North Carolina’s Southeast (NCSE) is beginning work on a comprehensive workforce analysis to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce in the 11-county southeast region.
Part of NCSE’s mission is to build capacity within the region for advancing economic growth, including promoting a better trained and skilled workforce that can fully compete in the global economy.
“Globalization is driving competition in company locations, job skills, and technology, and a higher skilled workforce is a must for quality regional economic growth,” says Steve Yost, Director. “Many companies and industry sectors that now consider the region for locations have jobs that require greater skills and competencies. Additionally, the recent economic recession has resulted in the loss of jobs that won’t be coming back in the recovery and many of the new jobs that do develop will require more and different skills.”
New opportunities have arisen in the region, including the growth of defense related businesses and jobs in the Fort Bragg region; the growth of the traditional and renewable energy sectors; growth in food processing and agri-business; and the development of distribution and logistic companies that can utilize the region’s excellent transportation assets.
This project will be important in providing key information for economic development and workforce planning in the region. Most companies now rank the workforce of an area as one of the top three considerations in their criteria for locating a business or industry.
Regional Technology Strategies, Inc., has been hired to assist NCSE with the analysis. It is an experienced consultant in workforce development and regional industry clusters.
The analysis will look at skills levels within declining industry sectors that could potentially be transitioned to emerging industry sectors in the region. The study will also evaluate the current status of the manufacturing base in region, aligned on the ten year historic gain/loss in jobs, types of jobs and processes, and data reflecting future projections for the sector.
“The study will compare the present and future workforce needs to the current and future education and training capabilities of the workforce development system to identify gaps that need to be addressed,” says Jane Smith, Chairman of North Carolina’s Southeast.
This initiative will be a collaborative effort, with NCSE acting as the facilitator of the project. Other organizations and institutions that will be involved include the Career Technical Education programs for K-12 in the region, the community college workforce training programs, the NC Department of Commerce, the three regional state universities (Fayetteville State University, UNC-Pembroke, and UNC-Wilmington) and the five Workforce Investment Boards.
The study is being funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the North Carolina Workforce Commission, and North Carolina’s Southeast.
NCSE is one of the seven regional economic development partnerships in North Carolina and a member of the North Carolina Partnership for Economic Development. Since 1996, the Commission has worked to facilitate the arrival of 103 new companies to Southeastern North Carolina, along with 8,275 new jobs and $903,275,000 in capital investment.