Exclusionary discipline practices – including suspensions, expulsions, and referrals to the courts – negatively impact both students and their communities. Students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by these practices as they are more likely to be suspended, expelled, and referred to court. In North Carolina, school-based referrals make up about 40% of the referrals to the juvenile justice system. Most of these referrals are for minor, nonviolent offenses. In the 2016-2017 school year, 92% of school-based referrals were for misdemeanors.
Focus Area Group: Workforce Education
Employers need workers for high-skill jobs. Workers need training beyond a high school diploma to access those jobs. And state governments need a certifiably skilled workforce to meet their education goals, attract industry and contribute to their economies. Increased attainment of credentials with labor market value is a priority in NC’s education attainment action plan.
ncIMPACT Initiative Director Anita Brown-Graham explores related challenges and collaborative solutions with these expert panelists:
– Scott Ralls, President at Wake Tech
– Jeni Corn, Director of Strategic Initiatives at myFutureNC
– Wendy Walker-Fox, Workforce Development Director at Piedmont Triad Regional Council
GrowingChange makes a difference in the individual lives of participants, as well as in the community as a whole. Youth cohorts are much less likely to be incarcerated and more likely to attend a college or trade school after participating in the program. These include Terrence Smith, who says that after being involved with GrowingChange, he can “handle himself in pretty much any situation, is more mature” and can become a “solution in his community, rather than a statistic.” The program’s model of youth leadership, prized by founder Noran Sanford, is a best practice for developing adolescents’ executive function and encouraging pro-social skills.
Work in Burke, rather than working with a single company or industry, uses its collaborative partnerships to highlight the variety of jobs available in Burke County and how students can gain the skills they need to be successful. This program has been replicated in other places as a scalable solution in workforce development to connect education and employers.
Both Digital Charlotte and the CDIA are recognized as leaders in the nation for this work and can inform efforts in other communities. CDIA’s goal of digital inclusion touches on themes of racial, age, socioeconomic, and educational equity. Bruce Clark, the executive director of Digital Charlotte, says it can have a profound positive effect on individuals and families. “No child should have to go to the public library or buy a Coca-Cola at a restaurant in order to do their homework,” he says in an interview. Affordable internet access in the home and having a computer, rather than just a smartphone, are some of the key metrics by which the CDIA is measuring, and reducing, the digital divide in Charlotte.
Since teacher pay in North Carolina is generally based on years of experience, many monetary incentives for teacher recruitment and retention are not particularly effective or sustainable. Therefore, other types of incentives, like affordable housing guarantees, can be a tool for school systems that struggle with turnover and/or local housing affordability.
Thinking Big for Small People: Why Are NC County Leaders So Enthusiastic about Pre-K for Four Year Olds? On September 25, 2017, ncIMPACT hosted the first in a series of “data deep dives” on policy topics of interest to local leaders across North … Continued
North Carolina employers are eager to expand the pool of available and qualified potential employees, and workforce development agencies are seeking creative ways to bring more people into the workforce and assist them in efficiently acquiring needed skills. The … Continued
Local Education Innovation: STEM East (12 Counties) The STEM East Network is a collaborative focused on ensuring that students across a 12-county region in Eastern North Carolina have opportunities to engage in real-world science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning that directly … Continued
Local Education Innovation: Project SEARCH (Buncombe County) In Asheville, Mission Health Project SEARCH helps secure competitive employment for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities through postsecondary education and work-based learning. This international program began in 1996 as a small initiative … Continued