By Scott Witten - [email protected]



PINEHURST — The Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University will head to the area next week as part of a statewide FutureWork Prosperity Tour.

Institute officials plan to tour North Carolina’s eight Prosperity Zones. The Sandhills Regional Prosperity Zone includes Scotland, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson and Sampson counties.

The regional meeting will include information and resources from the 31st Emerging Issues Forum, FutureWork, where more than 1,100 business, education and policy leaders gathered to consider the question: As technology and demography shift, how can North Carolina prepare today to create enough good jobs for tomorrow?

The Institute engages with local high schools, higher ed institutions, policy leaders and businesses to share region-specific data and insights from the IEI FutureWork Disruption Index for North Carolina and highlight county-by-county vulnerability statistics.

The Institute is expected to challenge the groups to take a hard look at whether their regional talent development system is “FutureWork ready.”

“Emerging Issues Forum participants were stunningly clear in their feedback to IEI this February: North Carolina will not be ready for the future of work unless more leaders understand the volume and pace of change that lies just beyond the horizon,” said Anita Brown–Graham, IEI director. “Since the Forum, we have worked with sector leaders to redouble our efforts to identify high-impact opportunities to build FutureWork-ready talent development systems. Now it is time to raise awareness across the regions of our state.”

The Sandhills Region — where four out of its 10 counties are among North Carolina’s top 20 most vulnerable to jobs disruption due to automation—is projected to lose 23 percent of its existing total wages, resulting in an economic loss of greater than $2 billion.

According to the latest figures from the state Department of Commerce, Scotland County had the highest unemployment rate at 9.5 percent for April. The statewide rate was 5 percent, according to the Commerce Department. Also statewide, unemployment rates decreased in 95 of North Carolina’s counties increased in three, and remained unchanged in two.

The Sandhills meeting will be held Tuesday at the Dempsey Student Center on the campus of Sandhills Community College, beginning at 9 a.m.

Guest speakers include Donnie Charleston, economic policy manager for Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State University.and Pat Corso, executive director for Moore County Partners in Progress.

By Scott Witten

[email protected]

Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023

Reach Scott Witten at 910-506-3023

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