UNC-Chapel Hill Receives Funding to Innovate Employability Tools for Younger Workers

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received $200,000 from the Golden LEAF Foundation to support the development and design of online employment skills training for Opportunity Youth.

The program is a part of Carolina Across 100 and will reach young adults aged 16-24 years old in the 37 counties focused on by the "Our State, Our Work” collaboratives.

“Golden LEAF is pleased to support the ongoing work of the Our State Our Work collaborative,” said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. “This work is critical to the long-term economic advancement of rural and distressed areas and will increase the pool of employable workers by targeting a population not currently enrolled in school or employed. Golden LEAF prioritizes workforce projects that increase the pool of qualified individuals with skills aligned to North Carolina businesses’ current and future needs.”

The funding will support the development and design of training modules, including data-gathering with youth and employers, program marketing, salaries, travel, and contracted services.

“Thanks to this generous support from Golden LEAF, we will be able to engage a variety of experts from tech and online education as well as utilize data collected directly from youth and employers to develop high-impact, user-centered training modules to fill this critical skills gap,” said Jess Dorrance, ncIMPACT Research Director.

Tools developed through Golden LEAF funding will be rolled out to the Our State, Our Work collaboratives during their engagement in the program.

The 13 community teams assembled for the 18-month “Our State, Our Work” initiative began their collaborative work in June 2022. "Our State, Our Work” was one of six programs awarded funding in February 2023 through Golden LEAF’s Open Grants Program. The Board of Directors awarded a total of $1,549,997 in Open Grants Program projects to support job creation and economic investment, agriculture, and workforce preparedness in New Hanover, Pasquotank, Pender, Rowan, and Wilkes counties.


About Carolina Across 100

Carolina Across 100 is a five-year initiative focused on aiding community-driven recovery and building sustainable efforts in all 100 North Carolina counties by providing human resources, data insights, coaching, facilitation, coordination efforts, and program design.


About Golden LEAF

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For more than 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, and rural areas of the state by helping create 67,000 jobs, more than $720 million in new payrolls, and more than 95,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.