WOrkforce Transformation and development
Over the next three to five years, and well into the future, the Fort Bragg region will have thousands of civilian and government employment opportunities available ranging from construction trades to hospitality and from healthcare to IT and defense (Fort Bragg Region 2010 Hot Jobs). There was, and still is, strong recognition that this BRAC-induced growth region faces both challenges and opportunities in physical and human infrastructure arenas.
In July 2007, a $5 million Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Pilot, Research, and Demonstration Grant from the US Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration (DOL/ETA) allowed the Fort Bragg Regional Alliance (FBRA)/BRAC Regional Task Force (BRACRTF) to engage in an innovative and comprehensive 4-year Workforce Demonstration Program for the 11-county BRAC growth impacted region. The FBRA/BRACRTF developed a broad transformational vision that engaged the workforce development, economic development, education, and business communities along with other key stakeholders to accomplish the following:
- Implement long-term regional planning to improve the region’s quality of life and ensure planned growth;
- Establish a community partnership with Fort Bragg for long-term sustainability and support;
- Transform the region’s workforce to meet the needs of emerging, existing and expanding industries, such as homeland security, military preparedness, modeling & simulation, allied health care, construction, education, social services, and information technologies; and
- Transform the regional economy using growth at Fort Bragg as the catalyst to attract defense related companies.
The Workforce Demonstration Grant Implementation Plan had two components:
- Implement a comprehensive data collection, outreach, education, and analysis effort, which established the foundation for the All American Center for Workforce Innovation (AACWI); and
- Establish the AACWI as a transformational mechanism to create specific career tracks within and implement initiatives for each of the 10 program areas outlined in the initial grant.
All American Center for Workforce Innovation (AACWI)
- Promotes employment, education, growth, and economic development in all 11 counties that are part of the regional economy;
- Allows the region and the state to leverage the growing and inter-related military and homeland security industry clusters by engaging private and public sector and academic organizations in such activities as research and development; and
- Helps discern specific occupational, employment, education, and training requirements for the emerging industries, create career tracks, and share job and program information with the region’s employment and training community, school systems, community colleges, universities, businesses, and citizens to create the talent pool for the present and future.
The cornerstone of the region’s workforce program, AACWI, developed out of a need to train the region’s workforce to qualify for over 19,000 jobs that will be generated on and off the installation as a result of the move of U.S. Forces Command and U. S. Army Reserve Command from Fort McPherson to Fort Bragg. Funded by the BRACRTF as a virtual and physical presence in our region, the AACWI officially opened in June 2008 at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) in conjunction with FTCC’s state-of-the-art interactive i3D Global Center of Excellence for simulation-based learning (trains modeling and simulation professionals for both military and civilian applications). Click here for to read a complete description of the two innovative strategies used to establish the Center and for information regarding the Center's Steering Group, Advisory Committees, and the Advisory Group.
Beginning in September 2008, the BRAC RTF established a connection between the i3D hub at Fayetteville Technical Community College and the region by providing portable i3D theater systems to seven community colleges and installing enhanced versions at over 30 high schools and middle schools in the 12 regional public school systems. The connected regional sites also have access to an up-to-date image repository for classroom education and training purposes.
June 3, 2008 - Ribbon cutting of the i3DCenter and AACWI at Fayetteville Technical Community College.
Career Connection Pipeline: A virtual and interactive self-assessment and career exploration platform demonstration project was launched initially for Wounded Warriors. This pilot initiative was funded through the DOL Workforce Demonstration Program grant and was expanded to other populations such as exiting military, military spouses, and the general public in January 2010 with the launch of PipelineNC.com. It involves seamless and on-line self-assessment, career exploration, tracking to education and training providers, and connections to employers and job opportunities, as well as various social networking communities. The objectives are to help students and job-seekers of all ages to make better career, education/training, and employment decisions and employers to make better hiring decisions. This will help better align, integrate, and transform the worker and skills pipeline across the region and supply the talent for higher-pay/skill/demand jobs. Click here to watch the PipelineNC video and here to view the Fort Bragg Region's 2010 Hot Jobs List.
A Job Connection Initiative Task Force was formed in late 2007 and worked on developing a one-stop portal for job seekers and employers initially in the construction/skilled trades industry cluster. Entities such as the Employment Security Commission, JobLinks, NC Military Business Center/MatchForce.org, Army Career Alumni Program, NC DOL Apprenticeship Program, Army Community Services/Employment Readiness Program, community college trades programs, and public school career technical education programs came together with prime and sub-contractors to encourage and facilitate local hiring. A regional joint JobLink and other service provider pamphlet was created for employers and distributed. The www.buildbragg.com website was developed through the support of the FBRA/BRACRTF, NC DOC/DWD, NCMBC, and Hensel Phelps (the prime design-build contractor for the construction of the FORSCOM/USARC headquarters). This tool allowed for the identification and use of mostly regional North Carolinian craft workers, sub-contractors, and materials suppliers for that project at a great cost and time savings to Hensel Phelps.
Commissioned Studies to assist with making early decisions on planning and project implementation:
- The Economic Impact of BRAC on the 11 Member Counties: Bridging the Gap for Economically Disadvantaged Populations, funded in part by a DOL demonstration grant with matching in-kind support provided by Fayetteville State University and University of North Carolina (UNC) at Pembroke, assessed and made specific actionable recommendations on how to bridge the gaps that economically disadvantaged populations face in benefitting from coming positive BRAC economic impacts.
- The FBRA/BRACRTF also used the DOL WDP grant to conduct a resource inventory assessment and gap analysis (based on US DOL’s ‘Illuminate’ guidelines) of the existing and emerging defense and homeland security cluster in the BRAC region and produce the regional strategic implementation plan. The project team included TDA, Booz Allen Hamilton, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government, and Futures, Inc. The full report titled A Strategy to Grow the Fort Bragg Region’s Defense & Homeland Security Economy was published in January 2010. Recognizing the need to bring critical information about security clearances to our current and future workforces, the Fort Bragg Regional Alliance invites you to use a resource developed by our friend’s at the Fort Meade Alliance in Maryland. High school students, parents, educators, business and our region’s college and workforce applicants can use this website to gain insight into this important employment qualification in high demand throughout our 11-county region and state of North Carolina. Click here for information about Project Scope.
Energizing Entrepreneurism: A series of five sessions were held at various locales throughout the region from early 2010 to mid-2011 in order to help build the infrastructure needed to better support entrepreneurs and small businesses in the 11 counties. The FBRA/BRACRTF partnered with the NC Rural Economic Development Center to offer these county-level team building and information sharing sessions. The US DOL grant was used to fund them and this was matched by in-kind contributions by the Rural Center. Participants included representatives from such entities as the community college Small Business Centers, the public university Small Business and Technology Development Centers, the Chambers of Commerce, Workforce Development Boards, NC Defense Business Association, Economic Development agencies, Community Development Corporations, NC Military Business Center, non-profit organizations and local entrepreneurs themselves. As a result of this 2 year initiative, that will continue less formally, county teams of subject matter experts were formed in order to assist more entrepreneurs and small business owners as they are key to both employment and economic development. Click here to view related documents and presentations.
All American Gateway Workforce Region Collaborative: In 2008, the four regional Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) joined with the FBRA/BRACRTF to form the All American Gateway Workforce Region Collaborative, via a start-up and planning grant from the NC Department of Commerce’s Division of Workforce Development, The four BRAC impact region WDBs are Cumberland County; Pee Dee/RCS (Moore, Montgomery, Richmond); Triangle South (Harnett, Lee, Sampson); and Lumber River (Robeson, Bladen, Scotland, Hoke). These four Local Areas partnered with the FBRA/BRACRTF to host the first-ever joint WDB meeting, install video-conferencing equipment in rooms for regional training and meetings, and launch the All American GatewayWorks website: www.allamericangateway.com. This site will also host the regional educational service provider locator pages and capability. The ultimate goal of this collaboration is to create a seamless workforce development and one-stop system for job-seekers and employers alike across the region.
Lifelong Learning and Literacy: A major initiative of the All American Gateway Workforce Region Collaborative involves the promotion of Lifelong Learning and Literacy. Various studies, including those commissioned by the FBRA/BRACRTF, indicate that skill levels of too many students, workers and job-seekers are not up to the level required by employers or even everyday life. Thus, collaborative members have worked to help raise the level of awareness about this issue by hosting two regional lifelong learning and learning summits since mid-2010, and cataloguing the pre-k – 20 educational assets available across the region. September 2011 will see the official launch of a social awareness marketing campaign regarding education and skills development: "Get ‘NOT’ Out of Your Life”. This launch will coincide with National Literacy Month and National Library Card Sign-Up Month. Additional partners and stakeholders in this effort include the 13 regional colleges, Smart Start/More-at-Four/day care centers, non-profit community- and faith-based organizations, and area businesses, among others. The goal of this campaign is to change the regional culture, attitudes and behaviors regarding learning and to increase the respect, appreciation and reverence for education.
Healthcare Workers: The FBRA/BRACRTF has also been involved in three efforts to increase the number of Healthcare workers in the BRAC region.
- The Bragg Alliance was a founding member of the Southern NC Allied Healthcare Regional Skills Partnership. Funded by two grants from the NC DOC/DWD, this 3 year project brought together stakeholders such as the regional Allied Health Education Center, WDBs, K-20 educators, and area medical centers and hospitals to help build a better pipeline of local skilled workers for the growing healthcare industry. Those occupations experiencing the greatest shortages – namely Physical Therapy Assistants – were targeted and initiatives were developed to prepare, retain, and employ more of them in the BRAC region.
- The Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Assistance funded a project to develop strategies to recruit and retain certain medical professionals for the BRAC region, including surgeons, dentists, psychiatrists, and other specialists. An action plan was designed in June 2011 based largely on inputs from national and regional subject matter experts, many of who were actually employed by area medical facilities and/or organizations tasked with recruiting medical specialists to this region.
The FBRA/BRTF formed an adhoc task force to help deal with the challenges associated with substance abuse and mental health service provision across the 11-counties. The 2007 Comprehensive Regional Growth Plan had determined that, like certain surgeons and dentists, the region lacked some of the trained staff and provider infrastructure needed to properly treat these key medical and community-impact issues as well. Subject matter expert members represent local/regional and state and national level entities from various sectors.
General Hugh Shelton Leadership Challenge: In early 2008, the joint FBRA/BRTF and NCSU Task Force joined with FSU in order to bring the acclaimed General Hugh Shelton Leadership Challenge program to this region. Prior to this joint effort, the program had only been available at NC State University in Raleigh. This is a one week, residential experiential leadership development program for high school students. The first class was held in June 2010 at FSU for 22 total participants, with 12 from the BRAC region of which 9 were sponsored by FBRA/BRACRTF DOL-funded scholarships. The June 2011 class had 10 BRAC region participants all of which were sponsored by FBRA/BRACRTF DOL-funded scholarships. This project helped to actualize the Leadership Development program area of the WDP grant proposal and Implementation Plan.
Research and White Papers: See Bragg Alliance / BRAC-RTF ‘Research’ associated with Workforce Development, Education, and Healthcare.