News & Media

Iredell EDC Participates in myFutureNC’s State of Educational Attainment Event

On February 15, 2024, Iredell EDC participated in myFutureNC’s State of Educational Attainment Southwestern Region Event at the Harris Campus of Central Piedmont Community College. The event was one of eight synchronized events across the state that provided insights and progress on the state’s educational attainment goal of two million residents, between the ages of 25 and 44, holding an industry-valued credential or college degree by 2030.

The #2Millionby2030 goal was adopted by the General Assembly and the governor of North Carolina in 2019. According to John Fraley, Board Chair of myFutureNC, “The goal serves as the state’s north star to ensure we remain economically prosperous now and in the future.”

North Carolina was named the Top State for Business for 2022 and 2023, as well as the number one state for starting a business. However, for the state to remain a competitive location for new and expanding industry, we must continue to build a skilled workforce to meet the needs of industry. “North Carolina has one of the finest educational infrastructures in the nation,” Fraley shares, “yet, we have too many high school graduates and adults not taking advantage of or who don’t even know about the training opportunities that exist that lead to higher paying jobs many employers are struggling to fill.”

As part of the annual event, myFutureNC releases an educational attainment profile for each of the 100 counties across the state and one for the State of North Carolina as a whole. The report provides each county with benchmarks of where each county is positioned in comparison to other counties and the state. Some takeaways from Iredell County’s report include: the County has grown by 4.9% in population over the past year, more than double the rate of the State of North Carolina. 54% of Iredell County’s residents 25-44 have a degree or credential, representing 25,198 individuals. Iredell County has exceeded the state in achieving a higher median household income ($73,446), greater percentage of homeownership (72%), lower child poverty rate (12.9%), greater percentage of households with broadband (78%), and a lower unemployment rate (3.4%). Some of the greatest areas of opportunity for impact include initiatives focused on guidance on career pathways, student engagement, and supporting students with resources to help them access postsecondary and credential programs.

An area of focus, according to Cecilia Holden, CEO, myFutureNC, is on the “leaky pipeline” that starts in our schools. “From a statewide perspective, the most recent data shows that for every 100 public school ninth-graders, only 30 will graduate high school on time, enroll in college on time, and then earn an industry-valued degree or certificate within six years after high school graduation. That is less than a third of high schoolers, not nearly enough to produce the talent necessary to meet the job demands.”

Fraley and Holden agree that bridging the gap and stopping the leak is more urgent than ever. In 2023, myFutureNC endorsed and successfully supported the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction in their call for a career development plan for every middle and high school student. Additionally, they requested funding for, a tool that makes high quality career exploration and information more easily accessible to students and the general public.

  Acknowledging the importance of the real work happening at the grassroots level and being locally driven, myFutureNC’s Regional Impact Manager, Senemeht Olatunji, recognized Iredell Ready, a county-wide workforce initiative for the purposes of cultivating career exploration, promoting lifelong learning, and closing the skills gap for Iredell County employers. Iredell Ready educational partners Iredell-Statesville-Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, and Mitchell Community College recognized the importance of career exploration and career planning ahead of the required legislation and introduced 5th and 6th grade students to career awareness and exploration initiatives. In addition, Iredell Ready has integrated the tool into their website to better connect students and residents in North Carolina with career options, job outlooks, wage information, and steps to get there. Iredell Ready and the work our partners are doing together to address the “leaky pipeline” is one very good answer to Holden’s closing question, “What can we do together that we cannot do alone?”


Read North Carolina’s State of Educational Attainment Report or review the Iredell County Attainment Profiles.