Beaufort County Joins WorkReady Communities Program

May 22, 2014

Beaufort County, NC – May 22, 2014 – The NCEast Alliance is pleased to welcome Beaufort County to its WorkReady Community program. The initiative, under leadership and direction from NCEast was created two years ago, originally funded by the NC Rural Economic Development Center. The past six years, NCEast has led initiatives to bring together critical partners including community colleges, K-12 educators, economic developers, workforce developers, community leaders and industry to develop a successful initiative to commit to provide industry with a trained and certified workforce. The WorkReady Communities program grew out of NCEast's workforce initiatives. 

A WorkReady Community is one that demonstrates a commitment to workforce excellence which is a testament to a comprehensive and collaborative approach to workforce development.

Communities are required to meet or exceed standards outlined at the start of the project. In addition to increasing the number of Career Readiness Certificates, a WorkReady Community increases its high school graduation rate, shows commitment from employers, and fosters collaboration between community representatives in business and education. Craven, Edgecombe, Pitt and Wayne Counties are the first four certified WorkReady Communities in NC.

“We are excited that Beaufort County is participating in the program and are eager to work with them to help them become a certified WorkReady Community,” said Kathy Howard, Vice President for Workforce & Client Development, NCEast Alliance.

“The Alliance 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,” Howard added.

Spearheading this initiative in Beaufort County is the Business and Industry Innovation Council with support from the Beaufort County Committee of 100. One of the council’s goals for 2014 is to make the county a certified WorkReady Community.

Lou Stout, the Director of Workforce Initiatives, Division of Continuing Education at Beaufort Community College understands that employers need concrete proof of a qualified workforce.

“For Beaufort County to compete in the economic and workforce development areas, we - as education leaders and employers - must be willing to show prospective companies that we have a trained, skilled workforce-that are ready to go to work,” said Stout.

"Beaufort County is very excited to work with the NCEast Alliance in achieving a WorkReady Community certification. The certification recognizes the good work in workforce development efforts to date and sets new standards for the future. Beaufort County believes strongly that in order to be successful in economic development it will have to have its workforce at a high level. NCEast will help us achieve the higher level," said Bob Heuts, Executive Director, Beaufort County Economic Development.

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

The NCEast Alliance is a regional economic development corporation serving more than 1 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building and assists companies with site location and expansion assistance.  For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or call 1-800-474-8499.

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