Raleigh, N.C.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce has awarded grants totaling almost $288,000 to support three innovative youth workforce development projects, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

“Business leaders tell me their number one need is skilled talent, especially as we emerge from the pandemic. These Youth Initiative Grants will help those businesses by preparing young people with the experience and training they need to get the good paying jobs they provide,” said Governor Cooper.

These special Youth Initiative grants from the Commerce department’s Division of Workforce Solutions will allow local Workforce Development Boards to expand or enhance employment and training services to eligible youth and young adults in their regions. 
“Supporting local innovation is one of the hallmarks of Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready workforce initiative, and we are inspired by the creativity we see all across our state,” N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said. “These new grants will enable our NCWorks partners in three regions to help prepare young North Carolinians for great careers, which in turn will strengthen the diverse talent pipeline that our employers need to meet the demands of tomorrow.”

The Workforce Development Boards receiving grants include:

  • Capital Area Workforce Development Board (Johnston and Wake counties): A $100,000 grant will support the board’s “Capital Area Apprenticeship Prep Program” (APP). The program will provide young people with education, career readiness skills and a pre-apprenticeship opportunity, which will prepare them to enter an apprenticeship, employment, or additional education. Training will be tied to industries that are growing and hiring in the Wake and Johnston County areas. Participants in the program will be able to earn industry-recognized credentials.
  • Centralina Workforce Development Board (Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties): An $87,862 grant will support the board’s “Creating Connections in Centralina” project. This initiative seeks to meet the needs of under-served rural areas related to a lack of technology, training and employment opportunities, while engaging youth with the workforce system. The board plans to target communities that have experienced low rates of high school graduation with outreach that raises awareness and brings programs directly to them, through the establishment of six “opportunity sites.”
  • Northeastern Workforce Development Board (Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties): A $100,000 grant will support the board’s “E3 Initiative: Enroll More Youth, Expose Youth to Local Careers & Ensure Stronger Completion Rates.” This represents an expansion of NWDB’s #worklocal initiative, which was established to encourage youth to seek employment within growing career fields located in Northeastern North Carolina. The board plans to increase enrollment in the NCWorks NextGen program through targeted digital outreach and a partnership with College of the Albemarle, increase young people’s exposure to local job opportunities within the region’s certified career pathways, and increase positive outcomes for participants through focused mentoring and the development of cohorts that will foster a deeper sense of community among youth. 

Funding for each grant comes from the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), through the U.S. Department of Labor. 
 
Governor Cooper’s NC Job Ready initiative is built on three core principles: skills and education attainment – so North Carolinians are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow; employer leadership – to remain relevant to evolving industry needs; and local innovation – to take great ideas and apply them statewide.
 
Youth who are interested in workforce services anywhere in North Carolina should contact a Workforce Development Board or a local NCWorks Career Center through NCWorks.gov

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