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Cabarrus County Has the Workforce Development Resources Necessary to Combat COVID-19


Published Monday, July 20, 2020

The most important piece of any company, whether it’s a large corporation or small business, is its workforce. The ones who clock in and out every day, dedicating themselves to tasks both big and small, using the unique set of skills they learned on the job or in training—these are the people who take hard work and turn it into success. They are essential. They were essential before this pandemic sent us all into a state of disarray, and they will remain essential after. Luckily for the businesses and residents of Cabarrus County, several workforce development opportunities are available through local programs and organizations, including the Cabarrus Economic Development Corporation’s Go Bold initiative, regardless of the current global situation.

Go Bold encourages women in Cabarrus County to learn about challenging and rewarding career opportunities that they may not have considered. At the Cabarrus EDC, we know that local employers have job openings and are looking for diversity in their workplace. They want to hire talented women in full-time roles, offering good wages and benefit packages with potential for advancement. This initiative partners directly with industry-leading employers throughout the county to offer women these opportunities. And with the current Cabarrus County unemployment rate at a staggering 12.5%, all opportunities are welcome—especially ones that train workers on necessary skills required for a new, higher paying career.

Cue the NC Manufacturing Institute (NCMI). This organization, run through local community colleges, invests time and resources into training a new wave of Certified Production Technicians (CPT) every few months. The best part? Their sought-after CPT course is free to anyone who completes a Career Readiness Certification through R3 Career Services. Each eight-week course teaches you everything you need to know about becoming a CPT before setting you up with guaranteed interviews with NCMI’s partner companies, including Americhem, Corning, and Legrand, just to name a few. While this course usually takes place on campus at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College or Mitchell Community College in Iredell, the organization has made adjustments in response to COVID-19 and is now offering their CPT course through virtual education.

NCMI is just one of many organizations to make such a shift. Recruiting companies are offering virtual job fairs. NC Works, whose Concord office is currently closed to the public, has an online page full of COVID-related job resources, including immediate hiring needs. The Centralina Workforce Development Board (CWBD) has a compiled list of unemployment resources and career advice on its website. And these resources aren’t just for workers; they’re also for employers who are looking to build (or rebuild) a workforce in the wake of COVID. Employers can lean on these organizations, initiatives, and local recruiting companies to ensure they find the skilled employees necessary to continue the growth and development of their businesses through these unprecedented times.

For example, employers have continually reached out to NC Works for assistance with filing jobs since the start of the pandemic. In turn, NC Works assists employers with conducting virtual hiring events, something new Cabarrus County resident Carvana did recently.

With Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) set to end at the end of July, now is the perfect time to reach out to NC Works or another local workforce development initiative. Denisha Torrence-Nesbit, Career Center Leader at NC Works Career Center – Cabarrus, anticipates an increase in people seeking employment as soon as that extra $600 of unemployment funding ends. To prepare for the sudden increase, NC Works Career Center in Concord plans to reopen to the public on August 17, according to Torrence-Nesbit.

Additionally, back in late May, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina has received a $6 million federal grant to support jobs and workforce training to help address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Getting more North Carolinians back to work in a safe way is a critical part of rebuilding our economy,” said Governor Cooper (via nccommerce.com). “This grant will help workers and families that have been struggling financially due to COVID-19 get back on their feet.” This is particularly helpful for job seekers who are looking to upskill and enhance their employability. Training funds for displaced workers can be used for up to a 2-year degree in high demand careers, according to Torrence-Nesbit.

“A highly skilled, educated workforce is the foundation to a strong community,” noted Cabarrus EDC Executive Director Robby Carney. “We have the tools and resources in place. We need everyone to help drive awareness so that those in need of these opportunities can take advantage of them.”

Not only does Cabarrus County have incredible training resources available for job seekers, but the state of North Carolina is also supporting the continued development of our workforce through federal funding. Talk about a win-win.

While this pandemic has been remarkably difficult for so many of us, both as businesses and individuals, the hard work and dedication to workforce development displayed by NC Works, CWBD, NCMI, and other organizations has kept the county moving forward. When you pair that with recent announcements made by the Cabarrus EDC, including the establishment of two new company headquarters in Cabarrus (GoldenHome International and Prime Beverage Group), our community is sure to come out on the other side of COVID-19 with great economic opportunity. The Cabarrus EDC will continue working toward a brighter future for our local businesses and fellow citizens.

For more information about Cabarrus EDC’s economic efforts or to view our list of COVID-19 resources, please visit cabarrusedc.com.

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