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Awake58: A call for a reskilling revolution

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

A call for reskilling revolution

Legislation offering changes to RDS has been taken up by committee… Longitudinal data systems were discussed by the Governor’s Education Cabinet last week, along with myFutureNC… An interesting tool from the Century Foundation allows you to explore how much postsecondary institutions are spending on actual instruction…

I enjoyed our series on short-term workforce development, and I hope you did too. We have been fortunate to see many of these programs in recent months, and some of my colleagues are out across the state exploring more of the programs this week. These programs have fascinated us as the country debates the future impacts of automation. One article spotlighted this week showcases the data around the projected need for reskilling and upskilling.

Short-term workforce development has been interesting to me for several years now. In the fall of 2012, my wife Jamie and I worked with the Research Triangle Park Foundation to launch a statewide tour of community colleges and other postsecondary institutions. We visited more than a dozen community college programs, and we worked with RTP to lift up those stories to the state.

I share this story with you this week because Wednesday marks six years since my wife passed away. The big statewide tour with RTP would be our last work project together, and it remains one of my favorite memories. I can recall the crisp fall weather as we visited the Manufacturing Solutions Center and Catawba Valley Community College – a homecoming of sorts as family friends met us at Caldwell Community College and for BBQ after – and the energy of the staff at Randolph Community College. As I remember my wife this week, I am reminded of how much she loved our state.

I wrote about our journey together as we kicked off our EdNC tour last fall. I would appreciate you taking the time to read the piece.

Thank you to everyone who shared Awake58 with your friends last week! I appreciate you spreading the word. If you haven’t had a chance to share this newsletter with those who you think might appreciate it, please do so today.

We are going to keep our giveaway going! As I mentioned last week, we will pick the top five referrers to get an Amazon gift card from us at random — and give you a shout out in the newsletter.

Thank you for reading. Let me know if you have any thoughts on how the newsletter can improve simply by responding to this email.



EdNC Reads

Senate education committee tackles Read to Achieve, testing

A legislative update for those wondering what is going on with the Residency Determination Service and proposed changes: “The committee also took up a bill that would allow graduation from a North Carolina high school to be used as evidence of in-state residence for the purposes of getting in-state tuition to community colleges and universities.”

Governor’s Education Cabinet discusses longitudinal data systems

Worth your time if you are wondering about the work being done in NC around data: “Longitudinal data systems allow stakeholders to answer policy questions like: What industries employ the most high school and college graduates? Are ACT scores correlated to workforce salaries? Which students from which schools need remediation classes in higher education? Is participation in NC Pre-K correlated to postsecondary attainment?”

The state championship, robotics style

A fun piece from my colleague Yasmin on another kind of statewide competition — this time with robots.

Developing NC’s Workforce

In case you missed our series on short-term workforce development, check out the archives. We used video to profile several programs from across the state ranging from truck driving to wine making.

Learning Differences

Rupen Fofaria explored learning differences last week. According to studies, roughly 1 in 5 students in America have learning differences and are prone to academic, emotional, and social struggles as a result. The whole series is worth your time.


Other Reads

Your college financial aid offer letter

This is an interactive tool designed to help parents and students figure out what exactly the terms in the financial aid offer letter mean. The tool is cool, but the fact that it has to exist shows just how complex the process can be.

How far does your tuition dollar go?

This tool from The Century Foundation shows how much institutions of higher education spend on faculty and the resources required to teach students. It is an interesting way to compare many of your colleges with others from around the country.

Blue-collar jobs like plumbing pay $90,000 without a college degree, and it’s driving more workers to trade school

Plumbers in Atlanta are making as much as $90,000, and it is raising eyebrows across the country. Business Insider explores the increase in buzz for short-term workforce development and customized training programs. We covered some examples of this trend in NC last week.

We need a reskilling revolution. Here’s how to make it happen

As automation and other technologies advance, the need to reskill/upskill workers grows. This piece examines how few are receiving the benefit and discusses how the process can be improved.

Help us grow Awake58 by telling your friends.



EducationNC ( believes a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you have any questions about our mission and vision, feel free to email me.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.