#YouthEngageNC Summit


On November 6, 2015, the Institute for Emerging Issues convened stakeholders in three key regions to draw attention to and address the alarming decline in youth engagement in our State. The event is over, but the work is just beginning. Join IEI and over two hundred partners across the State in creating the most engaged generation in North Carolina’s history. As promised, above, you’ll find the recorded event as well as Eric Rowles’ (Leading to Change, CEO) highly demanded millennial engagement resources.


We know you’re busy, so we’re making it easy for individuals and organizations to decide what they’re able to contribute and get involved. Below are just a few opportunities for helping our young people succeed:

1) Connect

  • Follow our Civic Engagement Blog for critical information, best practices, and new contacts
  • Sign up for our list serve and offer your services to others in your region and across NC.
  • Share what you learn with others in your community who wish to get involved by sharing resources online, forwarding this website, or striking up a conversation with a neighbor about the importance of youth engagement.

2) Think

  • Contribute your thoughts on youth engagement and improved workforce training opportunities by sharing your best practices, research, or voice in an editorial or blog.
  • Collaborate with us to create more modern metrics for assessing and improving youth engagement across our increasingly diverse state.

3) Do

  • Using the information gathered at the Summit, plan a youth engagement event in your city or region. We want to highlight and share your successes, so be sure to hashtag in your media at #YouthEngageNC. To have your event featured on our interactive map (see below), please contact us with your information.
  • Join the Youth Engagement Action Team to be a catalyst in your area.
  • Sponsor youth engagement events in a city near you. Not sure what’s available? Use the interactive map below to see what’s happening in your area.
  • Attend the FutureWork Emerging Issues Forum to learn how your events today can prepare young citizens for jobs that don’t yet exist. We will make a limited number of scholarships available to #YouthEngageNC attendees.



LGFCU logo

Additional sponsors:

Cumberland CF Logo                Triangle Cmty Fdn logo

Community Foundation of Western North Carolina
Greater Greensboro Community Foundation
Winston-Salem Foundation

We also extend our special thanks to IEI’s Advisory Committee on Civic Health (ACCH) for their exceptional contributions to our broad program of civic engagement efforts.  View the full ACCH member roster.


IEI’s 2015 North Carolina Civic Health Index report highlighted a worrisome fact: North Carolina is startlingly average when it comes to our overall levels of civic engagement. When it comes to civic engagement factors like volunteering, joining groups, trusting and visiting with neighbors, donating time and money to local organizations, and participating in the political process by contacting elected officials and going to the polls, our rates are consistently middle of the pack among the states. That’s cause for concern given the strong positive correlations between engagement and healthy economies, vibrant communities, and successful youth who have an easier time graduating and joining the work force.

Our youth engagement rates have been slipping. However, many are responding with significant activity surrounding youth engagement. Schools, nonprofits, churches, and other community organizations are providing opportunities for young people in every region of North Carolina.  The challenge is to scale this activity for yet wider impact.

A key upshot: Enhancing North Carolina’s rates of youth engagement is a potential positive economic differentiator for our state.  Right now, our rates of youth engagement are middle-of-the-pack among the states and actually declining somewhat.  Clearly, we need to reverse that trend with new strategies and approaches to get our youth plugged in.

We’re confident that North Carolina is always ready to do what’s necessary to be a national leader. Our young citizens deserve the best possible opportunities for engagement.  They’ll do better as a result, as will our communities and entire state.

We recognize the many incredible people already working hard in many ways to help youth flourish. IEI’s strength rests in our ability to bring the right people from all sectors, regions, and perspectives to one table. Though the #YouthEngageNC Summit has concluded, opportunity abounds to make a difference in your community. Let us know how we can help.