Raleigh, N.C.

Three North Carolina regions will receive technical assistance and coaching to boost key industries in their communities, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The project is a collaboration of key leaders from the Governor’s Office, the North Carolina Community College System, the NC Department of Commerce, EDPNC, the NCWorks Commission, and the North Carolina Association of Workforce Development Boards to launch sector partnerships in North Carolina. Once launched, these partnerships will promote a coordinated strategy among workforce, economic development, and education organizations to meet businesses’ needs.

“The strength of North Carolina’s economy depends on creating the right environment for businesses to grow and thrive and help people get job training,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “I’m excited about building a new kind of regional partnership to meet the workforce needs of businesses that create jobs.”

Next Generation Sector Partnerships are collaborations of businesses from the same industry and labor market that work with education, workforce development, economic development and other community organizations to address workforce and other competitive needs of their industry. The “Next Gen” model puts businesses at the center of this collaboration and allows government and organizations to listen and learn how to support businesses more successfully.

In May, community college, workforce and economic development practitioners from across the state took part in an introductory webinar on Next Generation Sector Partnerships to learn about the model. Regional teams then submitted applications demonstrating a commitment to the Next Generation Sector Partnership approach and a strong team of regional partners.

The following regional teams were selected to receive support in launching sector partnerships:       

Region Lead Applicant Industry
Northern Piedmont (Person and Durham counties, and surrounding area) Person County Advanced Manufacturing
North Central (Chatham, Lee, Harnett, and Johnston counties, and surrounding area) Central Carolina Community College Biopharma
Western (Avery, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford, and Yancey counties, and surrounding area) Mayland Community College Advanced Manufacturing

Teams will attend two-day intensive training to learn the disciplined step-by-step process of launching and sustaining a successful Next Gen Sector Partnership, as well as ongoing coaching and technical assistance from state leaders and Next Gen Sector Partnership experts for up to nine months.

NC Community College System President Peter Hans added, “We are excited our Community Colleges are represented in each of these regional teams. Working with other workforce development partners, our colleges are eager to learn from the Next Gen Sector Partnership model and replicate best practices from Murphy to Manteo.”

A pilot healthcare partnership in Cumberland County has shown strong results. The partnership, led by private industry sector leaders Mike Nagowski, CEO of Cape Fear Valley Health, and Dr. Sammy Choi, Director of the Department of Research at Womack Army Research Center, is supported by a team of public partners including community colleges and the workforce development board.  So far, the team has acted on needs identified by businesses to implement an evidence-based obesity prevention program in schools, assess critical healthcare professions in the county and align work-based learning and training opportunities to help fill those positions, and identify alternative sites for non-emergency care to alleviate demand on emergency rooms in the area.

Employer leadership is a key principle of NC Job Ready, Governor Cooper’s workforce development initiative to ensure North Carolinians are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Sector partnerships put employers in the driver’s seat, encouraging government and organizations to listen, learn, and collaborate to create solutions for businesses’ challenges.

North Carolina now joins 14 other states in launching Next Gen Sector Partnerships. To learn more, visit the Next Generation Sector Partnership website.


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