RALEIGH (May 5, 2021) – When’s the last time North Carolina’s K-12 public schools, community colleges, public and private universities, as well as its business, philanthropic and faith communities, all agreed on a course of action?
It’s hard to recall, but that’s what they’ve done by adopting a goal to make sure North Carolinians are ready for the jobs of the mid-21st century: 2 million people ages 25-44 with a degree or high-quality credential by 2030.
In fact, even the state’s House, Senate and governor have endorsed that goal. How unusual is that? With recent announcements that Apple and Google will invest in new hubs in North Carolina, that future economy isn’t hard to envision.
But those jobs will demand education beyond high school.
The state’s attainment goal is a moving target: Without additional efforts, 1.6 million of North Carolina’s 25-44-year-olds are projected to have a degree or credential by 2030.
But myFutureNC – a collaboration between the state’s education, business, philanthropic and religious communities – says that won’t be enough: We need 400,000 more educated workers.
Yes, the coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly slowed the effort. But myFutureNC has adopted a list of modest, noncontroversial measures for the NC General Assembly to enact that will help stoke the aspirations and smooth the transitions for our state’s students.
As the accompanying table shows in detail, myFutureNC recommends the legislature make modest investments in five fundamental pillars to help North Carolina students reach their potential:
- Postsecondary Readiness: Increase commitment to career and college readiness programs.
- Postsecondary Access: Increase awareness of and access to advising on career and college pathways and federal financial aid.
- Postsecondary Completion: Improve need-based supports for students.
- Labor Market Alignment: Expand access to marketable non-degree workforce credentials.
- Postsecondary Foundations: Build strong digital and data-driven foundations for success.
It’s vital for North Carolina – and for North Carolinians – to get this done. So let’s get going.
Higher Ed Works appreciates the support of Bank of America and the Goodnight Educational Foundation for our coverage of myFutureNC.