© 2024 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NC must do more to help young adults earn college diplomas or credentials, group says

Students Diana-Keziah Ebob (left screen) and Mahir Sadimbi connect remotely from their high schools to talk with Cabarrus Virtual Academy Principal Ashley Short (left) and Spark lab leader Nina Darnell about their "teamship" experience.
Ann Doss Helms
Students and faculty at Cabarrus Virtual Academy take part in SparkNC, a program to put high school students on the path to earn industry credentials.

North Carolina will fall short of goals for a skilled workforce in 2030 if the state doesn’t do more to help young adults complete college or earn industry credentials, an advocacy group said Thursday.

Five years ago a group of business, government, education and philanthropic leaders created myFutureNC to address concerns that North Carolina employers couldn’t find skilled workers, while many high school graduates — especially Black, Latino and Native Americans — lacked the post-secondary credentials needed to get high-paying jobs. The group set a goal of having two million young adults with college diplomas or industry credentials by 2030.

The 2024 annual report says at the current pace the state will fall short by more than 70,000 students. Its recommendations include:

  • Spending more for programs like Finish Line Grants that help college students cover emergency costs that could derail them before they graduate.
  • Providing more financial aid for young adults who are pursuing industry credentials but not a degree.
  • Supporting local and regional collaborations
  • Increasing support for high-quality prekindergarten, especially as federal COVID-19 aid runs out.

MyFutureNC held regional meetings at eight locations around the state Thursday, including one at Central Piedmont Community College’s Harris campus, to discuss the latest data and recommendations.

Sign up for our Education Newsletter

Select Your Email Format

Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.