Workforce Update

Thanks employers, educators and workforce partners for a wonderful 2018!
You will find the following in this newsletter:
  1. Please RSVP to Attend the Mountain Area WDB Recognition Luncheon
  2. Employers Respond Now to the Skilled Trades/Construction Workforce Survey
  3. Finish Line Grants Update
  4. Employers sign up for Work-Based Learning Navigator
  5. NCWorks Economic Impact in Our Region
  6. State and Local Area Employment Data Released
  7. Employers Apply Now for Business Accelerator Grant
  8. Mountain Area Careers preview
  9. NCWorks NextGen Youth Success Story

Click here for the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board newsletter


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Skilled Trades/Construction Employer Survey

The Mountain Area Workforce Development Board is conducting a workforce survey of the skilled trades/construction sector in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties.  The survey results will be used to support the development of a certified career pathway that will be certified by the NCWorks Commission.  The career pathway will provide short-term training and work-based learning opportunities for graduating high school students, unemployed and underemployed adults, displaced workers and incumbent workers.  The end goal is to help our region develop a much needed pipeline of workers for this growing industry sector.

The information you provide in the survey will not be linked to your company name in the summary report as the report results may be shared publicly.  The collective data from all participating companies will be compiled and used to inform your company and the public on the types of skilled trades jobs available and wage ranges for those jobs. This information will be distributed in the NCWorks Career Centers across our region and used for advising individuals on career options in the skilled trades/construction sector.

The information will also be very important as the workforce board develops its regional strategic plan and for pursuit of grant monies that would provide training and education for specific populations (dislocated workers and transitioning workers and low-income older youth and adults) seeking careers in skilled trades or construction.  As a thank-you for participating, we will share the results of the survey after completion.

The Board appreciates your candid and timely input.  Thank you in advance for completing this important survey by December 31, 2018.  We have delayed the deadline to December 31 to increase the number of responses.   We have only received 15 employer responses so far and we hope to have responses from at least 30 employers.  Should you have questions, please contact Nathan Ramsey at or call him at 828-768-3216 and/or Barbara Darby at or call her at 828.231.6611.

Click here to respond to the survey


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Employers Sign Up for Work-Based Learning Navigator

The Governor’s Office, North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) and Fidelity investments have created the Navigator. The Navigator will allow you to connect with educators for work-based learning opportunities (school tours of businesses, internships, business classroom speakers, etc.). We hope Western North Carolina businesses will sign-up for The Navigator so our educators can connect with you for work-based learning opportunities.
“The Navigator is an online marketplace that makes it easier for NC educators and workforce development professionals to integrate work-based learning resources into their classrooms. The platform operates like an online shopping experience, only everything on the Navigator is free. The inventory is made up of employer-offered work-based learning activities ranging from guest speakers to apprenticeships. Employers post opportunities, which we call resources. Educators and workforce teams can search by keyword, county, or by using any number of filters including career clusters and age of audience. Students gain increased access to work-based learning opportunities. Remember everything on the Navigator is free.
The Navigator platform was developed by the North Carolina Business Committee For Education (NCBCE), in partnership with Fidelity Investments and the Office Of The Governor.”
If you are a business that would like to sign up on the Navigator, please see the following links:
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Mountain Area 2018 Recognition Luncheon

You are invited!  Mountain Area Workforce Development Board 2018 Recognition Luncheon.  Due to the snow storm, the luncheon has been postponed until Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, employers from throughout the region, WIOA participants, workforce partners and the general public.
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes outstanding employers and participants from the past year.
Tuesday, January, 8, 2019
Welcome 11:15 am
North Buncombe Strings Orchestra musical performance 11:15 am – 12:00 pm
Luncheon 11:15 am – 12:00 pm
Program 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center
16 Fernihurst Drive, Asheville, NC 28801
Luncheon catered by the Red Radish.  Everyone is invited to this free event.  Parking is available in the parking deck adjacent to the conference center.  Please RSVP to
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Experience More: The Summit for Work-Based Learning

You are invited!

The Experience More Summit on Work-Based Learning & NCBCE Annual Meeting is the launch of a new norm in North Carolina’s workforce development efforts and part of Governor Roy Cooper’s commitment to making sure all North Carolinians (our people and our companies) are ready for the jobs of today and prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

Building on the good work that is happening in North Carolina, the summit will showcase a new model for engagement – one that is employer-led and built with the foundations of being able to share best-practices, access resources, and measure outcomes that allow for more informed, data-driven decision making.

The event will spotlight corporate leaders who understand the importance of playing an active role in developing their own talent pipeline and believe in aligning the organization’s talent acquisition strategies through community investment efforts. The event will also serve as a platform to unveil new tools and frameworks that will help to scale work-based learning across the state, and provide opportunities for regional stakeholders to convene around the design of strategic action plans for their local communities.


WHO: Governor’s Office, NC Business Committee for Education (NCBCE), Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, AB Tech, Blue Ridge Community College, GE Aviation, Mission Health and Pardee UNC HEALTHCARE

WHAT: Experience More: The Summit for Work-Based Learning Western Convening

WHEN: Friday, December 7, 2018

Light breakfast and networking, 8:15 am – 9:00 pm

Program and Lunch, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

WHERE: Mission Health/A-B Tech Conference Center

16 Fernihurst Drive, Asheville, NC 28801

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Mountain Area Youth Summit

You are invited to join for the Mountain Area Youth Summit.

How can our region better assist youth so they can earn a postsecondary credential and obtain employment at a family sustaining wage?
Here’s why we need to more effectively assist youth in our region:


Today’s youth are competing for 21st century jobs against international peers and they are less prepared. According to research, U.S. youth today are the first generation expected to earn less than their parents. The economic opportunity gap between the rich and poor is widening, especially for underrepresented minorities, making it harder to get ahead.
    • One in seven young adults ages 16-24 is not in school or working and losing the opportunity to gain crucial education, skills, and work experience they need to get ahead.
    • Fewer students are completing degrees at both two-year and four-year institutions, even though 65% of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training by 2020.
    • Millennials earn 20% less than their parents at the same age.
From the Siemens Foundation:  “Young Adults in the U.S. Face Challenges to Economic Opportunity”
Click on the link below to register or RSVP.

We forward to seeing you at this youth summit.
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Local Employers Are Growing Talent Through Registered Apprenticeship

Join us for the Mountain Area Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) 2018 Recognition Event on Thursday, September 6, 9:00 am at the Western Carolina University Instructional Site at Biltmore Park. There will be a light breakfast and networking from 8:15 am – 9:00 am.

At this event we will honor Western North Carolina employers, economic developers and educators who are leading the way in growing the talent needed by the region.

This event is a partnership of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board, ApprenticeshipNC, NC Community College System, Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, Transylvania Alliance, Madison County Economic Development, AB Tech and Blue Ridge Community College.

At this event will recognize the following local employers: Advanced Superabrasives, Inc., Alpha Tech, Asheville Fire Department, Asheville Police Department, Atlas Precision Plastics, BorgWarner Thermal Systems, BorgWarner Turbo Systems, Current by GE, Daystar Machining, GE Aviation, MB Haynes Corporation, Meritor, Nypro Healthcare, West Buncombe Fire Department, and Western Carolina Tool and Mold.   We will also recognize AB Tech and Green Opportunities for their pre-apprenticeship programs. Henderson County Schools, Blue Ridge Community College and Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development will be recognized for their collaboration to develop talent in the region.  Our region’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) Directors with Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, Henderson County Schools, Madison County Schools and Transylvania County Schools will also be recognized.

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New Staff at Mountain Area Workforce Development Board

Kim Cox, Performance and Accountability Specialist for the Board has retired and we welcome Melissa Wright who will be serving in this role. We wish Kim all the best on her retirement and thank her for her many years of service to the Board.
Abigail Hickman has joined the Board as our Work-Based Learning Coordinator. Abigail will work closely with Barbara Darby, Regional Business Services Coordinator to expand work-based learning in our region.
Welcome Melissa and Abigail, we are excited that you have joined the Mountain Area Works team!
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NCWorks Commission meets in Asheville on August 8

The NCWorks Commission will meet in Asheville at the AB Tech/Mission Health Conference Center on Wednesday, August 8 from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm.  This meeting is open to the public.  This will be the first time the NCWorks Commission has met in a location west of Hickory.

“The NCWorks Commission recommends policies and strategies that enable the state’s workforce and businesses to compete in the global economy.

The Commission is designated as the state’s Workforce Development Board under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Led by a private sector chair, the 33-member Commission includes representatives from the business community, heads of state workforce agencies, educators, and community leaders. All members are appointed by the Governor.

Mission: To ensure North Carolina has an innovative, relevant, effective, and efficient workforce development system that develops adaptable, work ready, skilled talent to meet the current and future needs of workers and businesses to achieve and sustain economic prosperity.”

NCWorks Commission members

NCWorks Commission members are majority private sector employers with other members representing the UNC System, NC Community College System, NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Department of Commerce, NC Department of Health and Human Services,  NC Department of Administration, NC Independent Colleges and Universities, organized labor as well as other workforce development representatives.



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Region continues streak as lowest unemployment rate in NC

From the Mountain Xpress:

“Buncombe County is No. 1 — at least when it comes to North Carolina’s workforce. According to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, the county’s unemployment rate in April hit 2.8 percent, its lowest since 2001 and the lowest of all counties in the state for 38 consecutive months.

“It’s a great sign of the health of our economy,” says Clark Duncan, senior vice president for economic development at the chamber and executive director of the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County. The past three years have seen consistent growth throughout the region, driven by sectors both expected and surprising.

Tourism and health care, the traditional drivers of the Asheville-area economy, continue to play vital roles. Jobs in health care rose by 11 percent between 2014 and 2017, while jobs in accommodation and food services were up by 8 percent over the same time period.

Explore Asheville (formerly the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau) reports that in 2016, 3.8 million overnight visitors came to Buncombe County and an additional 6.1 million people came to the county for the day, together spending $1.9 billion at local businesses. The bureau also notes that one in seven jobs in Buncombe County is supported by the tourism industry. Without those jobs, the bureau says that the unemployment rate would be 15.2 percent.

Those employees serve an ever-increasing number of tourists, according to the most recent available bureau data. Demand for hotel rooms in January was up 8.5 percent over the same time period in 2017, and total airport passengers were up 30 percent.

But Duncan points out that the manufacturing sector actually led Buncombe County job creation in March and April. In March, year-over-year growth in manufacturing was 600 jobs, and in April, year-over-year growth was estimated at 1,100 jobs. “That is more year-over-year growth than health care and tourism,” he says.

By comparison, health services and education saw a year-to-year growth of 200 jobs in March and 200 in April, while the leisure and hospitality sector saw year-to-year growth of zero in March and 200 in April. “It’s fairly unusual to see manufacturing outperforming these other two sectors,” notes Duncan.

Duncan says that the rise in manufacturing jobs can partly be attributed to the region’s economic recovery over the past several years, which created a pent-up demand for critical investments in technology and machinery. “You saw this rush to make fairly significant investments like GE Aviation and New Belgium Brewing,” says Duncan. In May 2016, New Belgium Brewing opened a $175 million brewery in Asheville, and in March of this year, GE Aviation announced it would invest $105 million into the company’s Asheville facility, creating 105 new jobs.”

Mountain Xpress: Area economy continues growth, low unemployment


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