All posts by Brenda Wilkerson

CAWD Receives $1.5M for New Reentry Initiative

Raleigh, NC, August 20, 2019 – Capital Area Workforce Development Board  was awarded $1.5 million to provide individuals returning to the workforce from the justice system opportunities for meaningful employment. The funds are available through a U.S. Department of Labor’s Education and Training Administration grant. The initiative is called “Roads to Reentry” and will provide career readiness support, education and training to 188 individuals reentering the workforce.

“Roads to Reentry is a part of CAWD’s strategic plan to provide services that ensure that all Wake and Johnston County citizens have access to employment,” said Pat Sturdivant, Executive Director at CAWD. “And with Roads to Reentry we don’t want them to get just any job, but we’re being intentional about moving them into high-demand occupations like skilled trades that also offer better pay.”

Participants must be 25 or older with no sex offenses other than prostitution. They must have been released within nine months from program start or are being released within six months from program start. This includes those from Wake Correctional Center, Johnston Correctional Institute, and N.C. Correctional Institute for Women and other facilities where individuals may be returning to Johnston and Wake upon release.

CAWD will partner with Eckerd Connects, Wake Technical Community College, Johnston Community College, N.C. Department of Public Safety, Wake Department of Social Services, Legal Aid NC, Wake Reentry Council, and multiple employers to facilitate the program.

For questions, contact Pat.Sturdivant@wakegov.com or 919-856-6048.

Partner Meetings

One of the things CAWD and our partners have been working on is a common referral process for use throughout the  Capital Area NCWorks Career Center System.  In the May meeting,  training was provided as a part of implementing the new referral process. Use of the referral process includes giving partner agencies access to NCWorks Online, something previously not allowed but was critical to making the process as smooth as possible.

In the June meeting, there was discussion around cost sharing and more ways we can leverage one another’s strengths in service to our customers.

Strong partnerships are critical to workforce development. If you haven’t attended a partner’s meeting, we hope you can make one in the future. More meetings are being scheduled, so be on the lookout for your invitation.

Thousands of Jobs Available at Career Expo Despite Tight Labor Market

Raleigh, NC, July 10, 2019 – Capital Area Workforce Development is hosting the WRAL Capital Area Career Expo on Thursday, August 1, 2019 from 10 am to 2 pm at the McKimmon Center.  Approximately 75 employers have already signed on and combined have over 5000 vacancies.

“Although the most recent jobs data still shows relatively low employment, that’s still 25, 000 people without jobs in our area alone. There’s great opportunity in industries like construction and healthcare because they are finding it harder to fill vacancies so it’s not surprising that those are well-represented again this year,” said Pat Sturdivant, Executive Director of Capital Area Workforce Development Board.

Other industries represented include criminal justice, hospitality, information technology, local and state government, and non-profits.

“It’s our 9th year and we’re thrilled that several new businesses with all kinds of positions will be recruiting with us. The NCWorks Career Center in Raleigh is offering a workshop to prepare job seekers for the true purpose of job fairs which is to network and help recruiters put a face to the resume. Career changers can also discuss their skills and learn what they may need to transition,” said Kimberly Wheeler, CAWD Director of Business Engagement.

Admission is free for job seekers.

A full list of employers and event details are available online.

More for Small Biz

CAWD has enhanced business programs to better serve small, minority, and woman-owned companies (SMWBs), especially those with 100 or fewer employees. These businesses are significant in number and over time can play an increased role in job creation. Yet many don’t receive incentives and resources offered to big business to help them grow and add more jobs.

Two changes have been implemented. First, Catalyst 2020 was developed to fund in-house training for a company’s current employees. To give small businesses a boost in the application process, fields have been added to identify SMWBs. If checked, additional points are awarded in the scoring system, increasing the likelihood of further review.

Second, on-the-job training historically reimburses companies 50% of wages paid during training for new hires. We have increased it to 75% for SMWBs. By increasing financial support, these companies can hold on to existing working capital necessary to fulfill their growth ambitions.

If you know of small businesses who might benefit from Catalyst 2020 or OJT, refer them to Kimberly.Wheeler@wakegov.com.

Finalizing the Strategic Plan

CAWD’s strategic plan for PY19-22 will be finalized in September. After discussion and examination around organizational strengths and system challenges, the board came up with these strategic goals:

  1. Assist the untapped workforce in gaining the skills, competencies and credentials required for in-demand, family-supporting careers.
  2. Increase brand awareness with our stakeholders
  3. Align sector initiatives with workforce system and economic development needs

Three committees were formed around the goals: Customer Success, Outreach, and Sector Strategies. Each committee is making final decisions on strategies and tactics that will lead to fulfillment of CAWD’s strategic goals over the next three years.

Board Member Changes

L-R: Pat Sturdivant, Kristy Moore, Jerilyn Meckler, Craig Hagood

CAWD welcomed four new members at the June board meeting. Kristy Moore, VP at NC Association of Educators; Craig Hagood, CEO and President of House-Autry; and Jerilyn Meckler, VP of Talent & Culture at Nomaco. Not pictured is Chip Wood of the NC Division of Workforce Solutions.

L-R: Pat Sturdivant, Valerie Sachariat, Susan Jackson, Anthony Caison

Exiting board members are Susan Jackson, Anthony Caison, and Valerie Sachariat. Susan and Valerie were long-term members, serving 14 and 9 years respectively. Both also served as board chair during their tenure. Susan’s extensive background in healthcare made her invaluable and she will continue to serve on the NCWorks Commission. Anthony is leaving the board after 5 years of board and executive committee service. As VP of Workforce Continuing Education at Wake Tech, we rest in the fact that our long-standing relationship will remain in tact. Sadly, as Director of Recruiting at Charter Communications, Valerie is being relocated to Charlotte. They all will be greatly missed.

Selections for the executive committee were also confirmed in June.

  • Chair – Steve Miller, Novo Nordisk
  • Vice Chair – Brian Holland, Global Knowledge
  • Secretary – Tom White, NC State University Economic Development Partnership 

It was a bittersweet meeting, but we are thrilled with the caliber of our new members, executive committee, and the passion for workforce development they are all bringing to the board.

Capital Connections Community News

We often hear that workforce development programs are some of the best kept secrets in the Triangle. People are paying good money for things that are available for FREE! “Capital Connections” is being published to change that. It is a quick-read community newsletter for our residents and small businesses with information that ultimately will allow everyone to succeed and participate in the economic vitality of the region!

Capital Connections – April 2019

Advocating for Apprenticeship

As companies struggle to identify and attract workers, apprenticeship has been identified as an important piece of the puzzle. Engaging businesses in conversations about the benefits of establishing their own apprenticeship program continues to be a major focus.

NCWorks and NextGen staff were at the Johnston County Apprenticeship Information Session to explain how workforce services can actually enhance an apprenticeship program. OJT training dollars can reimburse employers a percentage of wages paid during the training period and Catalyst 2020 funding can be used to fund third-party training of their incumbent workers.

CAWD’s private sector board members are also playing  a major role! The demand for skilled professionals is at a 10-year high across industries. Nearly 1.5 million are employed within the manufacturing industry! Charlie Bell, president at Studio TK, hosted an apprenticeship information session and open house at his location in Clayton. In addition, Charlie and Stephen Miller of Novo Nordisk are both partners in the Johnston County Apprenticeship Program (JCAP).

Training-to-Work Reentry and Construction

The Training-to-Work Reentry Initiative  is successfully placing ex-offenders in construction-related training and jobs.

Data shows that reentrants employed two months after re-entry are about half as likely to recidivate as those who are unemployed. And among the employed, those earning more than $10 per hour are half as likely.

Being able to place participants in construction jobs where average wages are well in excess of $10 per hour will permit them to successfully sustain a household and ease the transition back into the mainstream community. Potential median earnings for those that stay in the construction industry are $19.66/hour for Wake County and $17.20 for Johnston.

Training-to-Work ends in September. Below are outcomes to date.

TOTAL PARTICIPANTS: 176
• 44 have entered employment
• 55 have entered occupational training
• 60 have earned industry credentials

Celebrating YouthBuild Milestones

An awards banquet was held recently at the City of Raleigh Museum to celebrate achievements of Capital Area’s YouthBuild participants.  Friends and family of the participants attended as well as program partners from Habitat for Humanity, NC Association of Building Contractors, City of Raleigh, and NCWorks NextGen.

Certificates and plaques were awarded for Outstanding Achievement, Perseverance, and Leadership. One participant received a trophy after being voted MVP – Most Valuable Participant.

Some award recipients shared personal stories about the positive effects of YouthBuild on their lives. Done properly, graduates leave prepared for success in higher education, apprenticeships, and in the workplace.

As the final cohort begins, we are confident that program goals will be met and participants will see results from their hard work.

Here are outcomes to date:

Participants: 45

  • 24 have entered jobs, apprenticeships, or higher education
  • 42 earned PACT construction certification
  • 17 have completed 320 hours of work experience
  • 6 have earned their GEDs