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Carolina Across 100 Initiative

Jun, 30th, 2022
Carolina Across 100 Initiative

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Across 100 initiative announced on Wednesday the selection of thirteen groups in North Carolina to expand education and employment pathways for young adults. The groups – made up of business, civic, education, nonprofit, faith-based, and government entities representing thirty-seven counties from the mountains to the coast – will receive a variety of supports from the University, all aimed at connecting North Carolina’s young adults to jobs that pay a living wage.

“The Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board, Inc. (ECWDB) is one of the thirteen partnerships selected, representing Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, and Wayne counties. The ECWDB is partnering with the region’s local community colleges, public schools, and community organizations to spearhead this exciting initiative,” says Tammy Childers, Executive Director, ECWDB.

“Our young adults have so many opportunities available to them right now to pursue a high-quality education toward a career pathway of their choice. Our goal is to find those youth who are not enrolled in school or engaged in the workforce and present them with education and training options that will lead to good wages and a bright future.” Childers added.

The ECWDB is the grant recipient and administrative agency for the  federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding their region. They recently awarded over $4 million in WIOA funding to Carteret Community College, Coastal Carolina Community College, James Sprunt Community College, Lenoir Community College, Pamlico Community College, and Wayne Community, Greene Lamp, Inc., Eckert Youth Alternatives, Inc., and Two Hawk Workforce Solutions to provide education and employment opportunities to eligible youth and adult participants. In addition, the ECWDB will be awarding up to $500,000 in WIOA grants for in-school programs through a competitive proposal process targeting high-school students.

We believe that education is the key to a secure future and our job is ensure that our communities know about the opportunities and resources available to assist  students, job-seekers, and employers with their training and employment needs, say Al Searles, Chairman, ECWDB.  Our workforce board and partners are also a a part of the MyFutureNC collaborative in support of Governor Cooper’s goal of 2 million North Carolinians to hold a post-secondary credential by 2030.  Breaking it down for our nine counties, we want to see an additional 17,000 individuals earn their diploma, degree, or a skills credential within the next eight years.  We need our youth excelling in school and college and joining the workforce prepared to meet the demands of tomorrow’s competitive economy.  If we are going to compete in a global marketplace, we will compete on the skills credentials that businesses require to thrive.  Our local businesses are hiring. Our public schools and community colleges are ensuring a quality education and training opportunities exist. We have federal and state resources available to assist with education and training expenses. We need to seize the moment.  Searles added.

The ECWDB oversees the region’s local NCWorks Career Centers, which provides employment and training services to jobseekers and employers.

 Media contact: David Jones, jones@ecwdb.org

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