WASHINGTON, DC – The Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments (UCPCOG) based in Wilson North Carolina has received a 2019 Aliceann Wohlbruck Impact Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) for the Regional Simulation Partnership.

The Regional Simulation Partnership (RSP) involves organizations who are willing to work together to develop a “Game Based Career Pathway” (GBCP) approach to workforce development.  The RSP is working with economic development, education, game development, governmental, philanthropic, and workforce development organizations to develop game based career pathways that match up with nearby industries. 

“A lot of data available strongly suggests that a majority of youth today routinely play video games. There is a great opportunity to incorporate game simulations into existing career exploration efforts, and make them more relevant to the younger generation.  The game simulations provide a cost effective way to provide virtual work experience for youth, and give them a bird’s eye view of some of the tasks that may be involved if they worked in one of the industries”, said Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments Executive Director Robert Hiett.

The UCPCOG and the Turning Point Workforce Development Board (TPWDB) created the NC Simulation Station (NCSS) to serve as an online resource for developing a game based career pathway approach.  The website for the NC Simulation Station is located at www.ncsimulationstation.com .

“We hope that more organizations will join our effort, and share their experiences with us.  The NC Simulation Station can become more comprehensive, and align additional simulations to industries who are trying to get youth excited about coming to work for them”, said Hiett.

The active supporting partners include the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, foundry10, Giants Software, the Mid-East Commission and Region Q Workforce Development Board, Northampton County Schools, the Turning Point Workforce Development Board, and Wilson Gig East.  Foundry10 is located in Seattle, and Giants Software is located in Switzerland, and the rest of the partners are located in North Carolina.  The partnership is coordinated by the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments.

NADO is a Washington, DC-based membership association of regional development organizations that promote programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies.  The association’s Impact Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and their partners for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. 

Award-winning projects were honored during NADO’s 2019 Annual Training Conference, held October 19-22 in Reno, NV.  The 2019 class of award recipients consists of 100 projects from 66 organizations spanning 24 states.  These projects are presented in an interactive “Story Map” developed by NADO and CivicLens that includes project summaries and partners.  The Story Map is available online at:  https://www.nado.org/impactawards/.      

“The Aliceann Wohlbruck Impact Awards program is an opportunity each year for NADO to publicly recognize the important services that regional development organizations deliver to their local communities,” said 2018-2019 NADO President Scott Koons, executive director of the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, located in Gainesville.  “The projects awarded have made significant impacts on their regions and demonstrate the diversity of programs and resources provided by regional development organizations across the country.” 

The NADO Impact Awards are presented in honor of the late Aliceann Wohlbruck who was NADO’s first executive director and served 24 years as a tireless champion for regional approaches to economic development in rural communities.

For more information about this award-winning project, contact Robert Hiett, Executive Director, Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments.  Mr. Hiett can be reached by email at rhiett@ucpcog.org, or by phone at 252-534-5952.

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