Wednesday, May 15, 2024

State agencies launch Medicaid Expansion workforce development planning Partners to present report to N.C. General Assembly later this year

Raleigh, N.C.
May 15, 2024

Today, leaders from the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services formally launched a collaborative process of developing a report to the North Carolina General Assembly on opportunities to provide workforce development services in conjunction with the state’s Medicaid expansion. N.C. Commerce Chief Deputy Secretary Jordan Whichard and N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley convened a host of partners for a kick-off meeting at NCDHHS on the Dorothea Dix campus in Raleigh.

In the historic legislation that approved Medicaid expansion (House Bill 76 / Session Law 2023-7), the General Assembly charged the Department of Commerce with leading the development of a comprehensive workforce development plan, while involving various stakeholders. The plan will cover services such as job training assistance, career paths and job readiness, job placement, resources for job seekers, recruiting services, and healthcare workforce support, as well as how to determine the success of workforce development programs.

In addition, NCDHHS is working with the Department of Commerce on a method to help individuals enrolled in Medicaid and other relevant social service programs with accessing appropriate workforce development services.

To help develop both plans, the departments have partnered with the UNC School of Government. Anita Brown-Graham, the School of Government’s Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Government, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Director of the ncIMPACT Initiative, will facilitate the project.

The Commerce department and NCDHHS will report to the General Assembly on their plans and recommendations later this year.

“Expanding health care coverage through Medicaid represents an investment in North Carolina’s most valuable asset – our people,” said State Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “As we have emphasized in our First in Talent economic development plan, a strong, healthy workforce is essential to our state’s success. We are looking forward to working together with our partners in identifying opportunities for increased workforce services, so people can build rewarding careers.”

“So far, expanding Medicaid has gotten more behavioral and mental health resources to communities, provided food, housing, and transportation services, and given health coverage to over 450,000 North Carolinians,” said NC Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “Work and health go hand in hand. Ensuring strong connections to employment will only further bolster the positive impact of expansion.”

“The ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government looks forward to supporting the NC Department of Health and Human Services and NC Department of Commerce in this effort to make healthcare more accessible to residents of our state,” said Anita Brown-Graham. “This is a unique opportunity to support both local workforce development and health outcomes in communities.”

Other partners invited to participate in the planning include the N.C. Department of Labor, the NCWorks Commission, the North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), the N.C. Department of Adult Correction, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the University of North Carolina System, North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities, representatives of hospitals, healthcare providers and prepaid health plans, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Chamber, and representatives of local workforce development boards.

As of May 8, over 450,000 North Carolinians are enrolled in Medicaid expansion. Since Dec. 1, 2023, Medicaid has covered more than 1,000,000 prescriptions for new enrollees for things like heart health, diabetes, seizures and other illnesses. For more information on Medicaid expansion, visit


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