent Challenge
If North Carolina is to remain competitive in an increasingly global, mobile and diverse economy, there is a strong consensus that we will need 2 million North Carolinians with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. In fact, talent development is a critical focal point of numerous state efforts, including but not limited to myFuture NC, the NC Department of Commerce 2021-2025 strategic plan, and NC State University’s 2021-2030 strategic plan. Part of the challenge to reaching that goal is equipping more people with the right skills and credentials. But an equally important challenge, as North Carolina faces demographic challenges and a post-pandemic future, is ensuring enough people go to work—that they get in, stay in, and thrive in the workplace.
The 2023 Emerging Issues Forum will examine ways to overcome the barriers that are keeping a variety of workers from finding employment and staying engaged in the workplace. By looking at ways to put talent first, increasing our understanding of what employees are looking for and how employers and systems can respond, we can better locate, energize, equip and unleash North Carolina’s full abundance of talent.
At IEI, we believe that local communities—with their traditions, willingness to work, and history of coming together in tough times to solve big challenges—are the unit of change to spark action to grow North Carolina’s talent supply. Five regional teams will be chosen to be a part of our Talent First Economics cohort, a peer learning opportunity to increase collaboration among workforce, economic, and community development leaders to ensure their regions are stronger and better equipped to grow their workforce, with a focus on underrepresented workers.
Who Can Apply
Specific to this cohort, a “region” refers to three or more counties. Successful applicants are Regional Council of Government (COG) or Workforce Development Boards interested in improving their economy and workforce that create a team in partnership with workforce and economic development boards, as well as community leaders. The regional team should include members from across counties, sectors and experiences. A COG or Workforce Development Board may only submit one application.
For COG applicants that serve as a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant recipient and administrative entities in their respective local area jurisdictions, the cohort should include a representative of the Local Area Workforce Development Board professional staff, and perhaps a board member as well, to be determined regionally as to the optimal cohort makeup, but most definitely with COG active involvement and participation.
To be considered for the cohort, each applicant should identify a diverse regional team of six emerging leaders in workforce development, including but not limited to workforce, economic and community development professionals, educators, current or future workforce board members, and other local and regional elected officials and staff. No more than two members of a regional team can represent any one county. While all applications will be reviewed, regions who have experienced slower economic growth will receive greater priority.
DEADLINE EXTENDED: Applications are due no later than Friday, July 29, 2022, at 5 p.m. EDT. The benefits and expectations for participating communities and the application process are outlined below.
Benefits and Expectations for Talent First Economics Cohort Members
The five regional teams selected for the Talent First Economics cohort will:
- Participate in the NC Workforce Development Leadership Initiative in Raleigh, an intensive, six-month professional training program, with classes beginning in October. The curriculum is comprised of four instructional courses, each of which include 12 contact hours in the classroom. Graduates of the program receive the professional designation of Certified Workforce Developer. Although it is preferred that all participants attend the classes in person, we recognize that situations may arise that prohibit this. To accommodate participants when conflicts arise, classes will be live-streamed and recorded. It is important to note, however, that in order to complete the program and earn the Certified Workforce Developer designation, participants must attend seven of the nine days in person. The program dates are:
- October 10-11, 2022
- December 1-2, 2022
- January 19-20, 2023
- February 13, 2023 (Emerging Issues Forum)
- March 9-10, 2023
- Attend the Emerging Issues Forum and share their efforts with Forum participants in Raleigh on February 13, 2023 and attend the invite-only NC Leadership Reception later that evening.
- Partner with IEI to host an action planning meeting in their region (Spring/Summer 2023). IEI will provide lunch, supplies and meeting space.
- Commit to sharing what they learn with a statewide audience to capture lessons learned and inspire others to scale what works. IEI will provide communications capacity to capture these stories.
Applicants must provide the following information to be considered for the Talent First Economics cohort. The application narrative must not exceed three pages, single-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, not including the cover page of each application (download a template of the cover page). Include a resume or CV for each member of your regional team.
The application narrative should not exceed three pages and must include the following:
- Describe your region and team: Describe the counties that will be represented on the regional team and the diversity of your six-person regional team. Include the team’s commitment to support the cohort $1,200 participation fee, time and travel to attend the NC Workforce Development Leadership Initiative classes and Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh. Briefly describe the kinds of partners in your region that may be interested in participating in a regional action planning meeting next year.
- Challenges: Describe your region’s biggest workforce challenges. Tell us about the region’s current challenges when it comes to working collaboratively across workforce development, economic development, community development and other key stakeholders.
- Opportunities: Describe the underrepresented and/or marginalized populations in your region’s workforce and how participating in this cohort could help increase their participation in the workforce. Tell us about the opportunities in your region to work more collaboratively across workforce development, economic development, community development and other key stakeholders.
Application Submission and Review
DEADLINE EXTENDED: Applications are due no later than Friday, July 29, 2022, at 5 p.m. EDT and should be emailed in a single PDF to Julia Kardos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All applicants will be notified of their status by August 15, 2022. Regional teams selected to participate must pay their $1,200 participation fee by August 31, 2022.