All posts by Brenda Wilkerson

CAWD Announces First Ever Recipients of “Wake Partners” Grant

Fourteen nonprofits awarded grants to aid individuals affected by COVID-19

Capital Area Workforce Development is happy to announce that it will fund 14 projects for community-based organizations through the new “Wake Partners” grant program. Awards total just over $800,000 and will be used to help Wake County citizens affected by COVID-19 with workforce development related activities. “Wake Partners” is possible through a partnership with Wake County Government and county commissioners using funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“The amount of interest expressed by the nonprofit community in this funding really brought home how coronavirus is affecting our residents, both directly and indirectly. From housing to food to education, this pandemic is disturbing family stability like never before,” said Pat Sturdivant, Executive Director at CAWD. “The Wake partners funding provides additional support for residents to access workforce development services as well as remove some of the barriers caused by COVID -19.”

CAWD received 45 applications during the short application period. Priority was given to those that supported job readiness, education delivery and instructional support, and support services necessary to eliminate barriers to employment.

The following organizations received grants:

Centre for Homeownership (CHOEDC)

Community of Hope Ministries

Community Success Initiative, Inc.

Dorcas Ministries

Dress for Success Triangle NC

Haven House

Jobs for Life

Justice Served NC

Fathers Forever

Triangle Literacy Council

Interfaith Prison Ministry for Women

Passage Home

Urban Ministries of Wake County

Wake Forest Area Chamber Foundation

Information Technology Apprenticeship Program is Recruiting!

Capital Area Workforce Development is looking for qualified candidates to participate in the ISG Information Technology Apprenticeship Program (ITAP).
The goal of the program is to combine classroom learning with real-world experience so students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful IT professionals.
We are seeking 15–20 committed young women and men residing in Wake County between the ages of 18–30 who have an interest in technology.
Participants may be eligible to receive a stipend of $10 per hour for the duration of the program. We welcome individuals of diverse backgrounds that meet the following criteria:
–Wake County Resident
–Between 18–30 years of age
–Ability to pass a background check
–High School Diploma or equivalency
–Availability to commit to training
To learn more and apply, click here.
For additional help, contact the program coordinator at or call 919-824-4966.


Career Center Reopening Plan Underway

CAWD is working with our partners on a plan to reopen NCWorks Career centers at Tillery Place in Raleigh and Clayton to the public soon. Staff returned to the centers on July 13th and are using established protocols for personal health and safety and preparing for the public’s return. New signage with safety information and instructions for customers while onsite have been installed in addition to sneeze guards at computer stations.

If all goes according to plan, the centers will reopen at reduced capacity in late July or early August.  Since NC Commerce is a major partner in center operations, the exact date for opening to the public will be influenced by guidance from the state. Career centers located in Wake County’s regional centers will reopen on the county’s schedule.

Emergency Funds for Youth Employment

The 3-month average rate of unemployment claims by individuals under the age of 25 was 18%. Many youth and young adults work in the hospitality industry which was hardest hit by Covid. CAWD applied to Wake County government for emergency funds that will help young people transition into jobs with better career potential. The funding will be used specifically for electrical  and information technology training, and apprenticeships.

Raleigh-Durham Joint Apprenticeship Task Committee (JATC) has a pre-apprenticeship program that introduces youth, women and people of color to the electrical profession. Training is a hybrid model with an online component alternated with in-person training to allow for social distancing. Students will also complete training hours with local employers. When complete, they will be considered for a Registered Apprenticeship with IBEW members that includes full-time pay and continued training.

ISG has developed ITAP (Information Technology Apprenticeship Program) to help young people gain entry-level knowledge in the IT field. This program is a gateway into IT and possibly Cyber Security careers for those with an interest and aptitude for the work. The curriculum covers foundational knowledge in IT and will include assistance with sought after certificates in CompTIA. Training will primarily be online to allow for at-home learning. Upon completion, participants will be prepared to continue their education in higher skilled areas such as a Cyber Security Apprenticeship or entry level IT employment.

IBM Selects CAWD for Project Re-Ignite

CAWD was one of 10 organizations in the nation selected by IBM as a partner for their Re-Ignite initiative. The goal of Re-Ignite is to minimize the impacts of the pandemic by speeding up the recovery of local workforces, communities and economies. We were selected because we have a firm grasp off the region’s workforce/economic development ecosystem and have an existing focus on vulnerable communities.

One element of Re-Ignite is SkillsBuild, a platform IBM created to equip job seekers with professional skills needed in a digital world. In addition to technical training, there are modules to acquaints users with new ways of working such as Agile and Design Thinking. It also introduces them to new technologies such as AI and Blockchain.  As a service to businesses, companies can receive individualized support to address key business challenges, opportunities and strategies for development of re-launch plans, and much more.

CAWD plans to incorporate IBM’s SkillsBuild platform into service offerings at the career centers for customers enrolled in WIOA programs, and those who are not. This partnership has the ability to produce a long-lasting impact on workers and businesses in the Triangle.

Housing for Reentry Clients

Without adequate housing, it is almost impossible for anyone to find and sustain employment. It’s especially hard for those leaving incarceration and have little outside support.

CAWD will use $100,900 from House Wake! for emergency and transition housing for reentry clients. Housing is the top need for 90% of men and women being served through our Roads to Reentry program and the Wake LRC.  A safe place to live is essential to a successful reentry. Since most newly released men and women have no money to pay rent, we are happy to have added funding to enhance our rentry programs.

Roads to Reentry has enrolled 54 individuals and the Wake LRC has served 49 since CAWD took over in February. Partners can refer reentry clients at

Our Response to Covid-19: How Workforce Boards Are Making a Difference During the Pandemic


A Letter to the Community

Just as we have been getting used to a new normal for our lives in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequities, and the tragic deaths of several individuals in recent weeks have all contributed a firestorm of protests that have brought injustice and racism to the forefront and compelled us to confront the racism in our society.

The North Carolina Association of Workforce Development Boards (NCAWDB), through our network of NCWorks Career Centers, is committed to providing all residents with the career services, resources and support needed to achieve economic prosperity. This includes support such as tuition assistance for credential attainment, work experience opportunities and employment assistance, along with supportive services that help to remove barriers to employment.  Workforce Boards work with thousands of employers to connect them with the skilled talent they need.

At our core are the following values:

  • We value the voices, experiences, cultures, intellect and multidimensionality of all people;
  • We value the ability of individuals and support system change in ways that make racial justice possible;
  • We value diversity and believe that equity and inclusion make us stronger;
  • We value honest, open and clear communications, and voicing and sharing our viewpoints with integrity even when difficult, unpopular, or risky;
  • We value relevance and resourcefulness in the face of changing social, economic, political, and ideological environments; AND
  • We will continue our work in making our services and programs accessible and open to all individuals, especially communities that have been traditionally underserved.

From education, skills training, work experience, and employment, local workforce development boards are dedicated to assisting individuals in gaining the skills needed to obtain employment that allows them to provide and thrive.

While so many elements of the future remain uncertain, in collaboration with our leadership, local Workforce Development Board members, and Directors, NCAWDB will continue to support a workforce system that is inclusive and continue to advocate for all residents.

Media Contact: Dr. Stephanie Deese
Executive Director, NCAWDB


About North Carolina Association of Workforce Development Boards (NCAWDB)

NCAWDB is a 501(c)6 and the voice for workforce development in North Carolina. We work collectively to plan, coordinate, oversee, and deliver workforce solutions through the NCWorks system. Our Boards help more people and businesses across the state gain access to programs and services that make North Carolina one of the most skilled, productive, and motivated workforce systems in the nation.

CAWD Launches “Reopen Wake” COVID-10 Training

Health and Safety Training Grant Helps Small Businesses Reopen Safely

Raleigh, NC, July 7, 2020Capital Area Workforce Development (CAWD) has launched Reopen Wake to support the reopening efforts of minority and women-owned businesses and businesses located in Wake County’s vulnerable communities.  Eligible businesses will be able to provide employees with health and safety training to minimize the spread of COVID-19 as employees return to work and operations resume.

“Small businesses often have insufficient financing and limited internal capacities which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. Business owners of color, women founders and other underrepresented minorities often have an even greater need. We’re glad to be able to provide this program to help businesses and their employees better prepare to operate safely in the current environment,” said Pat Sturdivant, Executive Director at CAWD.

This interactive online training addresses topics such as how to protect staff from workplace outbreaks, facilities setup and best practices for safely bringing employees back to work. Employees will also learn best practices for personal health and safety.

Funds for Reopen Wake were provided by Wake County Government.

More information including eligibility requirements and the application is available here.


“Reopen Wake” Covid-19 Employee Training

Reopen Wake is a two-module, online training that will help employers prepare team members to return to work using appropriate precautions. CAWD is pleased to offer this training at no-cost to eligible Wake County businesses. This program specifically connects businesses in Wake County’s vulnerable communities with necessary funding and training that will get employers and their staff back to work safely and confidently.

Businesses can find more information and apply HERE.