In 2001, Action Greensboro commissioned a report on the state of Greensboro’s economic growth. One of the key findings from this report revealed that over the course of the past decade, our city’s population had experienced a decline in the number of 18- to 34-year-olds. Meanwhile, to our east and to our west, Raleigh and Charlotte, whose numbers in that same demographic were on the up and up, were bucking the national trend toward an aging population and attracting young folks from beyond their county lines.
Action Greensboro took this as a challenge and in response, created initiatives that focus on the continuum of K-12 to career.
Made in Greensboro: A Young Professionals Guide to Greensboro
Greensboro is known for its diverse population and myriad of opportunities for young professionals. The city has a variety of entertainment and nightlife, including numerous craft breweries, live music, and dozens of unique, locally owned restaurants and retailers. While Greensboro has all of the amenities of a major city, it also boasts a low cost of living, is easy to navigate, and has more than 90 miles of trails and greenways, proving to be a relaxed urban environment you can call home.
But don’t take our word for it…
synerG, under the umbrella of Action Greensboro, is an active organization of young adults who lead initiatives with the mission to attract, engage and connect young professionals to Greensboro, North Carolina. Through our projects, synerG promotes social and professional networking, leadership opportunities and serves as a clearinghouse for information for young adults in the 21-39 year-old age demographic. synerG values the creation of opportunities and atmospheres that promote connectedness, diversity/inclusiveness and accessibility.
Learn More about synerG.
In an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, Greensboro’s unique higher education assets make a vital contribution to the city’s economy and workforce.
In November 2009, Greensboro’s business and higher education leaders formed Opportunity Greensboro, a partnership focused on economic development. College and university presidents/ chancellors and key business and civic leaders began meeting bi-monthly to develop a joint plan of work. The higher education institutions that make up Opportunity Greensboro are Bennett College, Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Guilford Technical Community College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) and University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG).
The goals of Opportunity Greensboro’s projects are to: 1) drive the local economy, particularly the creation of higher paying jobs, 2) attract more national and state resources to increase our assets, 3) enhance Greensboro’s brand as a community that is progressive and attractive to knowledge-driven companies and young professionals, and 4) create a forum for top leadership to collaborate both for the greater good of the community and to enhance each institution. Ultimately, Opportunity Greensboro identifies and acts upon opportunities to transform our wealth of educational assets into commercial success, thus creating a competitive advantage for business growth in Greensboro.
Opportunity Greensboro has accomplished several initiatives and projects through collaborative efforts, which include:
Marketing Our Story
To communicate what makes the city attractive to newcomers, Opportunity Greensboro has crafted a position built on the theme, “Opportunity thrives here; so can you.” The position statement reflects the positive outcome of Opportunity Greensboro’s collaboration and invites people to participate. Companies and organizations across the city are encouraged to articulate what enables them to thrive in Greensboro, and in turn, help businesses and people considering a move from outside the city visualize how they could thrive here as well.
The Stem Early College at NC A&T
To enhance K–12 education, Opportunity Greensboro and the Guilford County Schools worked together to create the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Early College on the campus of NC A&T State University, which opened on August 7, 2012. The STEM school offers students the opportunity to graduate from high school with 60 hours of college credit. Graduates of the STEM Early College are prepared for one of three career pathways: renewable energy, engineering, or biomedical sciences. The community raised one million dollars of private funding for start-up costs of the STEM Early College. The STEM Early College at NC A&T is designed to serve highly motivated, high-performing students with an interest in science, technology, engineering and math.
Union Square Campus
Union Square Campus is a key initiative of Opportunity Greensboro and brings together institutions currently located outside of the central business district on their own separate campuses (Cone Health, GTCC, NC A&T, and UNCG). Uniting academic programs in downtown will increase exposure for the participating institutions – and of Greensboro itself – creating visibility and interest extending beyond the immediate activity at the downtown campus. The first campus building focuses on training and education for healthcare professions (primarily nursing) and opened in August 2016. The 85,000 square foot building cost $34 million, which includes land, infrastructure, parking, and equipment. The campus is a cornerstone of the broader Union Square at South Elm project and serve as a stimulus for surrounding mixed-use private development.
Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program
With an interest in better preparing college students with talent and leadership development opportunities, Opportunity Greensboro launched the Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program in 2016. Greensboro’s ability to grow, retain and attract a well-educated and skilled work force is essential in today’s knowledge-based economy. Opportunity Greensboro is committed to improving connections between the talented local 50K+ college students and our business and leadership community, while working to better prepare these students for the 21st century workforce. The Opportunity Greensboro Fellows Program is a structured, 10-week summer program that engages college students with Greensboro through industry internships, leadership development training, and local activities to experience our city as young working professionals.
K-12 Education Efforts
In 2002, Action Greensboro established Commitment to Excellence, originally a three-year, $5-million initiative of foundations, United Way and businesses to promote excellence in Guilford County Schools. Since then, the initiatives have combined and resulted in a successful independent nonprofit, the Guilford Education Alliance.
Guilford Education Alliance
Bringing the community engagement, program and advocacy strength of GEA together with the strategic funding capacity of Business for Excellence in Education and the collective impact initiatives of Achieve Guilford amplifies the work the community can do to provide the strongest opportunity for students to succeed in public education and beyond. Together, the alliance:
- invests significant resources in strategic GCS initiatives;
- energizes community and business leaders and builds a base for advocacy in support of public education, through programs and activities that provide engagement and facilitate understanding;
- connects business, community and education leaders;
- mobilizes community groups and businesses to focus on activities and programs that help students and teachers achieve educational goals.
GEA’s current mission builds commitment to educational success for all Guilford County citizens, from Pre-K through postsecondary training and education, with emphasis on the success of the Guilford County Schools.
Click here to learn more about the Guilford Education Alliance.