First in Future: Where Emerging Ideas Take Flight
Summary: In every emerging issue lies an opportunity. The Institute for Emerging Issues is here to find North Carolina's opportunities. You can help.
Many people in NC think we've forgotten how to talk to each other. That's why the Institute for Emerging Issues is taking part in the Civic Conversations Project with Leadership North Carolina. We're encouraging people from across the state to talk about issues that divide them and get beyond the rhetoric. This week on First in Future, we talk to two people who have just participated in civic conversation—Mat Dull, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Appalachian State, and Ged Moody, active entrepreneur, and we hear their thoughts on the conversation.
In the old days, getting a master’s degree or a PhD meant you’d likely go into academia. The focus was to get students ready for research and teaching higher education. But as competition for academic jobs has increased, students need to look elsewhere for jobs. Enter the Accelerate to Industry program, or A2i, at NC State University’s Graduate School. This week on First in Future, the Assistant Dean for Professional Development Laura Demarse tells us about how this unique program is giving grad students the skills they need to land a job.
Dr. Pat Mitchell has spent her career thinking about how to make NC a better state. She has been an economic developer, a county manager, head of rural development for the state, and a university professor. She’s currently the president of the NC Economic Development Association. What does she see as critical to the future of economic development in NC? The younger generation and thinking beyond county lines. This week on First in Future, we’ll learn from Dr. Mitchell about the importance of rural development and blending classroom learning with hands-on practice.
How can you get a degree without going into debt, get paid while you learn, and end up with a high-skilled job? In North Carolina, you could get an apprenticeship in health care, manufacturing, construction, IT, energy, and more. This week’s First in Future guest Kathryn Castelloes, Director of ApprenticeshipNC in the state community college system, talks about why this idea has so much potential.
In today’s job market, there’s a gap between the number of available jobs and the number of employees with skills for those jobs. It’s what employers call a “skills gap” – and there’s an organization in North Carolina working on bridging that gap. The Capital Area Workforce Development Board helps connect people to training and education so they can get jobs that become careers. Pat Sturdivant is not only the head of this board—she’s also president of the state association of workforce boards. In this week’s episode of First in Future, Pat talks about how workforce boards create a pool of qualified candidates for North Carolina’s growing industries.
Which is better – a fence at the top of a cliff or an ambulance in the valley below? Our world today seems to invest more in reactive solutions (ambulances) than it does in preventative ones (fences). But that’s starting to change. In southeastern NC, District Attorney Ben David is focused on stopping crime before it begins. The Prosecutorial District office for New Hanover and Pender counties works with the larger community to create pathways for people so they don’t turn to crime. The office helps prevent dropouts, provides food for kids during the summer and helps people with criminal records find jobs. In this week’s episode, Ben talks about the root causes of crime and how we can provide opportunities for everyone to succeed.
To celebrate the Fourth of July, First in Future brings you a special conversation with an American history scholar. Dr. Craig Friend is an NC State Professor of Public History, specializing in the Revolutionary War period. He first caught the bicentennial bug growing up near Kings Mountain, NC, the site of the first major patriot victory after the British invasion of Charleston. In this week's episode, Dr. Friend gives us some perspective on the Declaration of Independence, what it meant to the colonists and soldiers, what women and slaves would have thought about the phrase “all men are created equal,” and how the holiday has evolved over time.
Think about these five guiding leadership principles: family first, health impact, people and culture, learning, and joy in work, that is what this week's First in Future guest, Dr. Patrick Conway, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina strives towards. He recently had a conversation with a 75 year old woman, who appreciated BCBS for being with her through the high and low points of her entire life. It reminded him that health care has a lasting effect on the lives of all North Carolinians. In the conversation we had with him, we talked about opioid addiction prevention, affordable housing, food insecurity and why some health care companies are building trails and investing in free gym memberships. Dr. Conway is also launching a plan to prevent and cure diabetes. If he gets it right, it could make a difference in the lives of more than 10,000 people.
One of the most exciting public policy projects going on in North Carolina is the report of the My Future NC Commission. It is a report setting an “attainment goal” for our state of how many people we think we need to have at what level of education if our state is going to be successful. The dramatic increase in our attainment rate goal is not going to just happen, but will take our 58 community college organizations across the state that are within easy reach of just about everybody. This week’s First in Future guest Audrey Jaeger, the head of the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at NC State, talks about how the community college presidents are able to listen carefully to the specific needs of their communities and form the real partnerships to make a difference. She works with their leaders daily on how they will help NC achieve the attainment goal from the report of reaching 67% of the adult population equipped with more than a high school degree in the next 10 years.
In 2016, the Institute for Emerging Issues looked at the future economy and tried to figure out the kinds and numbers of jobs that were likely to go away over the next 20 years in every corner of the state and the answer appears to be 25% overall. That is one in every four jobs in North Carolina that is likely to disappear by 2040, as technology and artificial intelligence replaces the jobs humans used to be able to do. As IEI noted in our FurtureWork report, that means the way we educate people is going to need to change if they are going to find the next set of jobs. That is why we are talking to this week’s First in Future guest, Dan Gonzalez, the co-founder of District C. It is a new education-focused startup that focuses on helping high school students, our future workforce, discover how to work together on diverse teams to solve complex problems for businesses in the Triangle. Rather than teach students how to do better on getting a single answer on a test, he tries to equip them for the world of problems where there is no obvious answer. Those are the kinds of problems humans, working in teams, may be uniquely qualified to solve.
State of NC community college presidents met recently to work through some of the details of what community colleges could do to help address a huge challenge of meeting the needs of employers between now and 2030. North Carolina is going to need 2 million more people with some sort of education that is more than just a high school degree. It could be a four year degree or a two year degree. If we do nothing, we are going to come up 700,000 people short, so a lot of people are looking for ways to build a pipeline of young folks to meet some of that need. This week’s First in Future guest, Peter Hans, president of the State of NC Community College System knows with absolute certainty that the community colleges will play a critical role with their continuing education and curriculum programs to help address this employment education need and other challenges. The Institute for Emerging Issues is going to be looking at what we can do to help more adults get that additional level of education at our next Emerging Issues Forum, coming up October 15 in Charlotte. IEI is looking for inspirational examples from employers, support organizations and educational entities who are getting our adult workers the credentials they need in time to get ready for their next job.
Research shows that more than half of us don’t seek out people whose views are different from ours and we are nearly four times as likely to ignore information that doesn’t support our pre-existing views. If we want better solutions to public policy challenges we face, we would consciously seek out people whose views are different than are own. The Institute for Emerging Issues is launching a project called “Civic Conversations” where we are trying to change that conversation issue. Last week on First in Future, we talked about one part of the project, a call for communities across the state to convene conversations where they bring together people across lines of race or class or political party to try to get new ideas about big problems facing their communities. This week First in Future wanted to tell you about another part of the project, one that is bringing together state political leaders from across the state. On this week’s episode we highlight a past interview with Republican State Senator Danny Earl Britt and Democratic Senator Jay Chaudhuri, in which they talked about how they have learned to have civil conversations with each other, take each other seriously, treat each other as human beings, and are starting to learn something from each other. For more information on our Civic Conversations effort, please go to our website, emergingissues.org.
Last year we talked with Pearce Godwin, a North Carolina native who had an experience on a bus ride in Uganda that changed his life forever. He started a national effort called Listen First designed to bring people who disagree with each other into conversation with each other. As the Institute for Emerging Issues continues its efforts to “reconnect NC,” we are launching a statewide effort called Civic Conversations. After listening to this week’s “throwback” episode with Pearce, we hope you’ll be inspired to go to our website at emergingissues.org/civic-conversations and commit to hosting a civic conversation of your own.
The growing economy is causing business challenges across the state as communities scramble to attract talented people from other places to work there, and to make sure the people who grow up there have the skills they need to do the work that needs to be done. The Statesville Chamber of Commerce surveyed its members last year and the members told them the same thing a lot of businesses all across the state are saying, please help us find great employees. Chambers, like any organization, need to grow and adapt in a digital age, but this week’s First in Future guest, Statesville Chamber of Commerce president Shannon Viera, says that what shouldn’t change is their efforts to bring people together for the kind of face to face, spontaneous conversations and discoveries that you wouldn’t get if you just interacted digitally or online.
The years since 2000 have been particularly challenging for Christian churches in the US, the Presbyterian church has lost more than 1 million members, the Episcopal Church is down about 400,000. The Disciples of Christ are down about 280,000, and in a single year the United Methodist Church lost 116,000 members, that is the equivalent of losing a 300 member church every day. In rural areas, the challenges are even bigger, as populations get older and many areas lose population, some churches have to figure out either how to how to pay the bills with fewer members or whether they should shut down. For the past four years, the Institute for Emerging Issues has been working with The Duke Endowment as part of a big project they have underway. Our part is called Rural Faith Communities as Anchor Institutions, and it focuses on how churches can take a look at the challenges their communities face, and come to the community table to help. In some places these institutions are the most important and enduring assets a community has. Leading the effort for the Institute for Emerging Issues is this week’s First in Future guest, Kylie Foley, the Rural Faith Communities Program Manager. As you’ll hear, she is focused and passionate about the possibilities, enough so that she moved here from South Florida to join the effort.