RALEIGH -- Colleges across the UNC system will soon turn their focus to meeting the state's current and future workforce needs.
The UNC Board of Governors is developing a strategic plan that will impact what students are learning and the way resources are divided.
"It's tougher getting jobs these days I mean you got to make a living, said N.C. State freshman Stephen Rozakis. “You can't just walk into a place and get a job anymore."
To help students like Rozakis combat the challenging job market, the board is developing a new strategic plan. The board hasn't updated in the plan in five years.
"The state and national economy is in a different place," said Board of Governors Chairman Peter Hans, who said the plan will tailor college courses to meet the needs of employers. "Provide them with the critical thinking skills, the ability to learn and adapt in an economy that's very different from our parents economy."
The plan also aims to increase the number of people in the state with four-year degrees.
"So improving graduation rates is an important component,” said UNC System President Tom Ross. “Well to increase graduation rates, you need to increase retention rates."
Hans said political, business and educational leaders will work together to develop a strategy.
"Settle on common goals. a plan that each of these sectors are invested in," he said.
With the UNC system operating on a lean budget, the committee will ensure funds are being used conservatively and there are no academic or administrative duplications.
"So that the resources that the state invests in the university go to the right places,” Hans said. “They go to educating students, preparing them for the jobs of the future."
An investment in the state's future that could open up opportunities for students.
The board wants to complete their proposal by January when the new governor and state lawmakers take office. The board wants the legislature to consider how its plan fits in with other state plans for community colleges and the K-12 system.