Goals & Strategy

Ensuring more students have the education and skills needed to succeed.

We need 82,000 workers in our region with the credentials and skills to fill workforce demands by 2030. To meet this need, the Collaboration’s four-county region of Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania overall goals include:

The Collaborative has four main strategic goals:


Enhance Pre-K and Early Childhood Education programs’ enrollment.


Improve student success rates in K-12 education.


Improve postsecondary success.


Align educational objectives and outcomes to desired employee competencies.

How We'll Do It

 Our strategy outlines how we’ll reach our goals.


Increase enrollment of eligible children to 75% in early childhood programs in each project county.

To do this, we need to:

  • Apply a racial equity lens to all decision-making processes for preschool expansion.
  • Identify key organizations and individuals working with Pre-K and early childhood programs that are willing to utilize the collective impact model.
  • Determine priority populations for initial expansion.
  • Offer unused elementary school space to Pre-K programs.
  • Development of alignment of action steps for Pre-K-8th
  • Rely on national reports and data to establish a working model.
  • Further refine cost models and begin feasibility studies of various funding streams.
  • Focus on recruiting, retaining, and training of qualified teachers with a focus on:
    • Teachers’ pay
    • Recruitment of teachers of color
    • Recruitment of male teachers
  • Establish a clear path forward for providers who want to expand, including a two-tiered approach with entry-level and goal-level standards.


Increase high school graduation rate to 95% in the project counties.

To do this, we need to:

  • Develop specific career pathways and apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities aligned with the region’s high growth, high-demand industry sectors.
  • Increase the number of online training and certifications (including career readiness certificates) aligned with the region’s career pathways that target high growth, high-demand industry sectors.
  • Increase dual enrollment participation for special population high school students that prepares students to enter fields in which they have traditionally been underrepresented, especially STEM programs.
  • Increase educational opportunities for special populations (adults, veterans, reentry individuals, special needs, etc.).
  • Bridge communication between employers and educational institutions to better establish a forum for discussing employment needs.
  • Align credentials of value with employers’ needs.


Improve postsecondary enrollment success to 65 % in the project counties.

This goal encompasses the following facets:

  • Seamless transition from high school to higher education
  • Enrollment rates
  • First-year persistence
  • Completion rates
  • Work-based learning initiatives

To do this, we need to provide:

  • Information about programs at regional higher education institutions
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Career, academic, and success coaching
  • Job placement assistance
  • Information about local non-profits that can provide additional supports
  • Employ a consistent data management system
  • Apply a racial equity lens to all decision-making processes for postsecondary education.
  • Strengthen student support systems to include “One Stop Center” approach for all information and resources needed to be successful.
  • Strengthen academic advisement to:
    • Determine proper program of study.
    • Improve explanation of courses offered per term, identifying courses that must be taken in sequence, as well as courses offered only once a year.
    • Early enrollment into college credit courses.
    • Early enrollment into required courses.
    • Early intervention strategies.
  • Increase distribution of Career Promise, Finish-Line Grant, scholarship, and other financial information to students and parents.
  • Offer accelerated and flexible course offerings.
  • Revisit remediation policies for alignment to program English and math courses.
  • Build upon lessons learned from the North Carolina Community College Minority Male Initiative to better support multicultural students.
  • Utilize community partners to recruit and enroll nonmajority students, special populations such as reentry and veterans, continuing education participants, and adult learners.
  • Develop nontraditional modes of communicating information to all communities, but with emphasis on low-wealth communities, communities of color, and rural communities. For example, these include parent groups, nonprofit organizations, community advocacy groups, and nontraditional media sources.
  • Utilize department chairs and/or academic advisors to identify and reach out to non-completers (students with some college credit, but no degree).
  • Enhance summer bridge programs and summer orientations to ensure “college readiness” for fall terms.
  • Increase number of programs offering work-based learning opportunities.
  • Centralize approach to apprenticeship programs.
  • Focus remediation efforts and completion during summer term.
  • Foster partnerships within the community and business industries.
  • Increase credential opportunities.
  • Align college calendars with high schools.


Ensure that 90% of North Carolina adults ages 25-44 in the labor force obtain the necessary credentials that align with needed employees’ competencies.

To do this, we need to:

  • Apply a racial equity lens to all decision-making processes for alignment of credentials and competencies.
  • Company Collaborations: Approach companies/organizations with the “One College Model” for curriculum, continuing education, and new & expanding industries’ solutions.
  • Establish solutions related to curriculum pathways, continuing education pathways, and/or a hybrid solution for alignment of needs.
  • Third-party Credentialing: Connect training and courses to industry recognized third-party instruction and/or the ability to take the third-party exam.
  • Con-ed to curriculum transfer: Allow short-term con-ed instruction to be used for transfer into the degree programs when all the requirements for the student and the course have been met.
  • Identify opportunities to provide “reskilling” of displaced workers.
  • Develop a reverse articulation and transfer system that allows students who have earned the hours for an Associate degree to be awarded the credential, even though they may be enrolled at another institution.
  • Streamline articulation agreements between community colleges and four-year colleges/universities.
  • Create specialized scholarship opportunities such as military college options and scholarships.
  • Identify foundational skills/competencies and specific industry skills/competencies needed for current and future jobs. A helpful tool is located at: careeronestop.org/CompetencyModel.

The Educational Attainment Collaborative Ecosystem

The Educational Attainment Collaborative Ecosystem shows the key stakeholders that are critical to reaching our goal.

Many factors, including internal, external, and policies plus initiatives like funding and technology, impact educational attainment and the ability for students to find gainful employment.

Working together, advocacy groups, educational institutions, workforce development councils, economic developers, city and county governments, and employers that need individuals with various credentials can help students get the education and skills they need for everyone to thrive.

The Assets Map

Our assets are entities, organizations, and initiatives that lead to a long-term, sustainable approach to align credentials and degrees to the needs of local employers.

The Assets Map assists with guiding our region’s work and creating a baseline of best practices that would lead to developing strategies for the strategic plan.


Data-driven to measure our progress forward.

To track North Carolina’s goal of reaching 2M employees with high-quality credentials or post-secondary degrees by 2030, myFutureNC measures the state’s progress. It helps determine if the state is on target in attaining its goal or adjustments are needed along the way.

To meet the growing need for talent and produce 82,000 skilled workers in our region by 2030, we must gauge our progress.

County Data and Resources

myFutureNC and Carolina Demography collaborated to create the myFutureNC Attainment Dashboard to help local communities develop action plans driven by data. This tool features profiles for every North Carolina county that highlights county-level education attainment and performance on key myFutureNC education and workforce metrics. This data helps with decision-making to increase educational attainment in our four counties: Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, and Transylvania.