Cabarrus County summit topic: education and workforce

Cabarrus County and Kannapolis educators will join business professionals and community leaders Dec. 5 to discuss economic development and education.

The State of the Region Education Summit, presented by the Cabarrus Arts Council, will be 7:30-11:30 a.m. at The Davis Theatre, 65 Union St. S., Concord.

“It’s an open discussion about education and business and the link between the two,” said Patrick Coughlin, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We can’t talk about economic development without talking about workforce development.”

Businesses need people with the skills to fill the jobs they have, and educators need to be able to match that need, Coughlin said.

“Workforce development begins in middle and high school,” he said. “Too often we are waiting for kids to make the decision on what they want to be before we think about how we are going to train them for that.”

Coughlin said summit attendees – including educators working in kindergarten through the second year of college – will discuss the future of education and the roles educators have in workforce development.

“The community needs to look at what businesses are here, what is coming and how to prepare the education system to provide workers to fill available roles,” Coughlin said.

The summit is a chance for residents to understand the challenges faced by educators and learn what is going on in education right now, Coughlin said.

“We’re still recovering from the recession,” he said. “Every community has to figure out what is important to them in terms of helping the economy and creating jobs for the future.”

Anyone who sees their workforce changing in the next few years, including those in the medical, financial and manufacturing fields, should attend, he said.

“The heart and soul of our regional economy should have representation,” Coughlin said.

Tickets are $25 for chamber members and $40 for others. Tickets include breakfast. Purchase tickets online at or by phone 704-782-4000.

The speakers and their topics: