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Facts That Matter Blog

At the ncIMPACT Initiative, we ground our research in the challenges faced by North Carolina’s state and local leaders and their communities. Through compelling story telling, the Facts That Matter blog shares data and evidence about collaborative problem solving efforts that chart a path forward in communities across the state. We share these stories for the benefit of other communities in pursuit of our mission to improve the lives of North Carolinians.






March 4, 2021

Youth Suicide Prevention (Blog)

In 2006, the suicide rate for children and youth in Watauga County was thirty percent higher than for the state of North Carolina. To address mental health concerns for students, Watauga High School partnered with Appalachian State University to establish High Country Help.

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February 26, 2021

Improving Community and Police Relations (Blog)

The issue of community and police relations acquired a great deal of public attention in recent years. In 2017, Mayor Sammy Phillips of Jacksonville, NC launched the “One City, Our City, My City” campaign to promote respect, caring, and collaboration among the community. The Jacksonville Police Department adjusted their training and review procedures around use of force incidents and decreased their use of force numbers from 103 instances in 2012 to 23 instances in 2018.

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February 19, 2021

Economic Impact of Historic Preservation (Blog)

Historically a mill town, the decline of the textile industry resulted in economic and job loss for Rocky Mount. The city and private investors engaged in adaptive reuse, which means using buildings in creative new ways beyond the intended original purpose of the building (especially when the original purpose is obsolete), to strengthen the local economy.

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February 11, 2021

Access to Healthcare and Improving Health Outcomes (Blog)

The Highland community in Gaston County, a primarily African American neighborhood, struggled with a lack of access to affordable, healthy foods and healthcare. The Highland residents formed the Highland Neighborhood Association and the Healthier Highland initiative, which enables them to form additional partnerships and empowers them to drive change based on their needs.

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February 9, 2021

Workforce Credentials That Increase Employability and Wages (Blog)

Employers need a skilled workforce, but the workforce is not always equipped for the jobs available, resulting in a skills gap. The North Carolina Manufacturing Institute (NCMI) seeks to solve the skills gap in Rowan, Cabarrus, and Iredell Counties by training students and helping to connect them with local manufacturing employers.

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January 29, 2021

Water Infrastructure Challenges (Blog)

Water systems require extensive infrastructure, which is highly capital-intensive to build and maintain. Regional utilities are able to leverage economies of scale, drawing from a larger population (and therefore revenue pool) to support capital-intensive water systems.

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January 28, 2021

Collaboration in the Face of Crisis: The Keys to Economic Recovery from COVID-19

The project team outlined two major, interconnected issues facing communities during the COVID-19 pandemic: hospitality employment and parents departing the workforce. The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit industries given business closures, reduced capacity, and low consumer confidence. Hospitality employment plummeted in April 2020 and has yet to recover. In North Carolina, September 2020 sector employment was still about 20% lower than September 2019. Underlying this issue is the struggle to reopen businesses safely and improve consumer confidence.

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January 25, 2021

Rural Coworking Spaces – Wilson County (Blog)

Coworking spaces are popular in metropolitan areas but can also serve as a solution to many challenges that entrepreneurs may face in a rural area. Wilson is one such rural community with a solution—a coworking space called the Gig East Exchange.

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January 20, 2021

Shifting Manufacturing to PPE Production – Alexander, Burke, Catawba, and Mecklenburg Counties (Blog)

The spike in demand for PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shortage, leaving many healthcare workers and other front-line workers at risk. In response, the Carolina Textile District, a regional manufacturer’s network, shifted their production to PPE.

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January 13, 2021

Tax Preparation and the Earned Income Tax Credit in Rural America

 Only about 80% of eligible individuals nationally claim the EITC, and folks living in rural areas are less likely to do so than those in urban areas. Given its importance to impoverished communities, the ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government is working on a Rural EITC Uptake Project with Rural Forward NC, the UNC School of Social Work’s Jordan Institute for Families, and the NC Justice Center. This ongoing project is taking place in Beaufort, Edgecombe, Halifax, McDowell, Nash, Robeson, and Rockingham counties and is working to both understand the number of eligible individuals claiming the credit and reasons that the credit may go unclaimed.

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