Beaufort County Partnership Seeks to Develop Skilled Workforce

For the upcoming ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity forum, Oct. 15 in Charlotte, the Institute for Emerging Issues has chosen five community initiatives from throughout North Carolina that will share with our forum audience how they’re working on economic development in their area. Here, we profile the Beaufort County workforce development partnership.

In order to help residents of Beaufort County get the skills and education they need for a career, a partnership has evolved between several organizations in the region focused on workforce development.

Beaufort County Economic Development, Beaufort County Community College, Beaufort County Schools, NCWorks, and the Region Q Workforce Board have formed an informal coalition seeking to work with local businesses, workers, and students to develop a more skilled workforce, particularly for the area’s manufacturing industry.

“The demand for workforce and the demand for skills is increasing,” said Martyn Johnson, the director of Beaufort County Economic Development. “So we came together to try and address those issues and also the issue that people think there aren’t many jobs in Beaufort County when there are.”

Each group in the partnership plays a different role. For example, Beaufort County Schools shows middle and high school students what skilled jobs are available to them in the county and prepares students with the skills they will need for those jobs. The community college system offers training programs and has developed apprenticeship programs with local businesses. NCWorks broadly helps people find employment and also offers on-the-job training.

Other allies in their work include East Carolina University (particularly the entrepreneurial school) and Golden LEAF Foundation, which has given millions of dollars in grants for some of the partners’ workforce development efforts.

With such a variety of partners doing different kinds of work, Johnson says he hopes the group’s involvement in the ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity community cohort will bring them together and help them focus their efforts even more.

Learn more about the Beaufort County partnership during the Institute for Emerging Issue’s ReCONNECT to Economic Opportunity forum on October 15 in Charlotte.