Virtual Agenda


Virtual Agenda

Forum Overview

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.  Because education is fundamentally local in character, effective action must take place at the community and regional levels across the state. Our virtual forum will explore what makes for effective collaboration while showcasing promising practices that help all students, but especially students in groups with historically lower attainment rates, to get ready for, gain access to and successfully complete postsecondary educational opportunities.

4 modules divided into three days, built around key forum themes 

Tuesday morning (2/8)  |  9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 

The impact of the pandemic on educational attainment in North Carolina + State Level Support for Local Level Action on attainment: The pandemic is creating significant disruptions throughout the educational pipeline from K-12 through higher education. The Forum will examine the impacts the pandemic is having on educational attainment in our state and on progress in meeting our goal of 2 million North Carolinians with a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree by 2030. Particular attention will be paid to what we know about the pandemic’s impact on attainment by race/ethnicity, income and geography and how our state’s leadership is responding to boost attainment.

  • Welcome
  • Where Do We Stand in Meeting Our Attainment Goals?
    • Rebecca Tippett, Director, Carolina Demography Read Bio
  • Boosting Local Success from the State Level, Part 1
    • Machelle Baker Sanders, Secretary, NC Department of Commerce Read Bio
  • Boosting Local Success from the State Level, Part 2
    • Peter Hans, President, The University of North Carolina System Read Bio
    • Thomas Stith, President, NC Community Colleges Read Bio
    • Catherine Truitt, Superintendent, NC Department of Public Instruction Read Bio
    • Hope Williams, President, North Carolina Independent College & Universities Read Bio
    • Mebane Rash, EducationNC (moderator) Read Bio
  • Brief Recess

Tuesday afternoon (2/8)  |  1 p.m. – 4 p.m. 

Strategies for closing our educational attainment gaps: As in other parts of the country, North Carolina has long standing educational attainment disparities. This segment calls attention to the needs of learners in groups with historically lower attainment rates and identifies strategies that better support postsecondary access and completion.

  • Welcome
    • NC Governor Roy Cooper
  • Strategies That Work for Closing Attainment Gaps
    • Scott Jenkins, Strategy Director for State Policy, The Lumina Foundation Read Bio
    • MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair, The John M. Belk Endowment Read Bio
    • Javaid Siddiqi, President and CEO, The Hunt Institute Read Bio
  • Break
  • Breakouts
    • Strengthening K-12 Supports to Bridge Attainment Gaps: This session will highlight best practices and current initiatives to promote awareness and interest in pursuing postsecondary education among students of color, first-generation students, and students from low-income backgrounds.
      • Jim Beeler, Senior Director, College Access Partnerships, Appalachian State University Read Bio
      • Rep. Ricky Hurtado, Co-Founder and Director of Advancement, LatinxEd Read Bio
      • Mona Lovett, President and CEO, Crosby Scholars Community Partnership  Read Bio
      • Atrayus Goode, President & CEO, MENTOR North Carolina (moderator)  Read Bio
    • Campus Supports to Promote Attainment: This session will highlight ways in which institutions of higher education support students through the transition to postsecondary, including targeted supports to overcome barriers to persistence in higher education such as food and housing insecurity, mental health, and identity.
      • Jennifer McLean, Associate Director of Student Support Services/Director of Basic Needs, NC Community Colleges  Read Bio
      • Courtney Simpson, Senior Director, TRIO Collegiate Programs, NC State University  Read Bio
      • Davida Loren Haywood, Vice President for Student Affairs, Johnson C. Smith University Read Bio
      • Winn Decker, Senior Policy Analyst, The Hunt Institute (moderator)  Read Bio
  • Break
  • The Road Ahead: Reflections on the Work in Front of Us
    • Rupen Fofaria, Equity and Learning Differences Reporter, EducationNC Read Bio
    • Emily Thomas, Policy Analyst, EducationNC Read Bio
    • Leslie Boney, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues (moderator) Read Bio
  • Closing 

Wednesday morning, 2/9  |  9 a.m. – 12 noon

Moving forward, together: While our attainment goal is statewide, education is fundamentally local in action. This segment highlights the importance of effective collaboration and how to do it effectively, including the roles that local groups must play to increase attainment and close attainment gaps in their communities.

  • Welcome
  • Collaborating for Success From the Ground Up
    • David Bolton, Director, Workforce Initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro Read Bio
    • Pamela Gould, Executive Director, Strategic Twin-Counties Education Partnership Read Bio
    • Dominique Oliver, Director of Community Partnerships, Made in Durham Read Bio
    • Anita Brown-Graham, Director, ncIMPACT, UNC Chapel Hill (moderator)  Read Bio
  • Break
  • Breakouts
    • How to Have Cross-Sector Conversations to Promote Collaboration: In this session, learn what effective cross-sector conversations look like and how to evaluate your own community’s readiness to collaborate in ways that will move the needle on educational attainment.
      • Tracie Metz, Interim Director of Regional Impact, Western & Northwestern Region, myFutureNC  Read Bio
      • Senemeht Olatunji, Southwest and Piedmont-Triad Regional Impact Manager, myFutureNC  Read Bio
      • Angie Jenkins, Northeast and North Central Regional Impact Manager, myFutureNC  Read Bio
      • Toni Blount, Southeast and Sandhills Manager Regional Impact Manager, myFutureNC  Read Bio
    • Working Collaboratively to Reengage Adult Learners in NC: An “early harvest” of learning from a pilot program to recruit adult learners at five NC community colleges.
      • Audrey J. Jaeger, Executive Director, NC State’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research  Read Bio
      • Laura Leatherwood, President, Blue Ridge Community College  Read Bio
      • Johnny Smith, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Pitt Community College  Read Bio
      • Roshaunda Breeden, Senior Research Associate, NC State’s Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research Read Bio
      • Jessica Reigle, Student, Blue Ridge Community College Read Bio
    • How faith communities can support educational attainment: Examples and discussion of how faith communities are supporting educational attainment efforts in communities across our state.
      • Rev. Dr. Dawn Baldwin Gibson, Executive Pastor of Peletah Ministries and Superintendent of Peletah Academic Center for Excellence Read Bio
      • Rev. Julia Trantham Heckert, Community Engagement Coordinator, HIGHTS Read Bio
      • Ellen Beasley, Rural Faith Community Program Assistant, Institute for Emerging Issues (moderator)  Read Bio
  • Break
  • The Road Ahead: Reflections from Local Leaders: A panel discussion with leaders of community organizations supporting attainment.
    • Selena Bennett, Executive Director, Communities Supporting Schools of Wayne County  Read Bio
    • Greg Thomas, VP for Academic and Student Affairs, Isothermal Community College Read Bio
    • Diana Torres-Edwards, Asst. Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Henderson County Read Bio
    • Robin P. Williams, Executive Director, Wilson Education Partnership Read Bio
    • Pat Cronin, Asst. Director, Institute for Emerging Issues (moderator) Read Bio
  • Closing 

Thursday morning, 2/10  |  9 a.m. – 12 noon

The imperative of employer engagement: Efforts to raise educational attainment rates must prioritize not only the needs of learners but also those of employers. This segment shines a light on what employers need from our educational systems and, importantly, what they must contribute at the local and regional levels to strengthen educational attainment pipelines across the state.

  • Welcome
  • The Business Imperative to Promote Attainment
    • Putting Employers at the Center
      • Cecilia Holden, President and CEO, myFutureNC  Read Bio
    • The ROI of Employer Engagement
      • Lynn Good, Chair, President and CEO, Duke Energy Read Bio
    • Investing in the Student Pipeline to Build a Healthier NC
      • Dr. John Lumpkin, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC Foundation Read Bio
    • OneTen: Closing the Opportunity Gap Through a Skills-First Approach
      • Henry McKoy, Hayti Reborn Read Bio
      • Maurice A. Jones, Chief Executive Officer, OneTen Read Bio
      • Kieth Cockrell, President, Bank of America Charlotte
    • Building A Competitive Advantage Through Diversity and Educational Attainment
      • Maurice Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Civic Federal Credit Union Read Bio
      • Leslie Boney, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues Read Bio
  • Break
  • Collaborating for Meaningful Impact: Employer-led Sector Partnerships: Examples and discussion of how putting employer needs at the center can create significant value for businesses, the communities in which they operate and the support organizations charged with helping them. 
    • Matt Meyer, Assoc. Vice President, Business Engagement, National & International Partnerships, NC Community College System (moderator) Read Bio
    • Scott Panagrosso, Sector Strategy Coordinator, NC Department of Commerce (moderator)  Read Bio
    • Panelists:
      • Eric Barton, Vice President Supply Chain, Tritech Forensics
      • Brandi Bragg, Career Pathways Facilitator, NE NC Pathways
      • Erin Easton, Workforce Training Coordinator Cape Fear Community College
      • Jim Flock, General Manager, Blair-HSM
      • Michael McWhorter, CEO, Mojotone
      • Nedra Clayborne Rodriguez, Former Director, Cumberland County Workforce Development Board
  • Closing
    • Jack Cecil, Chair, IEI National Advisory Board Read Bio
    • Leslie Boney, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues Read Bio

Some session titles are subject to change. Check back for additional updates.   

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