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To date, more than 200 students have received Finish Line Grants and more than $2.5 million in funding has been awarded to partnerships of colleges and workforce boards. Recently, the program expanded eligibility to students who are at least 50 percent of the way through their programs of study (rather than the previous 75 percent). Find out more in this video from the Governor’s office and in these articles:


Certified Work Ready Communitiesnc-wrc

The NCWorks Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, built on the foundation of the NCEast Alliance’s program, is a collaborative effort between workforce development partners including the Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Chamber Foundation, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Community College System Office and the North Carolina Department of Commerce aimed at leveraging data and analysis tools to continue economic growth in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Chamber Foundation serves as the final certifying body to designate a NC Works Certified Work Ready Community.

Community Benefits

By participating in the NCWorks Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, counties, regions and states are helping:

§  Business and industry know exactly which foundational skills they need for a productive workforce – and to easily communicate their needs

§  Individuals understand which skills are required by employers – and how to prepare themselves for success

§  Policy makers consistently measure the skills gap in a timely manner at the national, state and local levels

§  Educators close the skills gap, via tools integrated into career pathways with stackable industry-recognized credentials

§  Economic developers use an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of their workforce

How to Get Involved

Interested in launching an application for your county?  Go to:


Governor Cooper Challenges Workforce Leaders to Increase Work-Based Learning Opportunities
New Data Tools and Greater Focus on Employer Engagement Highlighted at NCWorks Commission Meeting

Nov 15, 2017

Governor Roy Cooper challenged business and workforce development leaders to increase the number of work-based learning opportunities across the state, part of a broader initiative to help North Carolinians become more job-ready. Governor Cooper offered his challenge today at a meeting of the NCWorks Commission, along with a call for the commissioners to provide him firm recommendations at the Commission’s next meeting for further action to advance the state’s workforce development agenda.

“I want North Carolinians to be better educated, healthier and have more money in their pockets,” said Cooper. “The linchpin to achieving that goal is to help people get good-paying jobs to support themselves and their families. Making North Carolina job-ready means getting people the skills they need for better-paying jobs and then connecting businesses to those workers. An educated, well-trained workforce will help grow North Carolina companies, attract new businesses and ensure we can adapt to a changing economy…..

Governor Cooper also updated commissioners on new upgrades being implemented to the state’s data infrastructure in order to map employer needs to the state’s talent supply. The Labor Economics and Analysis Division (LEAD) at the Department of Commerce is building a dashboard tool to help visualize the state’s educational pipeline in relation to demand for particular occupational areas …..

“The skills and education required to find and keep a good job are changing faster than ever,” said Governor Cooper. “Because the terrain is shifting, we need to quickly expand the use of proven workforce development strategies, such as work-based learning and employer-led career pathway programs.”

Following the Governor’s remarks, the NCWorks Commission approved and endorsed four new regional plans to help people prepare and train for work. Known as NCWorks Certified Career Pathways, the education and training plans help job seekers enter particular industries……

Career pathways are designed not only for students, but also for adults and individuals who have lost jobs or been out of the workforce through no fault of their own. Individuals access a career pathway through public schools, community colleges, and public and private universities.

The commission certified the following pathways at its November 15 meeting:

  • Health Care (Southwest Collaborative)- approved for Mecklenburg, Gaston, Anson, Cabarrus, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties.
  • Advanced Manufacturing (Eastern Carolina) – approved for Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, and Wayne counties.
  • Advanced Manufacturing (Western Piedmont) – for Caldwell, Alexander, Burke, and Catawba counties.
  • Transportation & Logistics (Triadworks) – approved for Alamance, Moore, Orange, Randolph, Montgomery, Guilford, Davidson, Surry, Stokes, Rockingham, Caswell, Yadkin, Forsyth, and Davie counties.

Read the full article at: