Allison Forbes serves as Research Director at the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC). Dr. Forbes has 10 years of professional experience in federal and local policy-making and related research. She has provided research support to state housing, economic development and education agencies and worked with a variety of stakeholders including local housing developers, environmental groups, labor organizations, community colleges, entrepreneurship incubators and small businesses consortiums.
At CREC, Dr. Forbes primarily focuses on trends in education and training, including the use of industry-recognized credentials such as certifications and apprenticeships. She is currently working on improving the availability and use of labor market data by educational institutions and employers in collaboration with Credential Engine and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Her research on apprenticeship began in North Carolina in 2013 and has expanded to include detailed studies of the German-style apprenticeship as practiced in the U.S. South and Mexico.
Recently completed projects include supporting the North Carolina Department of Commerce and North Carolina Community College System on expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs with an emphasis on emerging careers in Information Technology, Healthcare and Advanced Manufacturing; supporting local organizations in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as they conducted a study of their entrepreneurial ecosystem; and managing a multiple-year National Science Foundation-funded study of regional entrepreneurial development in North Carolina’s Research Triangle, including management of data science and technology partnerships.
Dr. Forbes holds a Master of Community Planning degree from the University of Maryland and a PhD in City and Regional Planning with a specialization in Economic and Workforce Development. Her research combines quantitative and qualitative methods to inform workforce, community and economic development strategies. She has taught urban planning courses, lectured on a variety of topics at the University of North Carolina, and presented her research at international and national conferences and research summits. Her doctoral dissertation evaluates opportunities to strengthen workforce skills, training provision and job quality in manufacturing supply chains with an emphasis on automotive industry supply chain dynamics.