Durham’s work-based learning continuum featured at regional workforce event

March 8, 2018
Made in Durham’s Jacob Dolan and Durham Public Schools’ Ondrea Austin speak at Triangle Regional Careers Pathways Collaborative annual meeting.

Durham’s plan to create a continuum of activities that lead all young people to careers took center stage March 7 at an annual convening of regional workforce development experts.

The Triangle Regional Careers Pathways Collaborative annual meeting “Engage. Energize. Act!” featured a panel discussion with Made in Durham employer engagement strategist Jacob Dolan and Ondrea Austin, lead workforce and career development coordinator for Durham Public Schools Career and Technical Education.

The two outlined plans for a continuum of work-based learning opportunities under development by Made in Durham partners that will help Durham’s young people prepare for career success and build a stronger local talent pipeline.

Other panels focused on best practices in information technology, mechatronics and nurse’s aid workforce development.

“It’s a red-hot economy,” said Andre Pettigrew, director of the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, in welcome remarks. “In Durham, our biggest challenges in the face of rapid growth and development is the challenge of developing the skill sets of our unemployed and underemployed individuals. We’re paying a lot of attention to that.”

Made in Durham is part of the regional workforce collaborative of three workforce boards, five community colleges, 10 public school districts, and numerous community and industry partners. The collaborative convenes partners annually to share best practices and report on progress developing career pathways that connect talent and employers.

Keynote speaker Adrienne Cole, CEO and President of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, said the region continues to offer career opportunities in fast-growing information technology, life sciences, clean tech and smart grid, with advanced manufacturing evolving.

The collaborative has developed career pathways, certified by the state’s NCWorks workforce program, for information technology, life sciences and advanced manufacturing. A fourth in construction trades is under development. The pathways outline education-to-career offerings across the region that can help individuals prepare for, enter and grow in those careers.

“We have a history of collaboration here that is really, really special,” Cole said. “A regional approach to workforce development is key.”


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