Twin-Counties Education & Business Leaders' Summit '18

The Twin-Counties Education & Business Leaders’ Summit was held August 9, 2018 in the Keihin Auditorium on the campus of Edgecombe Community College, Tarboro. Doors opened at 7:15 a.m. for a networking breakfast followed by the program. The program included:

Opening Speaker

  • John Chaffee, President/CEO, NC East Alliance

Business Panel

  • John Judd, Plant Manager, Cummins, RMEP
  • Joel Lee, Engineering Manager, Edwards, Inc.
  • Richard Alston, DDS, Alston Orthodontics
  • Scott Fleming, Assembly Engineering Coordinator, Keihin
  • Tahirah Smith, Current Product Support Engineer, Cummins, RMEP

Education Panel

  • Dr. Valerie Bridges, Superintendent, ECPS
  • Dr. Shelton Jefferies, Superintendent, NRMPS
  • Dr. William Carver, President, NCC
  • Designee from Edgecombe Community College

Closing Speaker

  • Jim Goodmon, Chairman/CEO, Capital Broadcasting Co.


  • David Joyner of Joyner Media & Strategies

Pamela Gould, Executive Director of S.T.E.P.(Strategic Twin-Counties Education Partnership) presented the collaborative initiative, #workHERE. #workHERE is a shared initiative between the two public school systems and the two local community colleges to build the talent pipeline by growing workforce awareness, ensure relevant workforce skills and strengthen relationships with local business and industry.

“It is vital to increase collaboration between the business community and education providers to improve young people’s transition into the workplace. More importantly, for these stakeholders to gather and begin customizing solutions for our region.” Pamela Gould, Executive Director, S.T.E.P. “We have formed some very strong partnerships with several industries, however, we need more voices at the table and a sense of “we are in this together.”

“There is no more pressing need of the businesses in the Twin Counties than the availability of qualified employees to fill the vacancies we have now and will have for the foreseeable future. It is more urgent than ever for the business / education communities to forge strong partnerships to recruit and train this much needed workforce.“ Norris Tolson, CEO/President of Carolinas Gateway Partnership “The talent pool is available but it will take concerted effort of everybody’s part to get workers trained and employed.“

“If we want a stronger workforce and ultimately a stronger economy, thriving schools and a great place to live, we must all invest and work together towards that goal. It’s a win/win. We can’t just talk about the issues, we must be part of the solutions.” Pamela Gould

STEP, Strategic Twin-Counties Education Partnership, is improving the educational opportunities for students in the Twin Counties area – cradle to career – by facilitating collaboration between our schools, our community colleges, our community-based organizations, and our employers.

Pamela K. Gould
Executive Director
252-446-0113 or 252-266-1980