MyFutureNC, a new nonprofit focused on increasing the number of North Carolinians with post-secondary degrees by two million by 2030, held an event in Greensboro today. Attendees enjoyed rousing music by the Guilford College and Greensboro College Jazz Ensembles and the A&T University Drumline and heard from a series of panelists and speakers, including:
- Kevin Austin, President, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners; County Commissioner, Yadkin County
- Senator Deanna Ballard, Senate District 45, North Carolina General Assembly
- Jackson Barnes, Student, High Point University
- Walter Dalton, President, Isothermal Community College; President, North Carolina Association of Community College Presidents
- Peter Hans, President, North Carolina Community College System
- Cecilia Holden, President & CEO, myFutureNC
- Dr. Tony Jackson, Superintendent, Vance County Public Schools; 2020 A. Craig Phillips North Carolina Superintendent of the Year
- Dr. Andrew Kelly, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Policy, UNC System
- Stan Kelly, CEO & President Piedmont Triad Partnership & Trustee for North Carolina State University
- Ursula Dudley Oglesby, President, Dudley Beauty Corp
- MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair, John M. Belk Endowment & myFutureNC Board Member
- Dr. Nido Qubein, President, High Point University
Attendees also had county-based tabletop discussions, facilitated by NC community college presidents, around questions like “What support will individual communities, campuses, counties or regions need to boost attainment?”
MyFutureNC was founded to implement a PreK-to-workforce action plan co-created by cross-sector, cross-system stakeholders over the last three years. The action plan includes four focus areas:
- Preparation for education, career and life
- Access to lifelong educational opportunities
- Comprehensive support systems
- Education and workforce alignment
There are strategies in the action plan to build a stronger early learning system, based on the Pathways to Grade-Level Reading Action Framework — read more about that here.
The program and panel today were short on detail and little to no mention was made of early learning. MyFutureNC has chosen to focus at the “end” of the educational continuum (post-secondary education and workforce) for its first wave of work; however, there are still important connections to the early education system to be made. For example, NC can think about strategies to build a strong pipeline of early educators in North Carolina through the community college and university systems.
Ensuring that more preschoolers have access to high quality early education programs like NC Pre-K, Head Start, and child care subsidies — as well as needed health and family supports — will set our youngest North Carolinians up for success in school, and help meet the state’s post-secondary attainment goals.