Community-Campus Partnership Provides $20,000 Grant for Workforce Development Data Project in Lenoir County

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Will Lambe is the Director of the Community & Economic Development Program and the Community-Campus Partnership.

The Community-Campus Partnership (CCP) at UNC-Chapel Hill, a campus-wide initiative to forge effective partnerships with economically distressed communities in North Carolina, has awarded a $20,000 grant to Douglas Lauen, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy at UNC-Chapel Hill, to support workforce development policymaking in Lenoir County, North Carolina. Lauen will work with Lenoir County Schools and other partners to link databases between institutions; the project goal is to produce data analyses that will inform workforce development and education reform.

In order to assess the effectiveness of interventions put into place in a community’s schools, educators and workforce development leaders need to be able to measure outcomes for students once they leave high school. At present, secondary and post-secondary schools have data on students and programs, but that information is not linked.

CCP grant funds will enable Dr. Lauen and his team to first work with community leaders to identify their most pressing questions about the outcomes of their programs. Examples might include the following: What percentage of students who received passing grades in high school math are taking remedial math in college? What percentage of students who passed an end of course test are taking remedial math in college? UNC researchers will assemble a database linking secondary and post-secondary education data and will perform statistical analyses in order to answer the identified questions.

“Lenoir County has a wealth of highly capable educators and policymakers who are dedicated to helping their students succeed in school, work, and higher education,” said Lauen. “My job is to identify and gather the information that will help them meet their workforce development goals.”

The Community-Campus Partnership offers small grants ranging from $500 to $20,000 to full-time faculty, staff, or students of UNC-Chapel Hill to support projects that align with local priorities in Caswell and/or Lenoir counties. Projects must build local capacity, skills, or knowledge to address current and future challenges in the areas of community and economic development, education, infrastructure, or public health; and/or improve the livability and viability of local communities.

To learn more about CCP or additional funding opportunities, visit, or contact Kendra Cotton, project director, at 919.843.7736 or

Will Lambe authored the NC Rural Center report, Small Towns, Big Ideas, and he served as Director of the Community and Economic Development Program at the School of Government from 2009 to 2014.

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