Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

Awake58: Amazon invests in retraining

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

Amazon Invests in Retraining

Welcome back to Awake58! We have spent the last two weeks reviewing what you all told us we could do to improve. If you like this newsletter, I would love it if you would share the link to subscribe on social media. 

The budget standoff continues in Raleigh, stay tuned… We highlight key stories from Tennessee’s work on educational attainment… myFutureNC is hiring an executive director… Amazon is making a significant investment in retraining its workforce…

I am writing this email in the air as I fly home from Minneapolis and Chicago. Over the past few days I have been spending time with journalists and technologists from across the world discussing how we can do our work better. I walked away with many lessons, but a key one is that news organizations like EdNC must do a better job of listening to you.

I’ve dug in on our recent user research, and it shows that you want to know more about job postings, leadership transitions, new hires, and new programs. I will work to weave those in. If you have job news or postings you wish to share with me, send them my way.

More than half of you enthusiastically said you would share Awake58 with a colleague or friend. I appreciate that. If you said you would share Awake58, I would love to know why — and I would love for you to do so! If you said you would not share Awake58 with others, I would love to know why. I am constantly seeking to improve our work and your constructive criticism is a big piece of doing so.

The big story to come from Raleigh in the weeks ahead will likely be the continued budget standoff. My colleagues will be covering every angle of this important story.

Another big story I am thinking a lot about this week is the news that Amazon will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in retraining a third of their workforce.  When Amazon made the announcement, they pointed to automation, machine learning, and other forces changing the way their employees do their jobs.

Finally, in job news, the myFutureNC Commission is hiring an executive director. Check out the job listing by clicking here.

Thank you for reading,



EdNC Reads

Early college reprieve for some, but not all

One of the hot topics in June was a provision in the Senate budget that would cut supplemental funding for early colleges,  but it appears that provision is dead. Even that may not be enough to save the Marine Science and Technology Early College High School in Carteret County.

Meeting community college students’ basic needs

“Our work in education is based on the fact that education is the number one predictor of social and economic mobility,” Sarah Crawford, the National Educational Director of Single Stop, declared.

Leandro and myFutureNC commission members talk goals, implementation at Bridge

The Governor’s Commission on Access to Sound Basic Education and the myFutureNC Commission were both featured at Bridge. For those who have been asking about what is next for each effort, this piece is for you.

Statewide leaders discuss readiness and attainment at Bridge

One key quote: “Too many of our students are coming to us unprepared and we spend 13 years with them playing catch up, and that’s not a winning formula.”

Louisiana and Tennessee education leaders share reform strategies at Bridge

Tennessee has been held up as an example of business, government, and the education sector working together to increase educational attainment and build pathways for more of their students. Watch the video for the story of how they did just that.


Other Reads

These are the people struggling the most to pay back student loans

NPR is diving deep on student loans this week. According to their data than 45 million people owe collectively $1.6 trillion dollars and this piece looks at those who are struggling the most to pay the loans back. NPR also has a companion piece out looking at what might happen if government led student loan forgiveness happens.

Amazon to retrain a third of its U.S. workforce

Amazon will upskill 100,000 workers. This is a big move for the company given the scale, but others including Wal-Mart are making similar investments. The great debate for companies moving forward is whether they should retrain workers or massively reorganize their workforce through mass layoffs. For the workers in question, this is a critical debate around their future. I recommend this comprehensive Bloomberg piece for more on workers around the world attempting to adapt to the future of work.

OPINION: Community colleges deliver great value

John Hood writes, “But if we’re talking about labor-market returns, let’s make sure young people — and the not-so-young people who make education policy in North Carolina — don’t overlook the great potential of proximate, affordable community colleges.”

OPINION: Higher education must not leave working families behind

As more attention is paid to short-term workforce development and credentialing due to the economic threat of automation, I have wondered when the debate would expand to include a conversation around student aid. This perspective argues for expansion, while Inside Higher Ed also has a good summary of the policy debate around shifting financial aid models.


Around NC

Job posting: myFutureNC Executive Director

From the posting: “myFutureNC seeks a proven, passionate, transformational, entrepreneurial leader to implement the vision established by its founding board members and position the organization as a successful driver and convener of high impact work across the state.”

Event: NCWorks Partnership Conference

The NCWorks Partnership Conference is planned for October 23-25. Sessions include a deep dive on workforce development efforts, connecting talent to jobs, and leadership.


Sign up for more education news!

Sign-up for our other EdNC newsletters and become more informed about North Carolina and beyond. Our goal is to engage and connect you to your state.

Monday through Friday, we send out essential content, links, and information for everyone who cares about education in North Carolina. Sign-up for the Daily Digest to receive it each morning.

For a weekly overview of education news across North Carolina, subscribe to EducationNC’s Weekly Wrapup.

Reach NC Voices was built with people at the core. We work to bring your voice into public policy debates across our state. Weigh in on weekly conversations about policy issues in North Carolina by joining Reach NC Voices.

Policy research, trends, and analysis matters. If you agree you might like the Center’s weekly policy email, Friday@Five. You can subscribe here.

Would you like to know more about  STEM education in North Carolina? Subscribe to our monthly STEM newsletter, EdNC STEM.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.