Raleigh, N.C.

Four North Carolinians have won NCWorks Awards of Distinction for outstanding accomplishments and contributions related to workforce development. The recipients received awards on Thursday, October 24 during a ceremony held in Greensboro as part of the 32nd annual NCWorks Partnership Conference.

“This year’s NCWorks awards winners are an inspiration to all of us who are focused on job growth and workforce development,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “My hope is that their example will be replicated throughout our state as we continue to help North Carolinians get the skills they need to get a good job.”

The 2019 NCWorks Partnership Conference, organized by the N.C. Department of Commerce, brought together almost 1,000 workforce development professionals from across the state. Attendees represented labor, state and federal government, education, community-based organizations, community colleges and the private sector.

NCWorks Awards were presented to the following recipients:

  • Regina Durham of Raleigh: Outstanding Adult. Durham persevered through serious health issues to obtain employment and training with help from her local NCWorks Career Center. After exhausting her unemployment insurance, Durham recognized that to become reemployed in her field, interior design, she would need additional training, but she would need to find a job to support herself at the same time. Juggling medical treatments and job interviews, Durham completed her computer-aided design training and secured full-time employment in the same month.


  • Amy Bryan of Swansea, S.C.: Outstanding Young Adult. In order to obtain education and career training, Bryan enrolled at the Oconaluftee Job Corps center in Cherokee. There, she excelled in the Forestry Conservation & Firefighting vocational training program and completed her high school education. Bryan’s extensive training continued at Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania and Uwharrie National Forest in North Carolina, which resulted in her being accepted into the Savannah River USDA Forest Service program in South Carolina. Her performance there led to a full-time Forestry Technician position with the federal government. Bryan’s hard work and tenacity allowed her to graduate from Job Corps and start a career with opportunities for continued growth.


  • Jordan Shoffner of Asheboro: Outstanding Teen. Shoffner, a participant in the NCWorks NextGen youth program in Randolph County, has experienced homelessness, but that has not kept him from pursuing his education and career goals. He completed his high school equivalency diploma at Randolph Community College and a work experience program with the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore at the same time. Always willing to help others, Shoffner continues to be actively involved with leadership activities hosted by the NextGen program and in community service. While currently working full-time for a local business, he plans to continue his education through an Electrical Lineworker program at a community college in the near future.


  • Karen Rowe of Clayton: Wayne Daves Award for Outstanding Achievement in Workforce Development. Rowe serves as a Talent Engagement Career Advisor at the NCWorks Career Center in Johnston County. Committed to reaching beyond the Career Center doors to serve customers, Rowe has implemented strategies and built strong community partnerships, including with the Cambridge Place, which serves women in recovery. She has also volunteered to work with the domestic violence shelter and as the center’s Reentry subject matter expert. Rowe pioneered an innovative use of tablet devices to better assist customers, which has since been adopted by all centers overseen by the Capital Area Workforce Development Board.


  • Tribal Employment Rights Office of Cherokee: Outstanding Employer. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO) works with tribe members who are battling drug and alcohol addiction or who have been involved with the criminal justice system. The organization supports clients by providing employability skills, mentoring, mental health services and job placement, including the possibility of one-year internships. TERO partners with several local businesses to provide employment opportunities for clients and is a certified Working Smart training provider through Southwestern Community College. Active in supporting the community, TERO also hosts job fairs and promotes health and wellness.


  • W.I.N. Partnership: Workforce Innovation Nextgeneration of Cabarrus County: Outstanding Innovative Partnership. Wayne Brothers, Inc., a leader in the construction industry, has formed the W.I.N. partnership with Centralina Workforce Development Board’s NCWorks NextGen services program and the Kannapolis City Schools. The workforce development board and the school system support Wayne Brothers’ pre-apprenticeship program, which provides high school students with a chance to learn in the classroom and gain hands-on experience that will prepare them for their careers. The partnership seeks to meet the talent needs of the local construction industry, provide a diverse workforce, and respond to changes in economic conditions, skills and employment opportunities. Students who complete all requirements of the program are guaranteed an offer of employment after they graduate from high school.

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