All posts by Brenda Wilkerson


Game-changing Pathways Strategies: Know the Terrain

Workforce development impacts the economic landscape of the region. The Triangle Regional Career Pathways Collaborative, which consists of CAWD, Durham, and Kerr-Tar workforce development boards, is holding it’s first professional development series for those who have a role in career advisement.

Career Development Coordinators (CDCs) AudienceQ&Afrom the region’s public schools and career advisers from community colleges will join workforce development professionals for a 1/2 day program about where the jobs are, where the jobs will be, regional trends affecting the type of workers businesses are looking for, and much more.

One of the main highlights will be a Q&A with individuals that work in high-demand occupations within the region’s target industries. This will enable attendees to gauge real-world knowledge, skills, abilities, personal qualities and attitudes necessary to excel in those careers.

If your career advisers would like to attend, they can register here.



Annual Kick-off Event!

CAWD holds a kick-off event for career center staff and contractors at the beginning of each fiscal year. We want to provide the right conditions for everyone to give of their best each day so that they contribute to the organizations success with an enhanced sense of their own value and well-being.  Typically, there is a theme selected by the staff to encourage buy-in and participation, while CAWD’s One-Stop team develops the agenda and supporting activities.

This year’s event stresses policy, pathways, and performance!  Full understanding, acknowledgement, and enforcement of policies and processes not only  support the integrated service model, but put customers in the best possible position to receive what they need, when they need it.

Part of CAWD’s career pathways work involves education and professional development for front-line staff for the purpose of helping them to better inform customers about career choices. For example, time and money can be wasted on certifications that are of little to no value to employers. If staff know which cert’s are desirable for which positions, they can lead the customer in the right direction and increase the individual’s marketability.

In the end, we want to impact performance. Team members that are fully absorbed in and enthusiastic about their work  are more likely to do what it takes to further the organization’s goals and those of customers.


Cisco_Staff, kids, Cisco

Cisco Lunch & Learn

Educational Data Systems Incorporated (EDSI) hosted a Lunch & Learn with Cisco for the Capital Area Youth program in Raleigh. EDSI is a national workforce development consulting company. Their Wake County office provides academic and career services to local youth, in and out of school, aged 16 to 24.

Twenty-eight young adults attended the event to learn more about potential careers in technology and beyond. Employees from Cisco discussed the different career pathways available and the interests that brought them to this field. The young adults were then able to ask their own questions of the panel. Some of the subjects they touched on included education, company culture, and the “spark” that helps an employee find fulfillment in their work.

Lunch was provided to  participants by Cisco. EDSI plans to run this panel every quarter at the youth center, with a “Day at Cisco” Youth Summit to be scheduled in early Summer.
Cisco staff & kid standing in lobby

Apprenticeship_3 welders

Apprenticeship Summit for Businesses

Capital Area Workforce Development Board and NCWorks are hosting an Apprenticeship Summit for local businesses and organizations to learn a more effective way to recruit and train new employees. Apprenticeships allow workers to learn new skills, adapt to a new company environment, and earn a living wage. An average of 2,000 hours are spent training on the job along with 144 hours of classroom-based instruction per year, with an “earn as you learn” pay scale.

Apprenticeships are a time-tested tool to recruit and train a workforce, with proven economic results for the employer. They have thrived for decades in Europe. An apprenticeship in England is estimated to raise an employer’s economic output by about $366 per week. A Swiss study found that employers in their country earn a net $300 million each year from the work apprentices do while training on the job. A 2009 Canadian study found that, for every $1 Canadian businesses invested in apprenticeship programs, they could expect to receive $1.47 back!

This FREE business event will feature a panel of company reps with apprenticeship programs. Learn first hand how they can help your organization. This event is on May 18th at the Embassy Suites in Cary and includes breakfast and networking time.

Businesses and employers can find more information and RSVP here.

A separate event is being held for partners and workforce agencies.

Taxes On Calculator Showing Income Tax Return

Free Tax Prep at Career Center

It’s tax season! NCWorks is offering free tax preparation and E-Filing for the 2016 fiscal year. IRS Certified Volunteers will be available at Wake County Human Services at the NCWorks Career Center to help you prepare and E-file your federal and state taxes. To process your tax return, please bring original copies of social security cards, government issued photo ID, and all W-2s & 1099Rs. For a full list of required documents and more information please visit The Career Center is located at 220 Swinburne St., Raleigh NC on the third floor. Hours are Tuesdays 12-5, Thursdays and Fridays 10-2.

CAWD Board Member Chosen for Leadership North Carolina.

We have always believed that we have the best board members in the state.  So it’s no surprise that Anthony Caison, VP of Continuing Ed. at Wake Tech and “board member extraordinairAnthony Caison_smalle” was among a select few chosen for Leadership North Carolina!

What he will learn about the state, its strengths, weaknesses, and community needs are sure to impact what we do to impact the local workforce and business community.

Congratulations, Anthony!

Chris Johnson, Johnston County Economic Development

At the Table For Economic Developers


Economic developers have a big job – getting businesses to come (attraction), to stay (retention), and grow (expansion).  Often, this includes understanding and communicating information about the current and future workforce, and the historic and projected performance of various industries. CAWD believes strongly in economic development through workforce excellence, the result of which should be a strong talent pipeline that will feed the needs of employers regardless of where they are in the business cycle.

Economic developers are an important link to the business community. Whether we are providing letters of support that articulate services we will provide their business clients, or they are partnering with us on grant applications and industry projects, working together is the best means of conveying a commitment to their success.

CAWD has been involved in several economic development projects, including the expansion of Relias Learning which will bring 450 new jobs to Cary, Novo Nordisk’s expansion that will bring 600 jobs to Johnston County, and Silicon Valley start-up Walk Me’s new location in downtown Raleigh.



Chris Johnson, Director, Johnston County Economic Development
Adrienne Cole, Executive Director, Wake County Economic Development


Enhancing Partner Relationships

symbioticCapital Area’s board members created three new task forces to concentrate on areas deemed vital to the success of our work – Strategic Communications, Unifying Goal, and Symbiotic Relationships.  Symbiotic relationships are those where both entities benefit mutually from the relationship.  Because workforce development is such a collaborative endeavor, CAWD is taking steps to understand how our partners feel about working with us, and how we can improve.

A survey was sent to over 100 organizations with whom we currently work, or have worked with in the past. Each was asked to answer questions to help us evaluate our current standing. They also provided suggestions for improving the relationship, such as more communication about board activities.

A new survey will be sent to clarify and expand on what we learned from the first survey. If you did not participate, but want to be included in a follow-up survey, please send an email to