Childcare facilities continue to serve front-line families

As executive orders began piling up throughout March to close schools, restaurants, hotels and all other non-essential businesses, childcare facilities remained open. The essential nature of the business meant that even though it is a place where adults and children gather together in close quarters, it would have to adapt to continue its services.

Grocery workers step up to meet high demand

People stocking shelves and working behind a register never thought they’d find themselves on the frontlines of a global pandemic to ensure the public can continue to access food and other essentials.

Scholarship program aims to keep health workers local

A new partnership between Southwestern Community College and Harris Regional Hospital aims to help aspiring nurses afford their education while bolstering Harris’ ability to maintain a quality staff. 

Plott Creek developers submit site plan

When a controversial text amendment passed the Town of Waynesville Planning Board and Board of Aldermen in back-to-back public hearings almost two months ago, Mayor Gavin Brown told opponents that they’d again have their chance to oppose the development that instigated it. 

Knowing your neighbors: Vecinos health program is a bridge between migrant workers and the outside community

Whittier has been home to Elda Chafoya DePaz and her three children for less than a year, but it’s not their first summer in Western North Carolina.

In November, it will have been 12 years since DePaz, 36, left her native Guatamala to seek a better life in the United States. Life was hard in Guatamala, she said, with poverty everywhere you looked. She worked for a banana company there, tasked with separating 17 bunches per minute from the giant clumps of fruit that come from a banana tree. The work was done manually, with just a knife.

Moving the needle: Cashiers organizes to combat workforce development challenges

Spring can be a scramble at the High Hampton Inn and Country Club in Cashiers. Every year, after a long and quiet winter, the business prepares to reopen its kitchens, its golf greens, its rooms and welcome back the guests as trees leaf out and the cool mountain summer begins. 

SEE ALSO:
• Larger labor pool, longer season make Sylva hiring easier
• Haywood County employers need workers

To meet the challenge, High Hampton’s human resources manager Sydneye Trudics embarks on a rampage of hiring, in a matter of months nearly quadrupling the club’s staff from a cold-weather crew of 50 to a summer peak somewhere north of 180. It’s not an easy task.

Larger labor pool, longer season make Sylva hiring easier

With a bigger local labor pool and a tourism season that wraps around most of the year, hiring in Sylva is an easier proposition than it is for Cashiers businesses — at least, that’s how City Lights Café owner Bernadette Peters sees it. 

Help wanted: Haywood County employers need workers

Although Haywood County shares many economic similarities with Cashiers, it also sees challenges distinct from those of Jackson County.

Canton a ‘workplace of first choice’

haywoodCanton’s new budget includes a provision making it the first living wage certified government in Western North Carolina, but at the town board meeting June 23, aldermen took that measure one step further. 

HCC gets $2 million grant to re-train workers

Two million dollars in grant money is coming to Haywood Community College for laid-off workers to find a new place in the workforce.

The money is part of a grant from the Department of Labor that’s been handed out across the state. HCC got the funding by going in with nine other community colleges to try for money from the advanced workforce training pot.

“As one of 10 community colleges in the NC Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, HCC will participate in the creation of a new learning model to place the unemployed, dislocated workers and others in viable advanced manufacturing jobs,” said HCC President Rose Johnson in a statement.

The funding is geared towards training in advanced manufacturing, giving the unemployed an avenue into the more skilled sectors of manufacturing.

Schools in the alliance will share a total of $18.8 million over a three-year period.

Local and regional manufacturing outfits such as Sonoco Products, Consolidated Metco and West CATV Supplies are also a part of the project, along with Workforce Development Boards and JobLink centers across the state.

In total, the money will help unemployed workers in 17 counties, including Haywood and Buncombe, where A-B Tech also got a cut of the grant, though its share was much smaller at $357,645.

Across the country, only 32 community colleges were awarded funds from the $500 million grant allocation, though 200 applied.

A large component of the programs funded by the grant will obviously be designed to retrain low-skill workers, but the colleges will also be working with the industries these students are likely to end up in, assessing their needs and tailoring the programs to meet them. Online learning will also be given a boost by the money.

Elsewhere in the state, Robeson, Beaufort County, Craven, Fayetteville, Nash, Edgecombe, Davidson County and Surry community colleges are a part of the alliance that won the funds.

Officials at HCC said it was a bit too early to announce with certainty exactly what the influx of cash will fund; the awards were only handed out last week.

But a committee was scheduled to meet over the weekend to discuss just where the money should go.

There are, however, restrictions on what can be done with it. The federal grant can only be used to retrain workers and improve their skills, not for other college projects like building repairs.

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