Emerging Issues Forum focuses on workforce solutions

February 10, 2016

More than 1,000 participants from business, government, education and the nonprofit sector convened Feb. 8-9 for the 31st Annual Emerging Issues Forum, FutureWork, focused on mapping a practical plan to win the global battle for good future jobs.

“The diverse perspectives of participants converged around a clear sense of urgency: the time for all of us to go to work on ensuring a successful jobs future is right now,” said Anita R. Brown-Graham, director of the Institute for Emerging Issues.

FutureWork participants set the following priorities for North Carolina’s best options to prepare future workers and drive job creation:

  • Develop a comprehensive plan to increase education system equity, so every person, irrespective of where they live in the state, is able to gain emerging skills and talents.
  • Greatly expand the availability of project-based learning opportunities to help students better connect learning to real-world applications.
  • Turn the challenges of technology into an opportunity by launching a robust, statewide “Enhanced Career Pathways” public-private initiative that helps individuals connect their interests and skills to work opportunities over the course of their lifetimes.

IEF2_3Participants also joined sector-focused “leadership hackathons” to apply those strategies to banking/finance, education, energy, healthcare, and government/smart communities. Each hackathon yielded strategic priorities tailored for the sector.

More than nine in 10 participants agreed the FutureWork conversation included the right mix of diverse perspectives; more than eight of 10 thought the forum landed on the right strategic priorities; and more than seven in 10 believed North Carolinians would work together to implement the priorities identified, Brown-Graham said.

The Institute plans a full slate of post-Forum efforts to move forward on the recommendations, including regional FutureWork sessions in all eight North Carolina prosperity zones.

“There’s no time to waste,” Brown-Graham said. “Many citizens, companies and communities in our state are already struggling with the two megatrends – accelerating automation and shifting demography – addressed during the Forum. The challenges will be significant, but not insurmountable. The 2016 FutureWork Forum proved the incredible passion and commitment of North Carolinians whenever big challenges loom.”

For more information, visit iei.ncsu.edu/futurework/

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