Gov. Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina educators now have access to an improved online tool to help them connect students with opportunities to explore potential careers. The work-based learning tool, called “The Navigator,” brings together members of the business, education, and workforce development communities in a space where they can post, search for and measure work-based learning opportunities. The newest version of the Navigator Tool offers improved user experience and new features where employers list virtual and in-person work-based learning activities.
“Opportunities available through the Navigator can help students discover career paths and help employers increase the pipeline of talent.” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce, and I encourage North Carolina employers to join this effort to nurture the next generation of well-trained workers.”
The original Navigator platform was developed and launched in 2018 through a partnership between the Governor’s Office, Fidelity Investments, and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). Funding for design and development of the new Navigator 3.0 was supported by both NCBCE and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. NCBCE is a nonprofit housed in the Governor’s Office that connects business and education leaders. Educators, counselors, and job coaches then go online to select opportunities for their students with no cost to employers or schools to participate.
“The Navigator is critical for connecting underrepresented populations with opportunities in our state’s key industries, while growing the state’s talent pipeline,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “To lead the nation in work-based learning, our employers, educators, and students must have access to one another — and that’s what the Navigator offers.”
The Navigator 3.0 has several new features aimed at making the platform as easy to use as possible for local businesses, including instant messaging with educators, analytics reports documenting community engagement, and the ability to streamline users from the same company. These new features are designed to make it easier educators and business representatives to coordinate and help employers better track demand for their work-based learning opportunities.
“The Navigator is an easy way for business leaders to get involved in schools across North Carolina. I encourage all employers to join the Navigator and offer to be a guest speaker or to participate in a career fair. Students are our future workforce. It is important to share stories about the many different careers available with the hopes of inspiring them,” said Lilyn Hester, NCBCE Chair.
The Navigator is included in the First in Talent strategic plan, released by the NC Department of Commerce, as a valuable tool for students, educators, and employers, and needed to achieve the goal of preparing North Carolina’s workforce for success by leading the nation in work-based learning engagement. The Navigator was also highlighted in the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices Case Study.
“Connecting students with work-based learning opportunities is more important than ever,” said Catherine Truitt, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I have deemed 2022 ‘Year of the Workforce’ to highlight the need for more intentional connection between career development in K-12 education and career opportunities. The updated NCBCE Navigator tool helps connect students with career resources via an easy-to-use platform. Plus, the new business connect feature ensures that businesses signing up on Navigator are directly linked to the districts of their choice. It is a win-win for employers and schools.”