Piedmont Triad (NC) Lifelong Learning Initiative
Champion Institution: The Piedmont Triad Partnership
Over the past decade, the economy of North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad region has shifted gradually from well-paying low-skill jobs in tobacco, textiles, furniture manufacturing and agriculture to higher-wage, higher-skill, knowledge-intensive jobs.
Survival and prosperity in this increasingly competitive global marketplace requires employers to recruit or develop employees with high-level skills, including critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork. Unfortunately, the economic history, traditions and culture place the region at a disadvantage in responding quickly.
One leader told DCA, “What we need to do is change the region’s economic DNA – in a hurry.”
To do so, DCA was enlisted to engage educators, literacy providers, employers, workforce developers, economic developers and communications experts to develop a plan and partnership to change attitudes and behaviors across multiple generations about the central importance of education in their personal advancement.
DCA worked with more than 100 regional leaders to create an overall plan of action, and then a group of top communications professionals to develop a detailed communications effort that focuses on non-English speakers, displaced adult workers, adolescents and young adults, and parents, grandparents and others who influence the educational choices of their families. The campaign features mass communication messages through television, radio and the web, as well as the efforts of dozens of community partners who promote the campaign to their constituents.