Workforce & Education

Workforce & Education

#3 competitive labor environment area development 2021#1 largest manufacturing workforce in the southeast31,000+STEM degrees annually


Martin Marietta

Ward Nye, chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta, describes why North Carolina is perfectly suited for businesses to thrive.

Brains, Brawn & Business-Friendly Wages
Highly educated and skilled workers are abundant in the Tar Heel State.

A diverse Right-to-Work state, North Carolina boasts an impressive array of vocationally trained workers and those with advanced degrees. Our pool of 470,000+ manufacturing employees is the largest in the region, and our talent pipeline is full of roughly 165,000+ postsecondary degree and certificate recipients each year. North Carolina also has a cost of living that’s below the national average and a high personal satisfaction rate, meaning our workforce and businesses can take advantage of everything our state has to offer.

Renowned Universities & Community Colleges
Elite higher education institutions across the state power our workforce.

North Carolina has 52 colleges and universities, among which are three Tier 1 research universities at the cutting edge of education — Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. The publicly funded university system draws students from all over the world to its 17 institutions. The state also has the highest Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) enrollment in the country. Additionally, NC enrolls more than 570,000+ students each year at the 58 campus community college system state-wide, offering some of the most comprehensive and advanced vocational and technical programs in the U.S. In fact, every NC resident lives within a 30-minute drive of a community college, making high-quality education accessible to the state’s growing workforce.

NCWorks Customized Training Program
Providing custom training and recruiting services for North Carolina businesses.

The North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and North Carolina’s Department of Commerce developed NCWorks, a free, customized job training and recruiting program for new and expanding businesses. NCWorks offers comprehensive training support ranging from NCCCS’s extensive catalogue of established programs to customized curricula tailored to address specific business needs.

4th Largest Military Workforce in the Nation
18,000+ entering the workforce annually with high-demand occupational skills.

North Carolina has the third-largest active-duty military population in the U.S. with 18,000 military personnel in the state projected to re-enter the civilian workforce each year, employees can draw on large numbers of exiting personnel with in-demand occupational skills. The majority of individuals leaving the military each year are 30 years old or younger and have in-demand experience in fields such as engineering, information technology, healthcare, communications, research and more.