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Talent First Economics Community Cohort

A cohort made up of five communities from across the state participated in a peer learning network as part of the 2023 Emerging Issues Forum: Talent First Economics. The cohort completed the inaugural North Carolina Workforce Development Leadership Initiative developed at NC State University.

The Leadership Initiative program is 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 (CWD). The initiative is housed in NC State University‚Äôs Municipal Research Lab led by Bruce McDonald. Other partners within NC State include the Economic Development Partnership and the NC State Continuing and Lifelong Education.

The project is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

At a series of regional forums, cohort teams will develop a set of planning steps for each of their communities.

A map of North Carolina with counties highlighted that are included in the Talent First Economics community cohort
The counties included in the Talent First Economics Community Cohort.

The five teams in the cohort include representatives from the following organizations:

Cape Fear Region

  • Brunswick Community College
  • Cape Fear Council of Governments
  • Cape Fear Workforce Development Board
  • Columbus County Economic Development
  • Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
  • Town of Burgaw
  • UNC Wilmington

Eastern Carolina Region

  • Eastern Carolina Council of Governments
  • Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board
  • Greene County
  • Lenoir Community College
  • Wayne County

Northern and Western Piedmont Triad Region

  • Caswell County
  • City of Winston-Salem
  • Forsyth County
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Workforce Development Board
  • Piedmont Triad Regional Council
  • Rockingham County
  • Surry County

Southern and Eastern Piedmont Triad Region

  • Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce
  • City of Greensboro
  • City of High Point
  • GuilfordWorks Workforce Development Board
  • Regional Partnership Workforce Development Board
  • Randolph County Economic Development Corporation

Western Mountain Region

  • Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Blue Ridge Community College
  • Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development
  • Land of Sky Regional Council
  • Mountain Area Workforce Development Board 
  • Transylvania Economic Alliance
  • Western Carolina University