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Lenoir County, NC Earns a WorkReady Designation

June 17, 2013



Lenoir County, NC – June 17, 2013 -
Another community in Eastern NC has reason to celebrate the state of its workforce. Lenoir County has become a Certified WorkReady Community.

Largely funded by the NC Rural Economic Development Center, the initiative is under leadership and direction from North Carolina’s Eastern Region (NCER). NCER is an economic development organization which seeks to build a regional capacity to support economic growth and create opportunities which have and immediate and/or transformational impact upon the area economy.  WorkReady Communities builds upon the highly acclaimed ASPIRE initiative in which NCER has given more than $1 million to support the growth of the Career Readiness Certificate across the region.

“We are very pleased to declare Lenoir County as a Certified WorkReady Community. NCER is committed to workforce development as a priority to attract and retain industry and strengthen the regional economy. Without a strong network of partners and funding from the NC Rural Center such an accomplishment would not be possible,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce & Client Development, NCER.

Communities can earn the designation by achieving certain standards, displaying their commitment to workforce excellence. The partnership must receive a pledge from 10 of the top 20 largest employers to utilize the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) in employment practices with a minimum of 5% of the labor force possessing a CRC and increase the high school graduation rate by 1% with a minimum qualifying rate of 70%.

“When I approached Steve Mazingo Superintendent of the Lenoir County Schools and our local industry and community leaders about WorkReady Communities they were excited to be a part of the process. It’s a recognition that we believe will result in more jobs and more investment for Lenoir County. We are proud to be one of only four counties to reach this level,” remarked Bobby Merritt, Director of Industry Training, Lenoir Community College.

Through the WorkReady Communities initiative employers gain confidence that job seekers possess the foundational skills necessary to be trained, the potential of dramatically reducing turnover thereby boosting the bottom line and a common language is shared between employers and job seekers on the skills needed for specific jobs.

“The WorkReady Communities designation is an asset to our business and industries because it tells them that we are prepared with a job ready workforce as companies look to locate or expand in our Community. The training tools that have been put in place will assist our people that are looking for jobs or just looking to better prepare themselves for advancement within their existing jobs,” said Mark Pope, Executive Director, Lenoir County Economic Development.

As part of the WorkReady program, employers are able to take advantage of a free job portal which connects them to job seekers around the 13 county Eastern Region. Nearly 140 employers have access to the portal which serves any industry and any level of job seeker.

For more information on WorkReady Communities please visit www.ncworkready.org.

North Carolina’s Eastern Region is a regional economic development agency serving 13 counties from I-95 to the coast. For more information visit North Carolina’s Eastern Region’s website www.nceast.org.

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