Is your community ready to
lead the way for our state?

Communities that want to apply for the program must
submit an online application by April 25th. 

Application Explainer Video
Q&A Session Recording

Selected community collaboratives will serve as statewide leaders in implementing positive strategies to significantly expand and deepen education and employment pathways for Opportunity Youth and will pilot practices that benefit communities across the state.

Program Basics

Local communities must apply as teams to participate in this two-year program focused on providing the skills that connect opportunity youth to living wage employment. The teams will serve as a network across the state. The network will:

Learn More

Network collaboratives will also receive these benefits

Community Selection

Through an application process a panel of Carolina Across 100 representatives will select 20 communities to participate in the two-year program. Communities may apply as individual county teams, a municipal-county partnership, or a multi-county collaborative. Communities will be selected based on the following criteria:

Team Formation

After selection for the program, the core team identified in the application will identify the full community team (local collaborative). The collaborative will include a diverse team of community stakeholders, all committed to active participation in the two-year program. ncIMPACT Initiative will assist communities with stakeholder identification to build the collaborative team. Given differences between communities, the composition of the teams will vary.


Each community collaborative must be prepared to meet monthly over the course of the program to develop and implement a cogent strategy that (1) leverages existing assets and activities, (2) increases the educational attainment, workforce preparation, and re-engagement pathways for Opportunity Youth, and (3) improves equity in educational attainment and living wage employment opportunities.


UNC-CH is conducting this initiative to ensure that the insights generated on the campus reach all 100 counties across our state, especially given the ongoing hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.  “Our State, Our Work: Connecting Young Adults with their Future,” is the first program of this larger initiative. It seeks to connect young adults to employment. UNC-CH will spend the next two years focused on expanding and deepening education and employment pathways for young adults between the ages of 16-24 who are out of school and work.  

Our scholars, staff, and students are excited to partner with and learn from our state’s diverse communities, respond meaningfully to their opportunities and challenges, and exemplify the University’s mission to “enhance the quality of life for all people in the State.” The campus is proud to meet this timely opportunity to offer life-transforming support to these young adults, contribute to the importantmyFutureNC statewide goal of increasing the number of residents with high-quality credentials or post-secondary degrees, and strengthen employers and communities across our state desperate for skilled workers. 


Some of the resources provided will include marketing tools and other university resources to help promote the existing work happening in your community.

In some places across the state, wonderful, work is being led, but isn’t having the greatest possible impact on Opportunity Youth. The initiative will evaluate if program(s) are addressing Opportunity Youths’ needs, and if so, why are they under-utilized? This process will utilize feedback from focus groups to help understand barriers to access so that we may best support and promote the existing programs in your community.

Up to 20 communities will be selected to participate in the two-year program. “Communities” may apply as individual county teams, a municipal-county partnership, or a multi-county collaborative.

Who can provide letters of support is not limited. There are no specific rules about who the letters can come from as long as there is a demonstration of commitment from the key stakeholders and a commitment of a core team.

“Our State, Our Work” is a two-year program. If your community is selected, you are part of the program for the full two years. We are still using the results from the listening campaign to determine what other programs will be launched in order to be most responsive to current context of the state.

There will be $10k allocated for project managers. All the other resources are available for free to communities. While we have not yet figured out the total in-kind amount, there may also be up to $20k available for mini-pilots to test out innovative ideas and interventions.

Yes, in addition to the peer learning of the forums, there will be site visits, and this is where most of the campus to community benefit will come.

The measure of “success” will vary by community and by youth themselves. ncIMPACT does not have a standardized measure of “success.”  

The initiative will instead prioritize what the selected communities themselves consider a “success” after we have been able to learn from these communities what they want and need. The initiative is meant to be built on co-design, we rely on these communities because they know best what they need and how they define “success.”  

If your team’s efforts in your community are broad enough to include youth at high risk of disconnection in addition to Opportunity Youth, that is wonderful. However, the goal of the initiative is to create one system that works for all young people across the continuum, rather than multiple systems that may address these two groups separately.

Get Involved

Join us in helping support Opportunity Youth across our state and providing employers with the skilled labor they need to ensure a healthy, vibrant, and resilient economy. Get your questions answered about the program and application process by attending our Questions & Answers Webinar on April 12 at 11:00 a.m. A recording of this session will be posted on this page. Applications are due by April 25. Please contact our team if we can be of assistance!

Application Explainer Video
Q&A Session Recordiing

Contact Us

Jessica Dorrance
Research Director
ncIMPACT Initiative