Assistant Secretary of Workforce Solutions
In April 2014, Governor Pat McCrory named Will Collins executive director of NCWorks, a new collaboration between the N.C. Community College System and the Department of Commerce to ensure our workforce development system is working for the people and businesses of North Carolina.
Collins has more than 30 years’ experience in human resources and economic development, and his experience in private sector manufacturing, the community college system’s customized training program, and his leadership in international business make him an invaluable fit to this state-wide initiative. He has served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce responsible for the Division of Workforce Solutions since December 2013.
Collins began his career in the textile industry with Burlington Industries, working at several locations throughout North Carolina and Georgia. He has been involved in the creation and development of start-up companies. In May 1999, Collins became the first American to be employed by AW North Carolina, Inc., which employs more than 2,000 team members and manufacturers and distributes automotive automatic transmissions and components for vehicles sold to Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America. Collins retired as the company’s vice president in April 2013. A month later, he founded New Venture Resources, Inc. to provide interim human resources leadership.
AWNC earned several recognitions under Collins’ leadership. In 2003, the company received the North Carolina Governor’s Award in 2003 for Workforce Development as the Most Outstanding Large Employer. In 2005, AWNC was recognized as Corporation of the Year for North Carolina and South Carolina for Commitment to Supplier Diversity. For eight consecutive years, the company received Durham County’s Employer Award from the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Collins has served on boards for the Durham Chamber of Commerce and the N.C. Japan Center, as well as the N.C. Community College System State Board of Directors and the Durham Workforce Development Board.
A native of Madison, N.C., Collins graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in personnel management. He and his wife Debi have been married for 24 years with two sons (22 and 16) and a daughter (18). He lives in Raleigh and enjoys coaching athletic teams, playing tennis and golf, involvement with his church, and reading biographies and classics.