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Senate | March 4, 2015 | Chamber | Economic Development

Full MP3 Audio File

Let's go ahead and get started. Please take your seats. I want to apologize for not having this meeting last week. Am I on now? Okay. All right. I wanna apologize for not having this meeting last week. We had some scheduling conflicts we just couldn't, couldn’t deal with. We have two sergeant in arms today. Steve McKaig and Giles Jeffreys. We appreciate you being here. We have one page, Rashan Jones, sponsored, from Enfield, and sponsored by Senator Bryant. We're glad to have you here today. This is gonna be another just informational meeting, the second one we've had. We have two presenters, Catherine Moga Bryant and Will Collins. We've got to be out of here by 12:50 because there's a finance meeting at one, so Catherine would you come please and take about 20 minutes, and we'll have five minutes for questions, and then we'll have Will come up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon mister chair and members. My name is Catherine Moga Bryant. I am the director of governance and strategic planning for the division of workforce solutions in the Department of Commerce, and today I'll just be providing a brief overview of the NC Works Commission. But before I get into the role of the NC works commission, I just want to start off with the definition of workforce development. And the definition is that they are the programs, systems, and networks that are primarily designed to enable individuals to succeed in the workplace by providing skills assessment, skills development, training, and employment services, and it's also the program services and networks and systems that help businesses obtain a skilled workforce by providing recruitment assistance, customized training or structured work based learning opportunities. I know a couple weeks ago you saw this chart from the program evaluation division, and this is what our workforce system looked like in 2011, and as you can see and as you saw a couple of weeks ago, it's complicated. There's lots of different programs and funding streams, agencies that are involved, and it includes many different ways that you can access our system. But as a result of that report, there was legislation passed to streamline and reinforce our workforce system. And as you heard from the program evaluation division a couple weeks ago, that we have fully implemented that legislation and we have made significant changes to our workforce system to truly improve it and accomplishing the task that were laid out in the legislation. The governor has further strengthened our workforce system with the announcement of NC works of April of last year. This announcement was made at the caterpillar facility and you can see on the picture here a nice big caterpillar machine in the background. And it was made at the caterpillar facility because the chair of the NC works commission is, works at caterpillar, and also in attendance was President Scott Rolls from the community college system as well as Secretary Decker from the Department of Commerce. And at this event, he announced that workforce programs would work under one name. We really wanna simplify our system for customers, make it easy to find services, and provide these services in a cohesive manner, and so that name for our workforce system is NC works, and all of our programs will fall under that one name. He also announced that the system would strengthen its response to businesses to ensure that we're listening to those businesses and that our system is meeting the needs of the businesses. We hear a lot about the skills gap, and one of the strategies to address the skills gap is to understand what it is businesses need and ensure that we are training people for the needs of our businesses. He announced that we would scan the needs of our businesses, and I'm sure you've heard about the 1,100 Initiative, and Will Collins will speak on that in a few minutes. But this was one strategy to ensure that we heard businesses, that we're listening to them and know what their needs are. We're gonna use data to make the best decisions and then to measure our results, and then he charged the NC Works Commission to oversee this more integrated, more comprehensive, and collaborative system. So in sort, NC Works is North Carolina's strategy to ensure that we have the best workforce in the country. It's about alignment and coordination of workforce programs and the Department of Commerce, the community college system and the Department of Public Instruction. It's also a customer focused system, which I think is very different from a programatic focused system. We're focused on the customer and how we can help

...both businesses and individuals get the skills that they need and the businesses get the talent that they need, so that we are responsive to the needs of our economy, and as a system that prepares workers to succeed in the North Carolina economy, and continuously improve our skills. In this day and age with new technologies and changes in the economy we need to constantly be improving our skills and upgrading. So today I'd like to say that this is what our workforce system looks like, it's a set of interlocking gears that are working together under the oversight of the NC Works Commission to engage, recruit, access, develop and connect talent to jobs. And the NC Works Commission is the appropriate entity to oversee this system. The membership of the commission is led by business and industry. A majority of its members come from the private sector, as well as the chair of the commission. It also has the leaders of the state agencies with workforce development programs, including the Department of Commerce, the community college system, the Department of Public Instruction, Health and Human Services Administration and the Department of labor. And the remaining seats are filled by representatives of labor, education and community-based organizations. The mission of the NC Works Commission is to ensure that North Carolina has an innovate, relevant, effective and efficient workforce development system that develops adaptable, work-ready, skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of workers and businesses, to achieve and sustain economic prosperity. And that mission was developed as part of a strategic planning process, which I'm happy to say that plan was approved just this past Monday. And this plan was a comprehensive strategic plan. It's the first time that the state has had one comprehensive plan to guide the workforce system. And the NC Works Commission identified four goals to help create and transform our workforce system. The first goal was to create an integrated, customer centered and seamless workforce system. A system that's easy for people to access, to get the skills that they need, and for businesses to access to get the talent that they need. The second goal was to create a workforce system that is responsive to the changing needs of the economy. We can't just relax and say that we've got a good system today, but we have to be constantly improving and updating our system to make sure that it's keeping up with our economy. The third goal is to prepare workers to succeed in the North Carolina economy and continuously improve their skills. And then the last goal is about using data to drive strategies, that we're making data-based decisions, and to ensure accountability. And when the commission developed this plan it also developed a strategic action plan, which defines how the state will achieve those goals and objectives. So it didn't just set out the goals and objectives, but the specific action steps to achieve these goals. And these action steps fall into four key categories. The first one is system alignment and transformation. And these are strategies that are focused truly on transforming our state's workforce system to make it the best in the country. The second category is to strengthen customer service, really focusing on providing information about all of our services instead of information just program by program. But when somebody comes into one of our offices or one of our business services representatives talks to a business, that they hear not just about that one program but they hear about the whole range of services that our state can offer to help people. The third category is career pathways, and these are purposeful plans for education and training that lead to knowledge and skill acquisition and most importantly, successful careers. And these plans are going to be developed by engaged employers to be sure that we are training to meet the needs of our businesses. And these pathways, the development of these pathways is truly a team approach. Again, it's led by engaged employers and it needs to include our workforce programs in the Department of Commerce, the community college system, public instruction, to make sure that we are providing a comprehensive set of services. The final category is accountability, and the commission is going to measure not only the success of these specific strategies, but it's going to set goals for each of our programs, it's going to review the performance, and it's going to provide information on the success of our programs. And in regards to accountability, the commission has already started down this path. Over the past two years, it has worked to develop performance measures. And just this past January it released a report on performance measures for North Carolina's workforce development.

[SPEAKER CHANGES] And the commission will continue to work, improve and expand upon these performance measures to make sure that we're tracking how our programs are doing. But for each program in the state, there is information available on employment, wages, and transition into higher education or other workforce development programs. And on this slide you can see on the right, an example of the chart that is available for each program in North Carolina's workforce system. That's all I have Mr. Chair, and I'd be happy to take questions at this time. [SPEAKER CHANGES]. Okay, any questions? Senator Alexander. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Ordinarily I'm not called on that quickly. Thank you very much for your presentation ma'am, I notice that you want to have this situation streamlined and appreciate the efficiencies there, but I see six different state agencies all working. Is there any idea about streamlining that or reducing some of the six to make things a little more seamless? Any ideas there ma'am? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Each of the agencies that provide workforce services have a unique role within the system. Public instruction obviously works in the K-12 arena, community colleges in the community college arena, universities have a separate role, and our programs really are focused in the Department of Commerce, are focused on kind of that recruitment and screening assessment. We've got career centers across the state and again, Mr. Collins will speak more directly to the commerce programs. But each of our agencies have a unique role, and NCWorks has been identified as the best strategy for ensuring that all these programs with all their unique roles are working together in a more streamlined and efficient way. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair, and just a quick question. In terms of the membership, I saw-I'm assuming it's one representative from each of these agencies. Is that correct? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That is correct. It is the leader of each of those agencies, so the Secretary of Commerce, the President of Community College System. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, Mr. Chair. I see the university system is not in here, is there a reason? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The university system is not currently a member of the NCWorks Commission. We are actually working to resolve that this year. The membership is laid out in legislation and we'll be working with this body to try and update that membership. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Krawiec. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your presentation. I know that you're trying to get all the pieces to fit together. A concern that I have, I visited with several large employers in my district, and particularly Yadkin County. There are a couple of big firms there looking to expand, and the unemployment in that particular county, which is a wonderful problem to have, is very low. One of the plants is actually bringing in vans from Virginia each day because they can't get enough of their workforce. Is there a plan to sort of communicate out to the field where those job openings are? Because they're having a hard time recruiting. And they're good paying jobs. It's a good problem for my district, but I'm concerned that they're not going to move forward with their expansion because of that concern. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe that a more aligned system with all of our partners working together would help share that information. A key part of the NCWorks Commissions Plan is to really connect with businesses on a more regular basis and then to share that information among programs so that perhaps there's not as many people in Yadkin County, but maybe in the next county over there are. And if our programs are working together more systematically, and have the tools and resources in order to share that information, I believe that we can help start to address some of those programs-some of those issues. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions? Senator ??, sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You thought you'd escaped didn't you? Go back to the first question in the chart that ??. To me when you say system, we're talking about something that is interrelated and working together. And when I look at the chart, all I see is stovepipe. Is there any way, and I understand now why the UNC system only appears on one of your charts, it's the gear chart. First, a high assurance that the UNC system will be part of the net and secondly, looking at what ways to really make this a system rather than a series of stovepipes, where there's no real guarantee of connectivity.

Be happening. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think, if you could focus on the gear chart, this is where we're moving to, and, and the, everybody likes to call it the spaghetti chart with all the lines. I believe that was a more accurate representation of our system four years ago, and we've really made some strides to make this is a comprehensive system that does work together, and let me give you an example of how that works through our, a program that we did with GE Aviation up in West Jefferson. GE Aviation announced a $100 million expansion in West Jefferson and they needed some employees to work in their new facility. And our career centers, our NC Works career centers worked collaboratively with our community college system to recruit, assess, screen, and then send folks to training to really meet the needs of that business. So it's a perfect example of each of these different gears, each of these different parts of our system working together to not only meet the employment needs of a company, but to help people in that community get good paying jobs. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Thank you, what I'm hoping I guess is that we're working toward a system that works like that rather than the chart that I see. Is that what I heard. Okay. The MOE's, I'm not. I pushed the wrong push. I'm not sure that they're the right MOEs. We have to see that over time. What I'm concerned within there is I did some other homework and when you use the word cohort in that second line where it says percentage of individuals in the cohort, I'm assuming you're referring to the study that commerce put out that talks to the workforce development also. And when I read through that, what I found out was there are about seven or eight populations excluded because they couldn't be included. Therefore I wonder if that cohort is a representative sample and if we're gonna do MOEs we have to have a more representative example in there and work towards that so we know we had that broader scope. No part timers, no military, no one seeking work. If they're not seeking work, they're not in it. Only in organizations covered by the unemployment organizations. Somehow we have to resolve and get a much broader sample base out of all of that, so we know that what we measure is everything, closer to a representative sample of the state than it is of just a select group because we couldn't get the other data, because I'm sure we can get the data. It's just a case of working on it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So the, for the performance measures we did track the employment and wages using the information that's submitted to the division of employment security on, for their unemployment insurance filings, and so it does include every business and every employer, every individual who is employed by a business who files for, participates in the unemployment insurance system. It, you're right, it does not include the federal government at this time, but we are working on some agreements to include military, federal government, as well as getting some information from other states to better track individuals that are served through our system. So hopefully in the next year, we will have some, some good updates to this, to this report and be able to track more members that, that participate in our system. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, thank you so much. Next, we have Will Collins, assistant Secretary Department of Commerce, and they sent out a press release yesterday which announced a groundbreaking strategic plan so that now for the first time, North Carolina has a comprehensive plan that sets the direction of the entire workforce system, and that's pretty exciting news. So, please share with us, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. Thank you first of all, cochairs and members for the opportunity to share with you what we're doing with workforce now, because it is new and exciting and it's different and I hope that you will get something from the presentation I'm about to share with you. First of all, I'd like to kind of introduce myself since I've not had a chance to meet everyone, and just to share that I've been on board now for 15 months as the assistant secretary of commerce responsible for workforce, but I come at this in a little bit different manner. I actually come out of a private sector, so I've been in private business in advanced manufacturing for the past 40 years, and I've also been in human resources for all of those 40 years as well. So I've always been on the customer side of business for the past 40 years. Now we're on the service side of business, so it's

Taking a little bit different look and I understand the needs of business for the most part, and we’re trying to address exactly what companies need. I think we’ve made major improvements with our professionalism, our enthusiasm, our excitement and commitment from our workforce team members across the state, and that’s something that we are certainly committed to do. We’re also looking at improving efficiencies and customer service across the state, and I hope you’ll find that we are certainly moving in that direction. You just had an opportunity to see Catherine’s chart and we wanna highlight here commerce because commerce is one of the integral leaders here, but I just want to share with you that we are part of a team. This is certainly a massive team effort, takes into account all of our teamwork with the community colleges, with the department of public instruction, with all of our workforce board of members and all of their staff, team members. So we’re doing this as a collaborative effort. It’s not, no one group can be successful without the others. So we are making these changes as a collaborative effort. Our mission is pretty simple. The chart looks complicated, but our mission is actually pretty simple, and that is we want to provide first class service and resources to the people and to the businesses of the state of North Carolina, and that’s what we’re trying to do. So it looks complicated, but it’s actually not very complicated. We’re trying to, trying to make it simpler so that we can manage it better. One thing we do is we do this with two different areas of focus and activities. We connect talent to jobs, and we do that through employer engagement, and I’m gonna touch on each one of these in a little more detail further on. What we do with employment, employer engagement and with talent identification for our job seekers, and help them understand where they can find opportunities and they can grow in their careers. And again, we do this through improved customer service and improvement in all of our efficiencies across the state. Now you’re gonna see something here that’s new, and it’s called the NC works promise, and its something that we are going to launch and roll out in the very near future, and it is something that says our pledge is to companies both new and existing and growing that we’re gonna recruit, assess, and train our citizens to meet and exceed their workforce needs, and that’s a commitment we wanna make. We’re already doing this, but we’ve just not labeled it as a, as a promise before. So we’re gonna be doing that, and it’s something that’s new and different, and it’s gonna show our commitment to businesses and job seekers across the state, and we do that, again, with commitment and support from all of the different groups that we work with. As we mentioned, employer engagement is a major part of how we are successful in the commitment that we make. We meet with employers on a regular basis, both current and for future employers as they come into economic development and express an interest in growing or building in the state of North Carolina. We understand their needs because we ask them, we let them tell us what they need to do. We are the first line of support in doing all this. We provide labor market information, so we use our data so that we can understand where we wanna go and where we’ve been so that we’ll know how to get where we’re going. We want to identify and develop our pipeline of talent. We also want to structure work based learning, and I’m gonna touch on that in just another minute here, but work based learning is a real key ingredient, especially for the major employers across the state. So the bottom line is we’re gonna connect talent to jobs. I wanna take a second and share with you an initiative that we launched back in the summer, and effective September 22, we launched what we called the 1100 Program. And that’s where we made a commitment that we were gonna meet with ten businesses in every one of our 100 counties, and we were gonna do all of this within 100 days. Well I’m very proud to tell you we accomplished that goal. We actually met with 1,107 companies across the state, so we met with at least ten businesses in every one of our 100 counties. We talked with them. We said, please tell us what are we doing right so we can share best practices across the state, so that some things that work, something that is working in the mountains may be able to work in the coast or the piedmont. So we found out what is interesting, what is of interest to them. But we also asked them, what are we doing wrong? What do we need to do better? What keeps you up at night? Tell us how we can make improvements. So they’ve done that, and they were very excited to share with us their ideas, recommendations, exactly where they stand on these issues. So we feel it was very successful. We’re gathering all that data, and then we’re gonna share that data with the appropriate people so that we make changes in our programs. So that’s very exciting that we’ve got new data. We’ve also been told this was one of the biggest

And this was one of the largest surveys of this nature ever in the history of the nation, not just North Carolina. So something that we did that was new and different, we went out and sought advice and ideas and recommendations that had never been done before and was very successful. The reason that it was successful is because we did it collaboratively. The partners in this were the community college system, DPI, Economic Development, workforce boards, career centers, that’s the first time that these groups came together with a common cause and they went out and met with companies. First time they ever done that, so what they’ve done since then is they have assured these companies we’re gonna continue these types of efforts going forward, so it’s a very exciting initiative that we launched. We also want to make sure that we do everything we can to support companies with job postings and job fairs, things of that nature. We do their screening and their assessments. We refer candidates to training programs so that it improves their opportunities to advance their careers. I’ll tell you a little bit more about work-based learning in that it applies to such things as on the job training, internships, coops and particularly the apprenticeship programs. Apprenticeship’s been getting a lot of attention, a lot of attention nationally and we’re on the forefront of these programs and we are recognized nationally as having one of the better apprenticeship programs around, so we’re very excited about what we’re doing with apprenticeship in particular. I’ll share with you one more point and that is we cannot just have a cookie cutter type of program. One size does not fit all. That’s why we go to companies, instead of us tilling them what we’re gonna do for them we ask them what can we do to support you. You tell us what you need. We’ll build customized training programs across community colleges. We’ll build different curriculums. We’ll do these things with workforce and we’ll do it with commitment and make sure that you’re successful. We know that companies drive the economy, so if we can satisfy their needs and address their, such things as the skill gap and things of that nature, we’re gonna be successful across the state. So that’s what we’re doing and we’re addressing exactly what the company needs. Well, we also do this with talent identification with our job seekers. We meet with these job seekers in our career centers. We talk about what opportunities are out there. How do you get a job? How do you increase your skills? How do you take advantage of training programs that are available? How do you get ready to move into something that’s better for your career? We assess their skills, we provide information on how to man jobs, we help them plan their careers. We don’t just sit down and we don’t just given them a name and say go find this job and go apply here, we sit down and say this is how you do it. This is how you interview. This is how you make yourself more available, more interesting for the potential employers. So we develop those skills. We tell them what type of work-based learning is available. So I just want you to know that we do all this at a local basis. This isn’t something that happens out of Raleigh. This happens out on the ground. It happens in all of our career centers across the state. In addition to this I’ll also take a minute to just say we have 92 veterans that are in the job to help. Their job every day is to do nothing but help veteran find jobs and they’re located in our career centers all across the state of North Carolina and they’re passionate about this and they’re excited about what they can do to help veterans find jobs. So that’s one thing that’s not very well known. We don’t publicize it enough and we need to get that word out too, so we do that every day. I’ll share with you, take a look at this map. You’ll see that we have about 70 certified career centers across the state right now and you’ll see that there are some in almost every community. We’re changing the mindset. If you don’t take anything away from what I’m sharing with you today, there’s a message I want you to deliver to your constituents and to your fellow lawmakers and that is we no longer have unemployment offices, we have NC Works career centers. That’s what they are. They help people find jobs, help people make improvements in their careers. It’s no longer the unemployment office, so get that message out. We need to deliver that so that people understand we’re making progress and we’re doing things different than we’ve ever done it before. We’re also consolidating offices. We’re making changes and improvements in efficiency to bring offices together. Instead of maybe having two in a community we may just need one and we can improve services. So we’re doing that and we’re looking at many different ways to make improvements there. We also have an NC

Speaker changes: it works online service this is our website and our website is extremely active it is now on board for bout 18 months it is one of the powerful tools in the history our state ??? it is been work for employers ll over the state it's very effective it's been used by job seekers it is one of the best things that have ever done it actually took bout nine systems is not them into one it's gin not confusions channels ?? we gotta have bout 6800 employers registered on the ?? registering heir jobs and opportunities we have bout 5800 employers registered for bout seeking jobs and seeking career employment ?? we also have bout 12000 job offers that are all right people companies looking for jobs opportunities to others so tell your neighbors tell people you associate with friend NC.COM something very powerful and very positive something very free it doesn't cost anything to employers or job seekers ?? our commitment and our involvement with that economic development ?? when the economic development comes into the picture we are ?? that i have experience in the private sector we need to be in the front end of economic development not in the end of back of it so this is an example of ?? this company is going to make example ?? they look to relocate outside of japan so we are gonna help with them we are gonna talk bout how we are looking forward with the work force needs cross the ?? but we met them before we actually the the game ?? if you can do it and they gonna tel you how we are gonna do it if we can so they came here they starting to built facilities right cross ?? when you go down 80 and 40 it is beautiful new facility up to there couple of weeks go they have bout 100 vacancies they fill in couple of years we decide to give job fare for them it's 750 people for job fir its orange county lot of heavy factor so 750 people showed up for totally job day period so I'm gonna quote from the president if the day i could you Side two days free was wonderful people more with expectation participated in the free over 750 i could feel the enthusiasm of the energy to the participant and able to get energy ?? and ?? at done the war force the brand new facility forest one outside of japan last thing I'm gonna ?? we are changing the procedure of business we are changing that what work force i ll bout is more polishes is more professional is more positive very excited about what we are doing last thing i wanna say is ? rule economic development commerce he and i developed lot of things over last yer really worked extremely each other over the supporting year i side i need to ?? out something each other something to talk couple of years go we are telling this we re reminding of something that we ll grown up with my be they can understand this that is old saying i thing you my have Side this or you my have herd in the past and that is wen you talk somebody or you hear somebody say I'm form the government and I'm here to help you people ?? that's not right that's not worth it here i state message that I'm gonna leave with changing the perceptions in what work force is all about we re from the government we actually are here to help you ?? will that let the people knwo we re prt of the government

here to help you. We're excited about it. So we got a lot of good things going on. So with that, I'll just close out and I'll be glad to take any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, thank you so much. The first question is from Senator Rabin. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We're also from the government and we're here to help you alsol, okay? First question, I understand the concept but how do we know we're there or we're getting there? What's our measures of effectiveness on the NCWorks? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Part of the measurements that we're doing is we're measuring how many applicants we get through NCWorks and our website, we're also recording information about the number of candidates that we help every day in our career centers. So we're trying to determine exactly how effective that is. That's not been done historically so that's something new that we're tracking to understand where were going. [SPEAKER CHANGES] More tied to your goals, though, in your press release today there were I think four goals and your MOE's are going to be tied to your goals, right? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, that is part of our strategic plan that's just been approved by the commission. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Could you provide the committee with those as soon as you get them drafted out, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I will certainly do that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And a follow-up, if I can. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm looking at your career centers and by count, and I've only got one eye, I came out with 58, there might be more, there might be less. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The issues that I have, though, or that I'd like to get comment on is I just read where there's eight prosperity zones by the economic development guys and we're supposed to be working together on this, 23 workforce development board centers of excellence, or whatever, and every time I turn around there's another set of regions and tiers and stuff. Is there some way that we could get an economy of scale by putting these together and getting them to actually co-locate and work together? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, and I would like to point out your numbers in that. I said that we are working, we have applications that have just recently been approved for the career centers and it is a certification process. This is not just a checklist, there's a lot that goes in to being a certified career center. So we have more offices than you see on the chart but these are just the ones that are certified to date. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me follow, it's not the number that's disturbing, it's whether or not they're working with the prosperity zone guys and the workforce development board people and all of that rather than just going off in 17 directions. Everybody doing good, I'm not saying they're not trying to do good, but it might be that we could get some economy by bringing the force together and focusing it. And then the third question, really, is I'm obviously glad you're taking care of the military like you said but when I looked at the same map I see that Cumberland County and Harnett County, closest to Fort Bragg don't have any dots. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well that's because they're not certified at this time, so they're going through a certification process and it's a very elaborate process that has to be, they have to pass certain criteria before they earn the dot on the map. So they will become a certified center, they have applied for that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I further assume that the folks that are doing the veterans work are working with, like FTCC I know happens to have a really good program. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And Bragg has a good program, I haven't been to the other ones, that they coordinate closely with those as they try to find these jobs and not work in opposite directions. It's sort of back to that idea synergistic effect. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And all that, we are working extensively with veterans. We actually have some new initiatives that we'll be rolling out very shortly that shows that commitment as well. We are, actually the governor's attending an event tomorrow at Camp Lejeune to announce getting employers more excited about bringing veterans into their corporations. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Elaborate a little bit more, if you will, on his question concerning putting together all these things, the prosperity zones and things like that. Is there an effort to coordinate efforts between these various organizations? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir. If I could touch on something, our group just recently made a decision to bring eight regional operations directors on board within workforce that their job will be to do just that, is to collaborate these efforts between all these groups and agencies and to bring those people together for the first time that we've ever done that. We've just advertised for those jobs, they closed out about two weeks ago, we're interviewing for somebody to go in to each one of the eight prosperity

Okay. Senator Barefoot? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you mister chairman. Thank you Mr. Collins for the good job that you're doing over there at NCWorks. Got two questions for you. One is as you've been going through this process and you're listening to businesses and listening to industry, a top demand is workforce and talent. Do you have any sense, or do you have any kind of numbers or any kind of data on the type of skill sets, degrees, licenses, that they are seeking, and the way I'm thinking about it is from licenses to community college degrees to four year degrees, to PhD, even masters and PhDs. What are you seeing out there as the, the breakdown of those requirements? [SPEAKER CHANGES] One thing we did with our 1100 Program was to ask them what type of skills they have most interest in and where they're having the most difficulty filling those positions, and they've shared that with us, so that's gonna be part of the data that we're putting together that we hope to share within the next probably two or three months we'll be rolling that out to the appropriate people. So we'll have a more update gathering of data to share once we put all that together. So we've looked at that and asked them, where are you finding, where are the shortcomings? One of the issues we're finding is not just the technical skills but also soft skills, where companies are telling us we can’t get the right number of people to come in and have an interest in joining us or staying with us, or attending every day, or things of that nature. So we're trying to address those issues as well with programs supported with the community colleges and DPI and the workforce board. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Could you speak to that just a little bit about how the, the new kind of mission and relevancy works? How your relationships are going with the department of public instruction, the community colleges, and the UNC system? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, I'll be glad to. One is that in our, our relationship as far as NCWorks, NCWorks was actually a collaboration between community college and commerce. So we entered into an agreement there a year ago to talk about the commitment between those two groups, and we're doing that, and with DPI. So the projects that we work on on a very regular basis, we meet, I'm, I'm gonna step out on a limb and say we have conversations at least once a week with those collaborative groups if not once every two weeks to talk about different initiatives that we have under way. We've entered into programs to emphasize career pathways about how we move from K through 12 up through the community college level into employment. We were also engaged with the University. I'm very pleased to say that for the first time in anyone's history or knowledge, we've been invited by the University of North Carolina system to meet with them and explain to them what we do in Workforce. That's the first time that's happened, so we've actually met with the 16 or 17 universities through a meeting that they have about once a quarter to talk about the impact of Workforce. So that's the first time we've been invited to the table there and we've done that. So that's, that is part of our progress. That's where we're headed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any other questions. Okay, thank you so much for all the good information. Thank you all for coming. Please come back next Wednesday at 12 o'clock. The next meeting will be community colleges.