Our 50 years of work in workforce development has focused on one important outcome: developing pathways that allow people of all backgrounds to connect with jobs that pay family-supporting wages.

We work with local, state, regional, and national partners to envision, develop and scale programs that prepare youth and adults, align community college training with local employment needs, create assistance networks, and shape supportive public policies.


MDC provides coaching, technical assistance and facilitated peer-learning services for leaders from seven Southern communities who are committed to increasing upward economic mobility for youth and young adults in the lowest income brackets.


The Working Families Success Network is a network of MDC-supported community colleges that offer financial supports to help students complete their education so they can connect with careers.


Linking Education To Careers in Northeast Mississippi

MDC worked with a regional foundation to design an industry-funded, tri-county career-readiness system anchored in K-12, connected to post-secondary education and accessible to all students.

A Partnership Model for Better Jobs

We worked with the Center for Community Change to move low-skilled Southerners into skills training and better-paying jobs at three sites in South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, with funding from Mary Reynolds Babcock and Annie E. Casey foundations.

A Time of Reckoning: Testing the Will for Change in the Mississippi Delta

We created this report for the Mississippi State Legislature's Special Task Force for the Revitalization of the Delta Region to frame the change and investment needed to promote economic growth in one of the nation’s poorest regions.

Career Pathways for a Green South

We worked with four communities that had suffered manufacturing jobs losses to prepare low-wage and unemployed workers for careers in emerging green industries.

Creating a New Strategic Vision for the N.C. Rural Center

MDC helped craft the plan that created the Rural Center in the late 1980s and worked with the Center in recent years to refocus its strategy and resources to meet the needs of people living in rural North Carolina. 

Franklin/Southampton County Development

We worked with the Camp Foundation and Franklin-Southampton Charities on a major initiative to improve revitalize the economy, reduce poverty and building a more equitable and inclusive civic culture in Franklin City/Southhampton County, VA.

Latino Pathways

This demonstration project mobilized community partners to increase living-wage employment and advancement for Latino immigrants in two major North Carolina labor markets.

Mississippi Workforce Development

We studied and recommended that Mississippi consolidate two workforce development entities to increase their effectiveness, convened a joint task force to recommend changes and published a report that led to subsequent enabling legislation.

Middle Border Forward

We helped Danville Regional  Foundation develop a regional initiative and new generation of community leaders focused on improving economic prosperity for residents in three counties in North Carolina and Virginia.

Mistakes to Success: Applying Roadmap Tools

We documented mistakes and lessons in community economic development in a book and set of tools that help practitioners analyze mistakes and reflect on changes needed to achieve better outcomes.

National Fund for Workforce Solutions

We helped the National Fund for Workforce Solutions form workforce partnerships in rural regions that created better employment and training systems for residents.

North Carolina JobLink Career Center System

This research and analysis project assessed the effectiveness of North Carolina's 83 one-stop workforce development centers and recommended steps manage could take to improve them.

Program for the Rural Carolinas

We designed and served as managing partner for this five-year, $10.6 million rural development project of The Duke Endowment to spur economic revitalization in North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Redesigning the North Carolina Employment and Training System

We consulted with and staffed the N.C. Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Workforce Preparedness, which led to the creation of single state-level council to review, monitor and develop workforce policies and initiatives for the state. 

Women in Electronics

We partnered with private businesses to design and manage a program that prepared unemployed women with limited prior education and training for jobs in the electronics industry.

Workforce Alliance in Mississippi

We built the capacity of leaders in seven Mississippi Delta communities to redesign education and training systems to connect poor people to jobs as part of the Pew Delta Initiative