Q&A with myFutureNC President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilia Holden

Q&A with myFutureNC President and Chief Executive Officer Cecilia Holden

February 16, 2023

The statewide nonprofit, myFutureNC, focuses on educational attainment through a cross-sector collaboration among North Carolina leaders in education, business, and government. This organization sees the critical need for North Carolina to set an ambitious target for postsecondary attainment in the state, identify places in the education pipeline where students are being lost, and identify solutions that leaders from across the education continuum should collectively advocate for.

The myFutureNC goal is to continuously strive to close the gap between postsecondary attainment for individuals in North Carolina. It’s myFutureNC vision that by 2030, two million North Carolinians will have a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree.

The President and CEO for myFutureNC, Cecilia Holden, has previously served as the Chief of Staff for the North Carolina Department of Commerce and Director of Government and Community Affairs for the State Board of Education. As a strong education and workforce preparedness partner for North Carolina, we asked Holden to share more about myFutureNC.

What are the mission and goals of myFutureNC?
The vision of myFutureNC is that North Carolina employers have the necessary skilled workforce to meet business demands and every individual in the labor market earns a family-sustaining wage in a personally fulfilling career, positioning our state to remain economically competitive now and into the future.

The mission of myFutureNC is to promote a shared vision for an education-to-work continuum across North Carolina – from early childhood through adulthood – and aligns and supports local, regional, and state actions that will dramatically increase attainment of industry-valued credentials and postsecondary degrees. myFutureNC promotes work of all sectors and helps find and fill gaps to drive educational access and attainment outcomes that align with and fulfill employer needs.

What partners is myFutureNC working with to fulfill its mission and goals?
Among the many partners myFutureNC works closely with are its Board of Directors and Advisory Board of Commissioners, business and industries in North Carolina, economic development and workforce boards and commissions, school systems, colleges and universities, elected officials, and faith-based communities.

We also work with the following generous funders, including our founding funders John M. Belk Endowment and the Goodnight Educational Foundation among others, including the C.D. Spangler Foundation, Duke Energy, Lumina Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Microsoft, Z. Smith Reynolds, GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, John William Pope Foundation, Truist Foundation, Credit-Suisse, Dogwood Health Trust, and Simple Gifts Fund.

What initiatives are currently in place to grow the attainment of post-secondary degrees?
NC Reconnect is a community college adult learner initiative, made possible through a collaboration with the John M. Belk Endowment. NC Reconnect aims to engage adult learners and improve student retention – specifically among adult learners – in North Carolina. The initiative is designed to help former students successfully navigate the complexities of re-enrollment and re-entry, while developing a plan to complete a degree or credential.

NC Workforce Credentials Council is a partnership of the NC Office of the Governor, NC Community College System, NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Department of Commerce, NC Association of Workforce Development Boards, and myFutureNC to identify high-demand competencies and the valued non-degree credentials that put learners on a pathway to sustaining wage jobs.

Partnership with ncIMPACT on the 15 Local Educational Attainment Collaboratives, which is a two-year pilot program that supports collaboratives across North Carolina that seek to significantly increase the number of students successfully complete post-secondary credentials of value in the workforces: a degree, credential, or certification.

First in FAFSA campaign North Carolina First in FAFSA is a myFutureNC Collaborative that focuses on increasing the number of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA.

NC 10 Initiative is a partnership with the NC Chamber to bring business and the state’s HBCUs together to identify areas for potential partnerships.

In addition to these, many other local initiatives are underway across the state such as K-64, STEM East, Ramp East, NC Tech Paths, and so many more.

What initiatives have been recently announced to help meet myFutureNC’s goals?
myFutureNC is endorsing the proposal by DPI and the State Board of Education for career plans for every middle and high school student. Another policy recommendation called RAISE Scholarships (Reinforcement and Investment to Strengthen the Economy) helps students pay for short-term, industry-valued credentials.

How can individuals support the mission and goals of myFutureNC?
Learn more about our work through the 2022 myFutureNC NC State of Educational Attainment Report. To get involved in the work, reach out to the myFutureNC Regional Impact Manager serving your local prosperity zone. Contact information by region can be found by clicking here.

County by county:

  • Understand how your county is currently performing and opportunities for growth by reviewing your county attainment profile that can be found here.
  • Encourage all local county partners to adopt their local recommended goal that ultimately feeds into the larger two million by 2030 goal. Local goals can be found at the top left corner of each county profile that can be found here.
  • Encourage all county level partners to put a plan of action in place for how to reach their local goals, and then execute on that plan in alignment with their local north star.

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