Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — A workforce development organization that serves Iredell County has been awarded an $87,000 grant to boost technology, training and employment opportunities for youth.

The N.C. Department of Commerce has awarded grants totaling almost $288,000 to support three innovative youth workforce development projects, including the Centralina Workforce Development Board’s application.

Centralina Workforce Development serves Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties. 

The $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.”

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.

“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 Roy Cooper.

The other Workforce Development Boards receiving grants are:

Capital Area Workforce Development Board (Johnston and Wake counties): A $100,000 grant will support the board’s “Capital Area Apprenticeship Prep Program” (APP).  County areas. Participants in the program will be able to earn industry-recognized credentials.

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.”

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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