Over 150 attendees from across the state came together for the Convening of Superintendents and Community College Presidents on Friday, March 4, to share best practices and future concerns for the students of North Carolina. The convening, which took place in Greensboro, focused on changing labor market needs and innovative practices for engaging students and communities in workforce development.
The day began with welcoming remarks from Dr. Tony Jackson, superintendent of Chatham County Schools and president of the North Carolina School Superintendents’ Association (NCSSA), as well as from state Superintendent Catherine Truitt; Dr. Mark Poarch, president of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and president of the North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents (NCACCP); and Thomas Stith, president of the North Carolina Community College System.
After these remarks, attendees heard a keynote presentation on the latest labor market data from Ron Hetrick, senior labor economist and vice president of staffing strategy at Emsi Burning Glass, a labor market analytics firm. Hetrick noted an alarming shortage of low-skill workers and urged employers to not only become more directly involved in workforce recruitment, but to also focus on hiring from “untapped talent pools,” such as post-retirees and ex-offenders.
Other presentations highlighted joint efforts between community colleges and school systems to create more youth engagement in communities, advance 2+2 partnerships, utilize statewide longitudinal data systems, and offer more paid apprenticeships for students. The convening was brought to a close with uplifting remarks from MC Belk Pilon, president and board chair of the John M. Belk Endowment.
Jackson, NCSSA president, said the convening was “an amazing opportunity for thought partnership and collaboration between local superintendents and their respective community college leaders.” Dr. Jackson continued, “Discussions during this meeting will ensure the development of seamless opportunities for students in every corner of the state.”