The quality of our current and future workforce is increasingly seen as the most important factor in our region’s economic growth and vitality. Our thriving business community benefits from Western North Carolina’s intrepid workforce, but we know employers of every size are still facing challenges in finding talent and preparing for the future. That’s why the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the North Carolina Chamber Foundation, the Economic Development Partnership of NC, and the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, is launching a regional workforce analysis called the State of Our Workforce: Western NC.
The State of Our Workforce is a regional initiative with statewide outcomes. Launched first as a local study in the Triangle, today’s expanded program aims to help stakeholders like local businesses, educators, and community leaders better understand their workforce challenges through area-specific data. While the North Carolina Chamber Foundation will use the aggregate regional data to guide statewide decision-making, The State of Our Workforce: Western NC is solely focused on us.
The program starts with a survey to help identify our area’s unique workforce challenges. But unlike other studies, it doesn’t stop there. Results of the survey will be used to:
- Inform policymakers and stakeholders about the realities of workforce development in Western NC and across the state
- Improve both short- and long-term hiring needs
- Develop an effective cradle-to-career talent pipeline, complete with actionable strategies and policy recommendations
- Create an efficient structure for ongoing industry feedback
Our goal with The State of Our Workforce: Western NC is to identify solutions to close the skills gap and strengthen our local talent pool —which will ensure that companies in our area have the resources and people they need to succeed. With the data provided from this analysis, we can better align education systems, economic development initiatives, and business needs so Western North Carolina can continue to grow and thrive.
RTI International will be conducting the analysis this summer and we plan to release the results this fall.