Raleigh Dec 5, 2018 Governor Roy Cooper today announced a free, first-of-its-kind online tool to lead the way in connecting education to career. The new 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. These opportunities are hands-on learning activities ranging from guest speaking roles to apprenticeships, posted by businesses and used by educators. The Navigator platform was developed through a partnership between the Governor’s Office, Fidelity Investments and the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE). It is populated by employers who list virtual and in-person work-based learning activities. Educators, counselors and job coaches then go online to ‘shop’ for those opportunities. There is no cost to list and no cost to shop. “In a 21st century economy, we can make every day career day, and to succeed in connecting education to careers, putting employers and educators together to give students a real taste of the skills they need,” said Governor Cooper. “The Navigator platform streamlines this connection and helps our students get real-world exposure that will help them chart the best educational path.” “Given the rising cost of higher education, it is important that students and job seekers have the chance to explore and experience different careers opportunities before they invest significant time and money into pursuing a given path,” commented Ashlie Bucy, Deputy Director at the North Carolina Business Committee for Education. “Sometimes learning what you do not like is as valuable as learning what you do like.” “At Fidelity Investments, we are focused on equipping North Carolina educators with the tools they need to expose students to financial and career skills to feel more confident, make smarter decisions and achieve personal and financial goals,” said Thomas Ryan, senior vice president and North Carolina regional leader, Fidelity Investments. “To-date, Fidelity has worked with nearly 1,000 local educators, reaching nearly 150,000 students, but this first-of-its-kind tool will enable us and other employers to make an even greater impact state-wide.” The Navigator will debut at the December 7 Experience More Summit on Work-Based Learning hosted by NCBCE (https://www.experiencemorenc.com). The summit is focused on scaling real-world learning for real-life success and is the culmination of a grant from the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices. Beginning December 12, the Navigator will be connected to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's NCEdCloud, the state’s suite of digital instructional tools for public school educators. The Navigator development team hopes to build integrations with individual community colleges and local area workforce boards in the coming year. Since taking office, Governor Cooper has worked to ensure North Carolinians are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. In February, he launched NC Job Ready, a workforce development initiative built on increasing skills and education attainment, employer leadership and local innovation. Over the summer he announced the Finish Line Grants program, which uses up to $7 million in federal funds to help community college students overcome unforeseen financial emergencies preventing them from completing their training. Governor Cooper also recently announced the NCWorks Local Innovation Fund, which provides $2 million in grants to communities to pilot innovative programs or expand successful initiatives that address local workforce issues.