The North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) is an advocate and catalyst for systemic change and continuous improvement in public education. NCBCE acts as an advocate, a resource and business voice in public education to prepare North Carolina students for employment and lifelong learning. NCBCE is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consortium of businesses from across the state. NCBCE funds initiatives to address specific education issues that have a significant impact on the quality of education children receive and their ability to enter the workforce prepared. In 2005, Governor Mike Easley launched the nation's first Center for 21st Century Skills housed within NCBCE. The Center is focused on changing North Carolina's education system to ensure that students leave school better prepared to succeed in the global economy. The Center is a public-private partnership that works actively with business leaders, educators and policy makers to create new curricula, new assessments, and new ways of linking student work in the classroom to the workplace in the 21st century. The Center is bringing together current innovative reform efforts as well as implementing new ones to develop meaningful assessments and curricula that reflect the knowledge necessary for success in the 21st century. The Center is also working to improve and expand professional development for educators to focus on 21st century skills.