Future Focused, Career Ready

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The workforce is rapidly evolving. More jobs than ever before require post-secondary education and durable skills like strong communication and leadership. Add to that, North Carolina is a leading state for business expansion. Our students are our greatest hope for building strong communities and a talent pipeline for a vibrant North Carolina, but they need to be well-prepared to compete for high-wage, high-demand careers.  

That’s why we are reframing what a K-12 education is all about. It is not enough to simply cross the graduation stage; students need to be prepared to pursue the post-secondary plans of their choice. That’s why Superintendent Catherine Truitt is deeming 2022 the Year of the Workforce.  

We cannot wait, the future of workforce is here and now.

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Goal 1: Prepare our future workforce with the skills and experiences required to be successful, productive citizens, providing a robust talent pipeline that powers the State’s economic development efforts.  

Goal 2: Ensure that all students have access to post-secondary pathways that align with growing, high wage careers and meet local, regional, and/or statewide industry demand for talent.

Goal 3: Assist all students and parents in making informed plans and decisions about future education and career opportunities.

Goal 4: Ensure that all students engage in career exploration and real-world learning activities throughout their K-12 journey.

Based on feedback received from the field in early 2022, DPI developed the assets below as part of a Workforce Toolkit to help students and families learn more about career pathways available during their educational journey. We hope the resources below will help students begin exploring, engaging, and experiencing career opportunities early during their K-12 experience.

  • NCCareers.org - The comprehensive career portal created for students, families, job seekers and those in career transition. Find interest inventories, activities, NC Commerce STAR jobs, and align education to earnings. Take advantage of the NCFC single sign-on for high school students!
  • Star Jobs - Features Jobs, salaries, and required educational attainment for occupations that are growing in North Carolina. View STAR jobs chart here.
  • NC TOWER - NC TOWER provides aggregate information on students who attended public universities and community colleges in North Carolina. These data include programs of study, degrees attained, further enrollment, and wage and employment information.
  • NC Employment Projections (2018-2028) - An estimate of the future demand for workers based on historical employment data and various economic factors. High growth occupations include computer and mathematical, healthcare support, personal care and service, and construction and extraction.
  • LEAD Analytics Dashboard - Presented by the NC Department of Commerce, Labor & Economic Analysis Division (LEAD), this dashboard includes various labor market overviews, labor supply and demand, employment projects and more.
  • The Demographic Drought - An Emsi Report outlining the coming shifts and how they will “transform the labor market for the rest of our lives.” 2021 Emsi, Moscow, ID. All rights reserved.

North Carolina offers multiple pathways to jumpstart a student’s career journey and/or earn college credit while in high school, which helps to reduce the cost of post-secondary education. Click on the links below to learn about programs that are available RIGHT NOW. More than 200,000 students are enrolled in Career and College Promise programs and CTE courses, why not you?

  • College and Career Promise (CCP) - CCP is North Carolina’s dual enrollment program for high school students. This program allows eligible NC high school students to enroll in college classes at North Carolina community colleges and universities through their high school. 
  • Cooperative Innovative High Schools / Early Colleges - CIHS are small rigorous public high schools often located on a community college or university campus, geared towards post-secondary credit attainment while a student is in high school. Often, students can graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in 5 years, at no cost to the student or their family. 
  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) - CTE classes are experiential and career based, allowing students to explore a range of options for their future both inside and outside of the classroom. CTE offers career pathways aligned to 16 career clusters that are supported by student lead career and technical organizations (CTSOs). 
  • Summer Career Accelerator - The Summer Career Accelerator funds high-quality, evidence-based learning and workforce aligned summer programs for students deemed “at-risk” or those the PSU identify as having been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • NC Virtual Public Schools (NCVPS) - NCVPS provides students online courses in many subject areas including CTE, mathematics, science, English language arts, social studies, arts, advanced placement, honors, and world languages. Other courses include test preparation, credit recovery, and Occupational Course of Study (OCS).
  • NC Tech Credentials - In partnership with the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and their Career Launch Initiative, NCDPI is pleased to offer students the opportunity to earn industry-recognized technology certifications and credentials from companies like Cisco, Google, Apple, IBM, RedHat, Dell, Microsoft and many more. The attainment of an industry-recognized certification or credential helps students build valuable skills to enter the workforce directly or to compliment post-secondary education. These credentials are self-paced and open to every North Carolina student.

Many governmental agencies and non-profit organizations collaborate to help students, job seekers and employers find resources and talent. The organizations listed below contributed to the formation of the Superintendent’s Workforce Goals. Click on the links to learn more about the work of each organization: employment data, educational attainment goals, economic development, work-based learning opportunities and higher education.