Advancing Together: The 2022 Emerging Issues Forum


Tuesday, February 8-10, 2022 Four modules over three days NOW VIRTUAL!

I'm Registered!

We hope you’re as excited as we are about the upcoming Emerging Issues Forum! Take a moment and download our “I’m Registered!” social square and share that you’ll be joining us virtually February 8-10 with your network. Download here


Message from the Institute for Emerging Issues regarding the 2022 Emerging Issues Forum

Together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation. As we continue to feel the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, we have to ensure the safety of our families, communities and businesses. The Institute for Emerging Issues would like to update you on how we are approaching the current data surrounding COVID and how it has impacted our upcoming February 8, 2022 Emerging Issues Forum.

We have made the decision to go completely virtual. While this means we will not be together face-to-face on Tuesday, February 8, it does not change our commitment to bringing together local, state and national leaders to call attention to the educational attainment gap and how we enhance our North Carolina workforce. What will change? Our virtual forum will now be divided into four modules over three days, February 8 – 10. The Forum will be broken up into four modules and will incorporate keynote addresses, panel discussions and a number of interactive breakout sessions, with sessions on the challenges the pandemic has created to educational attainment, how state and local coalitions can work together to increase attainment, inspiring national and local success stories and the critical role business plays in getting more people better educated. More information can be found on our agenda page. We are really excited about the opportunity the new online approach will offer for more attendance, greater safety, new segments and a lower price. The new cost for our virtual forum will be $50 and those who register will receive a number of benefits to include: full access to our virtual conference platform, networking opportunities, access to our audience interaction tools and all session recordings. IEI will continue to offer scholarships to those interested in participating in the “Advancing Together: Enhancing NC’s Workforce Through Educational Attainment” Emerging Issues Forum. For additional information or if you have already registered for our in-person forum and would like to discuss how your registration can be modified, contact Davina Thrash at


The Challenge

As our economy grows the vast majority of new jobs will require more than a high school diploma. Today, less than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44 are ready for this work. As set by myFutureNC, with the strong support of the North Carolina General Assembly, the Governor, and the education and business communities, the current goal is 2 million North Carolinians with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. But absent intentional action, we face a significant gap between the skills and experience that employers will need and what the state’s labor force will be able to provide. Even more worrisome, economically disadvantaged and workers of color, the segments of the workforce growing fastest, are particularly less equipped for this future. And this was before the pandemic.


The Opportunity

The 2022 Emerging Issues Forum will bring together local, state and national leaders to call attention to this attainment gap and to the impact of the pandemic on efforts to close it. Because education is fundamentally local in character, a particular focus will be on spurring effective action at the community and regional levels across the state. The event will showcase promising practices that help all students—younger and older, White and of color, richer and poorer—to get ready for, gain access to and to successfully complete postsecondary educational opportunities. The importance of effective collaboration will be highlighted, especially the role of the business community in promoting curriculum alignment, offering work-based learning and advocating for a competitive workforce.


Moving Ideas to Action

A central goal of the Forum and a series of regional meetings afterwards is to promote local-level action that boosts educational attainment levels, especially for lower-income and students of color. This will happen by lifting up effective practices, policy supports and by offering capacity-building workshops. And following a practice honed over the past three years, IEI will select, highlight and support the work of a cohort of five communities from across the state that are moving the needle for these students. More information on IEI’s community cohort program, including an application, can be found on the Communities page.


Scholarship Program

We recognize that for some, cost is a substantial barrier to attending the Emerging Issues Forum. We also know that every voice is important. The Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI) has scholarships for those interested in participating in the “Advancing Together: Enhancing NC’s Workforce Through Educational Attainment” Emerging Issues Forum and who identify ticket price affordability as a significant barrier to participation. Scholarship recipients will receive free admission to the Forum. Because scholarship sponsors often ask that their funds be given to applicants with specific characteristics, we ask that you identify yourself in as many categories as apply in the question below. The deadline for applications is noon on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Applicants will be notified of their status on a rolling basis.  To apply for a scholarship, click here For more information: please contact Davina Thrash at 919-515-9255 or 

Scholarships are made possible by Duke Energy and Anonymous Trust.

Our sponsors

2022 Emerging Issues Forum Sponsors