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Made in ENC, Collaborations on Talent and Economic Development

One of the significant issues plaguing rural communities in the U.S. is the ongoing brain drain of young people and skilled professionals from rural areas to urban areas, resulting in a loss of talent and economic potential. East Carolina University (ECU) has stepped up with several strategies to retain talented young adults who are excited to stay and contribute to rural communities in eastern North Carolina. RISE29 is one of ECU’s most innovative programs, where undergraduate students develop entrepreneurial skills within a supportive setting. ECU then uses its strong connections with regional industries to bolster the strength of businesses in the area by offering free student support.

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Workforce Education

Talent drives economic success in the 21st century like no other time in the state’s history. Thus, state and local policymakers embrace talent or workforce development as an important component of economic development strategy. Their approaches to talent and workforce development are expanding to meet the new economic realities faced by the state and its residents.

The ncIMPACT Initiative advises communities and state agencies on strategies for building a talent pipeline – including Pre-Kindergarten, primary and secondary education, college, and credentials that strengthen local and regional workforces. Research shows clear benefits from North Carolina’s high-quality pre-K program, but only about half of eligible children are able to enroll due to insufficient funding. Our Data Deep Dive on Expanding Access to Pre-K offered strategies to address this challenge. In recent years the state experienced a tight labor market, so our Data Deep Dive on Expanding the Workforce explored ways to increase labor force participation and support more residents in completing desired credentials. Finally, the Bright Spots Case Studies on Workforce & Education Innovations highlight community collaboratives working together to increase educational attainment and strengthen the workforce so that other communities may learn from their experiences.


Data Snapshots

Primary Care Physicians Ratios

Opportunity Youth Rates