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The Leadership Program

Prepare to a leader in Workforce Development

“A successful workforce development leadership program must focus on the skill attainment of the leaders. The Leadership Initiative will provide education to our future workforce leaders that will help guide the policies, principles, and priorities for workforce development for the State of North Carolina and beyond.”

-Rodney Carson, President
North Carolina Association of Workforce Development Boards

The North Carolina Workforce Leadership Academy’s program is an in-depth, comprehensive, professional development program for those engaged in workforce or economic development activities and leadership. The program is designed to build strong, committed, and capable leaders who understand the economic conditions of their community, their neighbors, and their state to leverage the skills and capacity of their community for economic opportunities as they emerge.

The academy differs from other training opportunities in the state and nationally. Currently, the training opportunities are focused on the day-to-day aspects of working as an employee in the workforce development field. This training is primarily directed towards preparing employees to help residents obtain employment. By focusing on developing leaders within the workforce development community, the academy focuses on preparing attendees to participate on and lead workforce development boards, engage with economic developers, and create initiatives that will further the entire community.

The Certified Workforce Leader Program

The Initiative’s program is an intensive five day professional training program. The curriculum is comprised of four instructional courses. Two of the courses are focus on development foundational, core expertise in policy and leadership within workforce development. The two core courses are:

  • Introduction to Workforce Development Policy
  • Advanced Workforce Development Leadership

The remaining two courses student take in the program are electives. The current electives being offered in the program cover topics such as:

  • Network Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Data Analysis
  • Program Evaluation
  • Effective Communication
  • Economic Development
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Classes in the program are led by faculty from universities throughout the University of North Carolina System. A central component to each course is the incorporation of experienced practitioners. These experienced professionals are able to use case studies from their own work experiences to demonstrate the connection between course material and the practice of leading in workforce development.

In addition to the class sessions, the program includes homework assignments which give students the opportunity to practice applying the principles they have learned from the classroom. There is a program fee of $2,245 for enrollment in the program.

Career Preparation

Completion of the Initiative’s program and the earning of the Workforce Leadership Institute’s CWL credential prepares graduates for careers as leaders within workforce development. This includes positions as directors of workforce boards, strategic workforce planners, economic developers, job developers, educational leaders, and employer consultants, among others.


The North Carolina Workforce Leadership Academy is a professional training program. Students enrolled in the program do not receive academic credit for the courses they attend.