HOW IMPORTANT IS EDUCATION TO BUSINESSES?
It's critical for success now and in the future. As the No. 1 consumer of talent, businesses have a keen interest in its development. The North Carolina Chamber estimates that the state's population will grow by 3 million in 15 years. Well need at least a million new jobs. Talent development is the first step to creating them. A state's human capital will determine how it thrives economically. We believe North Carolina will be one of the successful ones. Our Vision 2030 plan outlines economic strategies and resource management to secure jobs. One of its four tenets is education and talent supply. It calls for a demand-driven approach, setting high standards, awarding quality credentials, and aligning the workforce and education systems to meet the needs of the business community.
Corning is committed to education. The company believes it and family are the most important building blocks for success, corning has five factories in North Carolina. They hire locally, and they need new hires equipped with science, technology, engineering and math--STEM--skills, which help them understand our technical procedures and operate our complex machinery. They also need to collaborate, communicate and innovate. Corning has been in Wilmington for 50 years, and it wants to be there for 50 more. We've hired more than 70 people in the last few months. They are recent graduates from local high schools. Local skilled talent is a benefit, because we can bring them in quickly and they can get up to speed quickly.
Prior to joining MCNC, I worked as N.C. Department of Commerce's chief operating officer and executive director of business, industry and trade. Commerce assisted many small businesses that needed flexible and adaptable workers with critical-thinking skills. We see the same thing at MCNC. The technological changes in our industry demand a workforce with new skills.
Last year, [Washington, D.C.-based] Georgetown University studied the national economic recovery and how each state can sustain it. Researchers said that 67% of North Carolina's workforce will need postsecondary education by 2025. That's a strong number. Currently, 54% of our workers have those skills. Postsecondary is more than four-year and master's degrees. It's hard and soft skills. We're taking a holistic approach. We need to transform education, focusing it to meet business needs in terms of quality and quantity of workers. If we invite teachers and students into businesses, they will see what happens there. That's different than trying to teach it in the classroom.
The state Constitution tasks N.C. State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction with providing a sound basic education to all children. The superintendent, staff and board members are always seeking improvements to that education, so students have the skills that make them attractive and adaptable in our dynamic economy. It's critical that we continue to ratchet up instruction and set high standards for students. We want them to understand what work is like. Postsecondary education is expensive career development, so it's important that it's used wisely. I wanted to be a nurse until I was in the hospital during ninth grade and I saw the job firsthand. It's...