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Governor Cooper Celebrates New Regional Workforce Development Initiative $3.2 million state grant will support apprenticeships and training in four Triad counties

The Triad area will get $3.2 million for more job training opportunities in Alamance, Guilford, Randolph and Rockingham counties, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The state funds have been awarded to the Eastern Triad Workforce Initiative, a public-private partnership that will provide apprenticeship and on-the-job training.

Governor Cooper praised the effort as a positive development for the region and noted its alignment with NC Job Ready, his statewide initiative to help prepare North Carolinians for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

“Initiatives like this one hold great promise to meet employers’ needs, prepare young people for in-demand careers and connect people already in the workforce with better paying jobs,” Gov. Cooper said. “To get North Carolina job ready, we need even more leadership and cooperation between the private sector, educators, workforce development professionals and community groups.”

Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready strategy has three core principles: skills and education attainment, employer leadership to remain relevant to evolving industry needs, and local innovation to take great ideas and apply them statewide.

The new state funding to the Eastern Triad Workforce Initiative (ETWI) will support the development and implementation of pilot apprenticeship programs in targeted industries throughout the region. Funds will be used for training materials, apprenticeship employment costs and curriculum development.

Led by the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, ETWI partners include local chambers of commerce, K-12 school systems, community colleges, apprenticeship programs and the three workforce development boards that serve different parts of the region.

Local NCWorks Career Centers will help recruit employers and prospective employees for on-the-job training and will support that training. These efforts are designed to provide local industries with solutions to their workforce challenges, including a lack of applicants, even for jobs that pay well.

A survey of North Carolina employers, recently released by the NCWorks Commission, found that 50 percent of employers who tried to hire in the past year had difficulty filling at least one position. Just over half of employers cited applicants’ lack of relative work experience, while just under half said that their hiring difficulty stemmed from job seekers’ lack of technical or occupation-related skills.

Read more about the Employer Needs Survey here.

Apprenticeships and other work-based learning programs are considered key to addressing such challenges and building strong talent pipelines. The ETWI joins similar efforts by North Carolina’s community colleges, workforce development boards, the N.C. Department of Commerce and other organizations to expand worker access to the training that employers need.