“This program is being invented and implemented for the purpose of stopping the export of our most valuable resource, our homegrown workforce.”
Chairman, NC East Alliance
Greenville, North Carolina – January 19, 2024 – Today, over 300 gathered to attend the second annual Vision 2024 conference at the East Carolina University Main Campus Student Center hosted by NC East Alliance. The day was centered around the STEM East Industry In Schools Initiative which is a 29 county partnership between schools, community colleges, and industry. Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO of ECU Health, Dean of the Brody School of Medicine, and NC East Alliance Executive Board Member welcomed the crowd with “If you want to have healthy communities, the best way to do so is to educate those communities”.
The STEM East Industry In Schools Initiative is based on four pillars of work. Those four pillars are STEM Schools of Distinction (SSOD), Industry In Schools Clusters, Advanced Technological Education (ATE), and Regional Career and Job Fairs. “This program is being invented and implemented for the purpose of stopping the export of our most valuable resource, our homegrown workforce.” said Todd Edwards, Chairman of the NC East Alliance Board of Directors. The program currently has 29 schools districts and 10 community colleges signed on in NC East Alliance’s 29 county region.
“In my day-job, we work in 30 states. NC East Alliance is the only regional economic development group in the nation focusing on the teachers as a workforce.” said Greg Payne, BelleJar Foundation. NC East Alliance received a $1.6 million grant from the BelleJar Foundation which is the largest investment the foundation has made.
Dr. Laura Ullrich, Senior Regional Economist with The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond was the keynote speaker for the day providing an economic update. Dr. Ullrich highlighted data that showed many of the eastern NC counties have a declining population. “Future workers need to know there are good, well-paying, in-demand jobs in their communities. Companies need to know that the community has a workforce that is present, trained, and ready to work.” said Dr. Ullrich. Emphasizing the need for the STEM East Industry In Schools Initiative.