SANFORD, N.C. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton will visit Sanford next week to discuss why communities need to focus on developing an adaptable, skilled workforce — and how they might do it.
Dalton, a Democrat, will bring his insights to Sanford on Nov. 9 as featured speaker for the Committee of 100 quarterly luncheon.
With business and industry in constant flux, finding ways to prepare workers and keep them on the leading edge of change has become a key concern.
Just in the last few decades, entire new industries have emerged. Old ones have disappeared. Technology has advanced beyond what most could have imagined.
The one constant: It still takes people to make everything work. But what people do — and how they do it — keeps transforming.
"Clearly, that's happening with all of our companies here," says Bob Heuts, director of Lee County Economic Development. "And it's not going to stop. If anything, the pace of change will continue to accelerate."
As a six-term state senator and leader in economic development, Dalton has spent much of his political career working to lay the foundation for economic growth and knows what innovations are on the way now from schools, community colleges and companies throughout the state.
Among other things, Dalton authored the Innovative Education Act, which laid the foundation for North Carolina's early colleges. Early colleges customize learning, offer ninth-grade students an opportunity to complete their high school diploma and a two-year community college degree in a total of five years, and prepare students for 21st-century jobs.
In "Riding Waves of Change," Dalton will explain why a world-class workforce is essential to compete effectively and what specific obstacles individual companies and entire communities need to navigate for success.
Then, based on his work across the state, he suggests ways to adapt locally and prosper in a turbulent world.
"I am determined to build on our state's historic legacy as a place that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth," says Dalton. "The truth is that we can't talk about future economic growth or a prosperous future without talking about education.
"North Carolina has been a long time leader in job creation because of our deep commitment to creating a job-ready workforce."
Heuts believes Dalton's insights could be valuable for local leaders.
"Workforce development has always been one of the lieutenant governor's priorities," Heuts says. "He hears what's happening around the state and knows what issues are being debated by policy boards. What he tells us could help Lee County adapt and thrive."
"Riding Waves of Change" and all Committee of 100 luncheons are open to the public. The cost, including lunch, is $15 per person for the general public and $10 per person for members. For reservations or information, contact Jane Wesley at the Lee County Economic Development Corp., 919-774-8439 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Committee of 100 is an organization of business leaders committing time, energy and resources to enhance the economic well-being of Lee County and its citizens. Corporate and individual members assist the Lee County Economic Development Corp. by establishing venture capital projects to expand local industry, helping to promote economic growth and enhancing working relationships among government, business and the community.