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Perspective | First in Future: Dean of Metropolitan College at Johnson C. Smith University, Laura Colson McLean

It’s Charlotte week! In honor of the Institute for Emerging Issues’ October 15 ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity Forum in Charlotte, the First in Future podcast takes a week-long sit-down with some of the Queen City’s thought leaders. Listen in every day this week for a thought-provoking conversation on the future of economic opportunity in North Carolina.


The best estimate of the myFutureNC Commission for the number of people in North Carolina who started college but then dropped out is 905,000. In many ways, they have the worst of both worlds: they’ve spent money on college and often had to take out loans, but they don’t have the benefit that comes with a degree.

Finding those folks and convincing them to come back to school again is a challenge that a lot of people are working on. You’ll hear about efforts at community colleges and public universities, but you might not have heard about the work of Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University. Our First in Future guest is Dr. Laura Colson McLean, Dean of JCSU Metropolitan College. She works very intentionally with working age adults to get them the skills and education they need to move to the next level in their careers.

Leslie Boney

Leslie Boney is the director of NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues.