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Centralina WDB and Partners Help Connect Teachers and Businesses

CAFÉ Program Continues to Help Educators, Youth and Businesses in Stanly County

The CAFÉ (Career Academy for Educators) program offered Stanly County educators and administrators the opportunity to visit with local employers to identify the education and social skills necessary for employees to become successful within their company, and to become familiar with the many opportunities offered by Stanly Community College (SCC)

The CAFÉ program, which is in its eighth year of operation, is sponsored by Centralina Workforce Development Board (WDB), Stanly Community College, Stanly County Chamber of Commerce and Stanly County Schools.

CAFÉ participants are key players in public school education, post-secondary education and the business sector; each having access to a vital network that promotes a free exchange of ideas in which to improve future endeavors for all involved. The event allowed educators to earn continuing education credits. This year's participants included teachers and counselors from elementary, middle and high schools in the county.

This year's CAFÉ program was unique in that it was broken up into 2 sessions – CAFÉ 1.0 was held on June 18-20 and was geared toward teachers in the school system. CAFÉ 2.0 was held on June 24-26 and it focused on school principals, assistant principals, and counselors as well as staff from Stanly Community College.

The opening session for CAFÉ 1.0 was held at the Groves building, Stanly CC's Small Business Center in Albemarle, and remarks were given by Robin McCree, Executive Vice-President at Stanly CC; Georgia Harvey, Career & Technical Education Director with Stanly County Schools; Kathy Almond, President of the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce; and David Hollars, Executive Director of Centralina Workforce Development Board.

During the three day CAFÉ 1.0 event, participants traveled to different sites around the county for full tours and insight on what skills and qualifications new hires need. Day one began with an extensive tour of Carolina Paper Company in Oakboro, followed by a tour of Stanly Community College's Crutchfield Education Center and then concluded with a tour of Stanly Engineered Fastening in Stanfield. Day two also provided a wealth of information provided by in-depth tours of Fiberon in New London and Michelin in Norwood.

Speakers for the event included Jeff Parsons with Stanly CC's AMIT program , Frank Tamberelli with Stanly CC Small Business Center, Billy Huneycutt with I-CAR, and Gene Beneduce with the NC State University Industrial Extension Service. The topics varied from advanced manufacturing and technology systems, to entrepreneurship, as well as auto body and I-CAR information.

CAFÉ 2.0 kicked off on Tuesday June 24 at the Stanly CC Small Business Center in Albemarle. Participants heard from Stanly CC staff members Tom George and Mike Sperling about the college's Entrepreneurship Certificate, received information on the college's Advanced Manufacturing & Industrial Systems Technology (AMIT) program, visited Preformed Line Products in Albemarle and Siemens in Charlotte, and participated in a Leadership training seminar led by Betty O'Neal.

At both sessions, participants took part in speed networking sessions, an opportunity where several business and county representatives answered questions asked by the educators regarding skill and educational levels needed by graduating students and what may be available for them.

The Career Academy for Educators is the result of a wonderful partnership and is a great way to connect business and industry with schools and education. This program is an important part of the Board's strategy for addressing the skills gaps issues in our region. It has been and continues to be a model for our region and our state. The Centralina Workforce Development Board is delighted to be a sponsor of such a wonderful, educational event! For more information on the CAFÉ program or on the Centralina Workforce Development Board, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

Pictured left to right - front row seated: Wanda Mannes, Kathy Almond, David Hollars, Tabitha Ritchie, and Amber Zimmer. Middle row: Andra Bennett, Melissa Eudy, Robin McCree, Merlin Amirtharaj, Vivian Burnette and Diane Lambert. Back row: Alicia Herrin, Misty Hughes, Marcus Pryor, Georgia Harvey, Michael Sperling, Jeff Parsons, Josh Gooch, Luke Essex and Mandy Melton.
Pictured left to right: Shelby Lawson, Karen Nixon, Ashley Britt, Drew Laucher, Penny Breslin, and Andrea Russell.

Rowan Cabarrus Community College to Move Cosmetology Program

Program Will Move into Downtown Kannapolis in 2015

Beginning in May 2015, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College's (RCCC) cosmetology program will have a new home in downtown Kannapolis. Currently housed in several different parts of Cloverleaf Plaza, the college's certified nursing assistant and EMT programs, as well as its extension center, will be moving to 120 West Ave. The new location, which was previously a Belk and a towel store, will add 9,000 square foot to the college's facilities.

"We've been looking for places to move this program for a number of years," said Rowan-Cabarrus Community College President Dr. Carol Spalding. "The cosmetology program has outgrown its current space. We have 3 different parcels at our current location. This will allow us to pull them together," Spalding said.

Currently, the school has 19,000 square feet. The new facility will bring its space up to 28,000 square feet.

"We've got a couple of architectural renderings," Spalding said.

The new facility will create a reception area and cashiering area that will make the building feel more "like a commercial enterprise," she added.

Wanda Pressley-Altman, program chair over cosmetology, nail technology and aesthetics, said the new location will also provide two to three new classrooms, plus a larger clinic floor and more space for instructor offices.

"This new building has three entrances," Spalding said. One entrance will be for students and staff, another for clients, and the third will function as an emergency exit.

The new facility will allow Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to expand its already popular cosmetology program.

"We have a waiting list for the daytime program," Spalding said.

Having a consolidated facility will be less expensive to run and will create a more safe and secure environment.

According to Spalding, the college has several funding sources for the project that comes out to a little over $2 million.

This month, Cabarrus County commissioners approved $1.5 million for the project. An additional $329,000 will be provided by the school itself, and the city of Kannapolis gave $150,000 toward the new facility. These funds almost completely pay for all of the up-fitting costs.

Spalding said Rowan-Cabarrus would finance the rest of the cost with a lease that would last for 20 years.

The Rowan-Cabarrus cosmetology program offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates.

"We teach everything there is to teach about beauty," Pressley-Altman said, including about hair, skin and nails.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board is a proud partner with Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. The Board would like to congratulate the college on this move to help reach entrepreneurs interested in this field. For more information on this or on the Centralina WDB, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools Introduces "Extraordinary" Logo and Motto

School System Rolls Out One Part of New Strategic Plan

As a part of its strategic plan rollout, the Rowan-Salisbury School System introduced a new logo, motto and vision. The district's new logo, designed by Mike Miller, depicts a blue and green abstract person teaching for a star in a forward-moving motion.

"I like the energy," said Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody.

The figure in the logo is one "that anyone can relate to," she said, adding that there aren't any distinguishing characteristics that define its age, race or gender.

The logo is futuristic, and displays creativity and innovation, she said.

The district's new motto and vision fit mesh with a focus on achieving the extraordinary. The motto is "E3: Extraordinary Education Everyday," and the district's new vision states, "Rowan-Salisbury schools… Where every day, everyone discovers and achieves the extraordinary."

Extraordinary means "beyond what you expect – beyond normal," Moody said. "Extraordinary really means taking our students to the next level."

An extraordinary classroom is not going to look like a traditional classroom, she said.

Going beyond the standard means increasing rigor and raising standards by implementing problem based learning strategies, technology and collaboration.

During this month's principal retreat, Moody discussed a standard for excellence modeled after the customer service model of the midsized luxury hotel chain, the Four Seasons.

At the Four Seasons, employees are trained to "get it right," "get me right" and "wow me if you can," Moody said.

"Get it right" means meeting the standard every time, all the time. In a hotel, that means neatly made beds and clean towels. In a school system,

"Get me right" adds a level of personalization to service. The Four Seasons accomplishes personalization by keeping track of customers' habits and providing them with specialized services based on the reason behind their visit.

Each student's learning experience should be personalized in a way that helps him or her learn best, Moody said.

"Wow me if you can" is when employees go absolutely above and beyond what is expected. Moody and district principals will discuss how to do just that this week.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board is a proud partner with Rowan-Salisbury Schools. For more information on this or on the Centralina WDB, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

Mitchell Community College Announces New Agribusiness Program

New 2-Year Degree Program Starts in August 2014

For its entire existence, Iredell County has been a leader in the state's agriculture industry. Now, the future farmers of the No. 1 dairy and cattle county don't ever have to leave to get the education they need.

Mitchell Community College (MCC) announced in June the creation of an agribusiness technology program delivering a two-year degree that officials believe will be on par with any from North Carolina State University's Agricultural Institute.

The agribusiness program, which will be offered beginning in August, has been in the works for several years, and was credited as a dream of Mitchell CC President Dr. Tim Brewer, who spent seven years teaching agricultural and natural resources at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro early in his career.

Brewer said during an announcement ceremony on Thursday June 19, 2014 that the reasons for bringing agribusiness to Mitchell were two-fold – training students to work in the state's largest industry, and keeping Iredell County's past and present alive for generations to come.

"It's about more than industry," said Brewer. "It's about preserving a heritage, preserving land and providing a strong future for those who want to be strong stewards of the land. We're poised to do great things with this program."

The agribusiness program will aim to teach students how to successfully incorporate technological tools into farming and manage the financial side of a community-based small farm or agriculture business.

Over the next two years, Mitchell plans to add 15 courses for the program, with titles such as agriculture law and finance, agriculture marketing, principles of management and introduction to sustainable agriculture. Agriculture and agribusiness, anything related to the food, fiber or forestry industry, accounts for 16 percent of North Carolina's employees and 17 percent of the gross state product, making it the state's largest industry.

Dr. Richard Reich, assistant commissioner of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the addition of Mitchell's agribusiness program, which is the only one of its kind at a community college in the western half of the state, was cause to celebrate.

"This is a commitment to human resources, and there's no greater commitment, really," said Reich. "We need all the farmers, all the students, all the public to know more about agriculture."

Mitchell is still looking for several instructors to teach the agribusiness courses, and is also searching for land, farming equipment and resources to enrich the program. Despite its still-in-formation status, MCC instructor Marc Davis, who is the program's coordinator, said he expected its instruction and teaching to be just as good, if not better, than any similar program at N.C. State or N.C. A&T University, where many Iredell County students currently go to be trained in agriculture.

"It's got to be or we're not going to have any students," said Davis. "If we don't put up a good product, they're not going to come."

Mitchell expects the agribusiness program to be a popular one. Several high schools in the county have agriculture departments, with North Iredell High School having one of the largest in the state – more than 500 students taking at least one agriculture class a year.

Davis said he hoped the community would appreciate Mitchell's offering of the program, and said anyone who wants to donate land or equipment was more than welcome.

"This is an opportunity to embrace, basically, what our county represents, especially the northern part of the county," Davis said.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board has been a long time partner with Mitchell Community College, and congratulates them on this new technology program! For more information on the agribusiness program at Mitchell CC or on the Centralina Workforce Development Board, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

NC Research Campus Update

Here's The Latest on What's Happening With the World Renowned Biotech Development in Kannapolis

NC Research Campus Project Aims to Grow Scientists
A student-driven initiative at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis is gathering data on the frontiers of plant science and growing the scientists of tomorrow.

The Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP) is a $1.9 million program now in its second year that draws college and high school students from across North Carolina to study how plants create beneficial chemicals for human health at the molecular and genomic levels, according to the program's website. The first-of-its-kind research endeavor invites students to gain research experience in a multidisciplinary, collaborative environment incorporating both the data side of plant science -- at the campus's massive Core Laboratory -- and field work at local farms.

NCRC vice president for business development Clyde Higgs said program development began in part because of a dearth of North Carolina students pursuing hard science careers.

P2EP became one of the largest cooperative efforts of university and business partners ever assembled at the Research Campus.

Higgs called the program a "unique experience for students."

"This is not busy work for students," he said. "This is an opportunity for students that have an interest in science and technology to really get a strong glimpse into what it looks like to work in a science and technology environment."

The long-term study's first focus is a group of crops including blueberries, broccoli, oats and strawberries.

Scientists have long known that bioactive chemicals like anthocyanins -- which give blueberries and other dark fruit their distinctive colors -- interact with the human body at the smallest levels. But the actual sequences of chemical reactions that lead from complex molecules in a fruits to positive health outcomes for humans are still hard to unpack.

Enter P2EP, which gives students the chance to conduct meticulous experiments using the campus's state-of-the-art equipment to assemble a database and slowly bring the molecular mysteries into focus.

"No longer are the days of just a pipette and a sink, but a lot of this is going toward computer software," Higgs said.

Nicholas Gillitt, director of nutrition research at the NCRC's Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory, said his company is "very interested" in marker-assisted breeding, which allows scientists to tell from a seed's genes if the plant will produce a desired set of nutrients and traits.

"It takes 18 months to grow a pineapple," he said. "If you have to wait 18 months to find out whether it tastes good or has the right amount of Vitamin C or the right amount of a particular enzyme you're interested in, you're going to be waiting a long time."

Dole has a vested interest in knowing more about these pathways, he said, which could open up the possibility to tuning or tweaking genes through breeding plants with exactly the traits they're looking for.

As part of the P2EP, students took a tour of Barbee Farms in Concord, century-old family-owned vegetable farm off Pitts School Road near I-85.

On a sweltering June afternoon, farm manager Brent Barbee led a group of about 20 P2EP participants around the 60-acre farm, from the greenhouse with its varied tomato plants and drying red onions to a shed used for washing crops and drying racks of pungent garlic to the farm's distinctive peach trees.

Barbee helped transition the farm away from row crops to more diverse, nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.

He said Barbee Farms has benefitted greatly from the resurgence of the Local Foods movement.

People want to know "how it's grown, where it's grown, why it's grown the way it is, and actually start to make a conscious effort to know what they're putting in their body." Barbee said. "Most of our customers now are definitely wanting to put a finger on where their food comes from."

The dirt and sun and drone of insects made for a very different experience for students than the hum of specialized machines in an air-conditioned lab, but for many it was eye opening.

Allison Baucom, a rising junior studying biology at Catawba College in Salisbury, said seeing the plants growing in the field and greenhouses added context to the experiments and data on the Research Campus.

"It's good to see what you're doing and what you want to do from start to finish," she said, "kind of the root of it all."

Madison Love, a rising senior at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, said the farm gives students background on the source of their research.

The farm was "a lot bigger than I thought," she said, adding the variables on the farm -- everything from the way and time a crop is planted to the amount of sunlight and water it gets and the quality of soil, can affect its nutrient capacity.

Mason Forrest, a sophomore at UNC who graduated from A.L. Brown, agreed.

"The program is called 'Plant Pathways,' and it's in a different way, but you kind of do see the pathway from the farm to the research," he said.

For more information on P2EP, visit P2EP.org.

Please stay tuned to the Centralina Workforce Development Board’s monthly E-Newsletter for more developments on these exciting stories. For more information on what is going on at the NC Research Campus, please visit the Centralina Workforce Development Board’s website at www.centralinaworks.com.

Farmer Brent Barbee gives a tour of his family’s farm to a group of interns from the North Carolina Research Campus on Tuesday June 17, 2014. The interns were touring area farms with the Plant Pathways Elucidation Project, which is composed of graduate and undergraduate interns from 12 colleges and universities around the state.

New Industrial Park will Recharge Mooresville's Economic Development Possibilities

Industrially speaking, Mooresville is "open for business" again. So declared town, county and business leaders Thursday June 19, 2014 during groundbreaking ceremonies for Mooresville's newest industrial park. The 476-acre Mooresville Business Park East, on farm land across N.C. 801 from the Mooresville Business Park, will allow the economic development community to get aggressive again in luring manufacturing companies here.

Vail Carter, Centralina Workforce Development Board's Business Services Coordinator and Centralina WDB Employer Services staff members with ResCare participated in this event.

Since Niagara Bottling Co. moved into the last major available site in the Mooresville Business Park in March 2012, the nonprofit Mooresville-South Iredell Economic Development Corporation (MSIEDC) has had little to offer companies looking for new manufacturing sites.

"This is setting the table for the next decade of economic development opportunity," Robby Carney, Executive Director of the MSIEDC, said at the event, which took place under a large white tent in the middle of a mowed wheat field that will soon be the epicenter of the industrial park.

Added Iredell County Commissioners Chairman Steve Johnson, "This project will assure that South Iredell is relevant for years to come. Mooresville is open for business."

Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins said the new park will target advanced manufacturing firms, motorsports businesses and companies that serve the defense industry.

The business park will be the third developed by the umbrella nonprofit South Iredell Community Development Corporation, along with similar-sized Mooresville Business Park and the South Iredell Industrial Park. Mooresville has several other business parks, all privately owned, most notably the Lakeside and Talbert business parks.

At Mooresville Business Park East, land will be sold in parcels of 10 to 200 acres, at $35,000 per acre. Carney said the MSIEDC will spend $1.7 million to build roads, water-sewer and other infrastructure at the park.

"In today's business landscape, a community must have 'site ready' industrial product to grow jobs and business investment," he said.

"Mooresville has been a leader in economic development for years, but because of our success, we've become limited on industrial property. With this new park, we'll continue to compete at a high level for economic development projects for years to come."

Underscoring the impact of successful industrial parks on a community's tax base, Carney noted that the Mooresville Business Park has a value of $492 million when factoring in real property and personal property (equipment and machinery).

That business park employs 2,000, he said.

Please continue to look to the Centralina Workforce Development Board's monthly E-Newsletter for updates on this exciting development in our region!

Mooresville and Iredell County government officials raise ceremonial shovels of dirt during the groundbreaking.

G&W Laboratories Takes Over Actavis Operations

Company Plans to Spend $3.5 Million on Equipment and Keep all 300 Jobs in Lincolnton

New Jersey-based G&W Laboratories Inc. has bought the Actavis facility in Lincoln County and plans to spend $3.5 million for additional equipment at the site.

The best news for the 300 Actavis employees is they still have jobs after the company announced late last year it would phase out production in the county, says Crystal Gettys, Business Development Manager for the Lincoln Economic Development Association.

Gettys says it's "rewarding to work with a company such as G&W Laboratories who appreciates the current talent and wants to secure that talent."

Buying Actavis allows G&W Laboratories to expand its portfolio of cream, liquid, ointment and gel dosages of pharmaceuticals, says Ron Greenblatt, CEO of the company.

"We believe the facility, operations, staff and the surrounding community make for a perfect fit operationally and culturally for G&W Laboratories," he says.

Please continue to look to the Centralina Workforce Development Board's monthly E-Newsletter for updates on this exciting development in our region!

G&W Laboratories holds a ribbon cutting to signify a new start for the Actavis facility in Lincoln County.

Albemarle Glass to Add 23 Jobs

Triton Glass Purchased the Stanly County Glass Company and Plans for the Future

Triton Glass, which acquired the operations of Albemarle Glass Co. Inc. in Stanly County, plans to add 23 jobs to the company's work force over the coming five years.

The company will also spend $2.2 million to add two production lines at the facility at 232 S. First St. in Albemarle. The operation employs five workers.

Hemant Patel and his cousin, Sahaj Patel, are the new owners of the company. The two didn't disclose financial details of the deal to take over Albemarle Glass.

Hemant Patel also owns Universal Stone of Charlotte, which supplies builders with granite, tile, cabinetry and other building products.

"Our new operation in Stanly County will not only support our business in the growing Charlotte market, but give us access to two of North Carolina's other major metropolitan areas as well" including the state's Triad and Triangle areas, Hemant Patel said in a press release about the new jobs and investment.

Incentives for the project include state job-training support from the state and a property tax grant from Albemarle and Stanly County. A total value of the incentives weren't immediately available.

Please continue to look to the Centralina Workforce Development Board's monthly E-Newsletter for updates on this exciting development in our region!

Triton’s Sahaj Patel also owns Universal Stone.

Mooresville Company's Products Catch the Attention of Motorsports and Military

JRi Shocks Uses Innovative Ideas to Help Build Cross-Industry Products

Between a phone application that can adjust car shock absorbers from the driver's seat, and developing a new military all-terrain vehicle with Boeing, Mooresville residents might be "shocked" by the amount of innovation going on at JRi Shocks and MSI Defense Solutions.

JRi Shocks in the Lakeside Business Park near I-77/Exit 36 was founded in 2007 by Jeff Ryan, who has been involved in the motorsports industry for more than 30 years.

"Jeff took his high-level of success and wisdom from working in motorsports and formed an engineering-based company to develop shocks for racing and motorcycles," said Seth Fargher, marketing and communications manager of JRi Shocks. "He hired former crew chiefs and people who were knowledgeable and really passionate about the industry to help develop the shocks.

"We really stress that we are an engineering-based company because we assemble and build everything that rolls out our doors."

One of their most innovative recent projects, and one that is getting a lot of attention from the motorsports industry, is an electronically adjustable shock absorber system. By using a phone application called JRide, race drivers can adjust their car's shocks simply by swiping a few keys on their phone.

"It used to be that the driver would have to come off the track to adjust their shocks, but with the new app, it condenses the time it takes to make an adjustment," said Fargher.

Once downloaded, the user enters their vehicle into the system and then can adjust their shocks for conditions such as high-speed bumps or sandy dunes. The application is mostly designed for off-road racers.

"A lot of racers think they need more horsepower, but really they need to adjust their shocks for more grip and better cornering," Fargher said. "It really improves the performance of the vehicle."

When the federal government learned how JRi Shocks had made great strides in the shock-absorption business, the Department of Defense signed a contract with the Mooresville company in 2008 and MSI Defense Solutions was born.

"MSI is a design, engineering and manufacturing company that does contract work with a variety of companies including the Department of Defense and Boeing ," said Fargher. "We do upfits to the armored vehicles to improve their suspension and durability. You don't really think about the weight of an armored vehicle, but it's a lot, so suspension is a key component."

In addition to upfitting vehicles, MSI Defense Solutions also worked with Boeing to develop the Phantom Badger Internally Transportable Vehicle, which is designed to fit snugly in the Marines' MV-22 Osprey , as it previously was unable to easily transport an all-terrain combat vehicle.

According to military.com, the 60-inch wide Badger has a 240 horsepower multi-fuel engine, can ford 3 feet of water and can reach 80 mph on paved roads. It's also configured for a range of missions, including reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, mounted weaponry and combat search and rescue.

MSI Defense Solutions was also recently honored as one of Boeing's suppliers of the year for its partnership with the company.

Vehicles aren't the only way that MSI Defense Solutions helps the military.

"We developed Bionex, which is used by Special Forces," Fargher said of the device, which looks like a large knee brace. "There is an incredible amount of force exerted on the legs of a paratrooper when they land, so this was developed as a shock absorber for their legs when they descend so they aren't exhausted. They can land, unclip themselves from the Bionex and get right to business without being so tired."

With the growth of the company, JRi Shocks and MSI Defense Solutions needed a new home, so last year they moved from their smaller original site to the former Red Bull Racing complex in the Lakeside Business Park. The companies have more than 50 full and part-time employees.

"We now have three buildings and 70,000 square feet to work with, so we have room for now and to expand in the future," said Fargher.

Everything that is made for JRi and MSI Defense is manufactured by hand and in-house at the Knob Hill Road location, a fact that the business is quite proud of.

"We have a fabrication area to construct the shocks and then we run them through quality control and inspect them to make sure they are perfect every time," said Fargher. "We're constantly re-engineering the design of our shocks to make improvements and we work with racers to test-drive our parts and make sure they are doing what they are intended to do."

As for why the company is located in Mooresville, Fargher said the racing industry was a big part of it.

"It's a natural fit," he said. "Most of us started in the racing world and Mooresville is Race City, so it's the place to be."

Please continue to look to the Centralina Workforce Development Board's monthly E-Newsletter for updates on this exciting development in our region!

Lincoln County Winery Has Possible Growth in China

WoodMill Winery Continues to Grow as Clients from Asia Show Interest

Larry Cagle Jr. was 44 when he started growing muscadine grapes and making his own wine. It was 2006, and the hobby was just a side gig, a long-shot attempt to help his father, Larry Cagle Sr., find a fraction of relief from the deteriorating heart condition and arthritis that had plagued him for decades.

Fast-forward eight years: Cagle has left his well-paying job as a researcher for the Charlotte-based Electric Power Research Institute to start and run WoodMill Winery, located on 52 acres of rolling hills and carefully groomed vines in Vale (Lincoln County).

He and his staff of 24 host daily tastings, more than 50 weddings a year and five annual festivals, including a family favorite: the “Grape Stomp.”

WoodMill sells blueberry, blackberry and muscadine wines and produces 65,000 bottles a year. They’re distributed to 115 retail locations, from independent gas stations to big-box giants including Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods.

Most recently, Cagle’s WoodMill has become one of a handful of North Carolina’s 130 wineries to take on exporting.

“I never expected this growth,” said Cagle, now 51. “And when the guy from China knocked on my door and wanted to buy my wine, I was about to die right there.”

Native grape’s benefits
Grape-growers and wine-makers are important players often overlooked in North Carolina’s economy, said Kelly McIver, international marketing specialist for wine with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

The number of North Carolina wineries has more than quadrupled – from around 25 to 130 – in two decades. The wineries range from boutique operations that sell only to visiting customers, to large-scale operations such as the Biltmore Estate Wine Company, which produces hundreds of thousands of cases and ships around the nation.

It’s a $1.28 billion industry that supports nearly 7,600 jobs in the state, according to the most recent economic impact study conducted by the department in 2009.

The growing footprint is still a far cry from that of California – “Some of the big companies (there) spill more out of their tanks than I can make in a year,” said Chuck Johnson, president of the North Carolina Winegrowers Association and owner of two wineries outside Winston-Salem – but North Carolina does have some advantages.

One advantage is being home to muscadine grapes, a Southeastern fruit that has a high concentration of resveratrol, an antioxidant believed to help prevent damage to blood vessels and reduce bad cholesterol and blood clots, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

It was that benefit that brought a Chinese buyer to Cagle’s doorstep.

Fast sales lead to full-time job
Cagle’s dad qualified for disability at age 35. He was too proud to take it, but the arthritis he struggled with was a daily reality for the family.

He couldn’t keep a job. “He couldn’t mash a button on a remote control without cringing,” Cagle said.

When the pain grew so great that he could barely sleep, Cagle Sr.’s doctor suggested he drink a glass of red wine every night before bed.

“But my father, being a Southern boy, grew up drinking sweet tea, Coke and Pepsi,” said Cagle Jr., who watched as his dad turned up his nose at every red wine he tried.

Then he tried a muscadine wine – sweeter and more fruity than most – and he liked it.

So Cagle Jr., who already had muscadines growing on his property, decided to make his own. After four years of experimentation and daily doses for his father, Cagle saw a miraculous transformation: The 64-year-old man who couldn’t cut a cube steak with a fork was pruning vines and riding a tractor.

Cagle Jr. then decided to bottle his wine to sell. He constructed a 7,000-square-foot structure with shingles and a metal roof. The bank loaned him $250,000 on the condition that he match it with retirement funds.

Cagle hoped to sell 5,000 bottles that first year. Within six months, he sold 12,000.

Then he knew: This side hobby needed to become his full-time job.

WoodMill goes international
Unlike many other wineries that focus on “the flavors, the bouquet,” Cagle said, his WoodMill Winery site emphasizes the impetus for it: Cagle Sr.’s transformation.

And it’s that online narrative that brought China to Lincoln County.

Many European countries have been producing wine for thousands of years and have little interest in wine from North Carolina, said McIver of the Department of Agriculture.

But China’s culture “is to rejuvenate and renew” with teas, vitamins and natural remedies, said McIver of the Department of Agriculture. (For example, she added, when the state is taking Chinese buyers around to local businesses, there’s one place they always want to stop at: a GNC store.)

Currently, the North Carolina departments of agriculture and commerce both have offices over there, and while there have long been relationships exporting poultry, pork, tobacco and processed goods to the Chinese market, McIver said China’s growing middle class, with more disposable income, is ripe for North Carolina’s wine industry as well.

Cagle has had five groups of potential clients visit from China so far: one from Shanghai, two from Beijing and two from Hong Kong.

The buyer from Shanghai placed a modest order for 105 cases of wine, or about 1,260 bottles, Cagle said. After filling out the paperwork, Cagle took it to a Gastonia company he knew sent goods to India to have the owner proof it for rookie exporting mistakes.

Then he constructed the wooden containers he shipped the wine in.

Cagle waited with anticipation for word of their arrival. Two weeks ago, he heard: The Shanghai buyer wants to be the exclusive importer of WoodMill wine in that region of Asia.

“I want to entertain the idea,” Cagle said. “Huge potential.”

Please continue to look to the Centralina Workforce Development Board’s monthly E-Newsletter for updates on this exciting development in our region!

Larry Cagle started making wine as a way to help his father manage his heart disease and arthritis. It worked, and the enterprise has grown to a mature and expanding vineyard, WoodMill Winery, in rural west Lincoln County.



May 2014
(Source: NC Dept. of Commerce, Labor and Economic Analysis Division)

Unemployment Rate
Persons Employed
Centralina WDB Region
State of NC

For more information on employment, click here

The Centralina Region and the NEW NC Economic Development Partnership

Jean Davis Speaks in Union County About Creation and Retention of High Quality Jobs in the Region and State

On Thursday June 5, 2014 the Union County Chamber of Commerce held its quarterly Union County Connect meeting at South Piedmont Community College in Monroe.

The meeting featured Jean Davis, Chief Operating Officer with the NC Economic Development Partnership. Jean will direct the Partnership's mission to guide the State's economic development efforts toward the creation and retention of high-quality jobs through new business attraction, existing business support and the cultivation of the tourism and film industries. She will oversee the three core divisions of the Partnership which are Business Recruitment, Business Services, and Tourism, Film, and Marketing. Jean previously served as Executive Director of Business, Industry and Trade at the NC Department of Commerce. Prior to joining Commerce, Head was co-owner of Serentec, Inc. an international pharmaceutical consulting company.

Jean explained how the new NC Economic Development Partnership would affect Union County directly and provided examples of where partnerships with local economic development agencies has helped industry sectors grow.

David Hollars, Executive Director of the Centralina Workforce Development Board participated in the meeting, welcomed all of the attendees and introduced Jean Davis.

The meeting was well attended by professionals from workforce development, economic development, and education as well as a variety of local businesses.

The event was sponsored by the Centralina Workforce Development Board, Coco Lumber Company LLC, Union Power Cooperative, Henderson Properities, Inc. and South Piedmont Community College.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board is extremely proud to be a part of this event. For more information on the meeting or on the Centralina Workforce Development Board please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

Centralina and NC Works Connects Businesses with Qualified Workers

Patricia White Presents to Stanly County Managers Association

The Stanly County Managers Association was treated to a presentation from Patricia White, Centralina Workforce Development Board Services Manager that focused on NCWorks Online and Centralina's Career Headlight at their July 10, 2014 monthly Association meeting. Centralina WDB member Ed Shimpock invited Patricia to speak to the employer-based group about the great benefits of these two products from the Centralina WDB.

NCWorks Online is North Carolina's new state of the art technology system that assists jobseekers in job search, targeting quality jobs, and resume builder, assist job seekers with comprehensive education and training data and labor market information. NCWorks Online provides employers with recruiting tools, finding today's top talent, focused resume searched, easily advertise job openings and provide employers with a comprehensive labor market data source such as occupational wages, current employment statistics, industry employment and projects (long and short term), staffing patters and more!

The Centralina Career Headlight is the 17 county Greater Charlotte region's new web-based career tool to support and promote workforce development, economic development and job growth. The career tool matches people seeking careers with good paying in-demand jobs locally and in the region and helps meets the needs of employers seeking skilled employees.

The Centralina Career Headlight tool features county-level job demand and education data not found on any other jobs/career platform; education programs for each institution in the region and how they connect to careers and occupations and a database that is more comprehensive and designed for faster, better, easy access.

The Stanly County Managers Association is an active organization that operates through the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce. The mission of Stanly County Managers Association is to share information, ideas, and best practices that are pertinent to employers in Stanly County. The group is guided by by-laws and officers and the Association is open to any industry—service or manufacturing, as well as any supporting public or private agency located within Stanly County. Networking among industry peers is a major benefit of the Association.

Monthly meetings include guest speakers, a facility or plant tour, or roundtable discussions during the lunch hour. Programs vary from "Lean Manufacturing," to "Stress in the Workplace." The programs offered are applicable to issues faced by most managers, human resource personal, and safety/environmental health staff.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board would like to thank the Stanly County Managers Association for the invitation to come and present on two of our wonderful products. For more information on the NC Works Online or on the Centralina Career Headlight, please contact Patricia White at (704) 348-2718 or pwhite@centralina.org.

Patricia White, Operations Manager with the Centralina Workforce Development Board, gave a presentation to the Stanly County Managers Association about NC Works and the Centralina's Career Headlight.

Stanly Community College Opens Allied Health Campus

Campus in Locust Focuses on Aligning Worker Training and Skills with Industry Needs

Stanly Community College (SCC) celebrated a milestone event on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, at the Crutchfield Education Center in Locust. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially announce the completion of the programmatic development and renovation phases for the Allied Health programs. Major funding for this project was provided through the generosity of the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trust in the amount of $280,000.

Dr. Brenda Kays, Stanly CC President, welcomed guests to the ceremony. Comments and remarks were made by Nadine Bowers, Stanly CC Board Chair; Tony Dennis, Chair, Board of Commissioners; Jann Lowder, State Board of Community Colleges; Tim Fesperman, City of Locust; and Sharon Huneycutt, Stanly CC Nursing student. After the remarks, the ribbon was officially cut and tours were conducted to see the renovations first hand.

Seven curriculum and six occupational education programs, along with a 1,700 square foot simulation center, have been relocated to strategically develop the future workforce base and better align worker training and skills with the needs of the healthcare industry.

Programs offered at the Allied Health Signature campus include Certified Nursing Assistant I & II, EMT Basic & Paramedic, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Laboratory Technology, Multi-Skilled Nurse Aide, Nursing/Associate Degree and Returning LPN, Pharmacy Technology, Phlebotomy, Radiography, and Respiratory Therapy.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board is a proud partner with Stanly Community College! The Board congratulates them on opening this innovative campus for a growing, in-demand career field in the region. For more information on the campus or on the Centralina Workforce Development Board, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

Pictured from left to right: Tim Fesperman, Jann Lowder, Sharon Huneycutt, Tony Dennis, Mr. Joe Hunter- Secretary, Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trust, Dr. Brenda Kays, and Nadine Bowers.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board is in YOUR Community!

During the month of June 2014, the Centralina Workforce Development Board has been actively involved with events, seminars, training sessions, and other meetings all designed to help build a better workforce for our region. Beyond our involvement with the CAFÉ program in Stanly County, the Union County Chamber Connect meeting, and NC WORKS training and presentations detailed in this e-newsletter, here are some the activities of the Board members and WDB staff for June.

Centralina Workforce Development Board meeting - was held on Tuesday June 10 at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College NC Research Campus in Kannapolis.

Bob Stowe (Columbus-McKinnon – Anson County) was re-elected Chair of the Centralina WDB for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015). Gisella Busse (Wireway Husky -Lincoln County) was re-elected Vice-Chair.

Board members voted on the Program Year 2014 funding allocations for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) services. ResCare Workforce Solutions was approved for PY 2014 Adult, Dislocated Workers, Employer Services, and One-Stop Operation in all seven counties. For PY 2014 WIA Youth service providers the Board approved Union County Community Action Agency, Inc. (Anson and Union counties), Salisbury-Rowan Community Action Agency, Inc. (Cabarrus and Rowan counties), I-CARE, Inc. (Iredell and Lincoln counties), and Resource Development Center (Stanly County).

The Board received presentations from Linda Ejlali with the Union Workforce Center and Debbie Davis with the Rowan Workforce Center. The presentations covered the Center Certification package for the new Integrated Service Delivery model and each outlined the process to achieve this goal. The Board approved both Center Certifications.

Board members reviewed the Centralina WDB 2014 Strategic Planning Retreat report. Discussion centered on the formation of project based work groups that will begin meeting in July to tackle the four focus areas of the plan.

Centralina WDB staff provided updates on business services, youth initiatives, and WIA services. Information on regional initiatives and updates on other key workforce issues were also provided.

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce Workforce Alliance meeting – held on Tuesday June 10 at Chamber office in Salisbury. David Hollars, Centralina WDB Executive Director was the featured speaker. He discussed progress with the Pathways to Prosperity project for Rowan, Iredell, and Cabarrus counties and implementation of the Centralina Career Headlight tool.

Centralina WDB NC Works Career Center Managers meeting – held on Tuesday June 10 at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College NC Research Campus in Kannapolis. Centralina WDB staff members David Hollars, Patricia White, and Vail Carter participated in this bi-monthly meeting with managers and ResCare Workforce Services staff.

Monroe-Union County Economic Development Commission meeting – held on Thursday June 19 at ATI Allvac in Monroe. David Hollars, Centralina WDB Executive Director participated in this meeting in which the EDC's strategic plan was reviewed and discussed.

NC Works Online training sessions – held on June 12-13 in Hickory. Centralina WDB Services Manager Patricia White and ResCare supervisor Kim Carpenter participated in this training.

NC Works Online local training session –held on Monday June 16 at Cabarrus NCWorks Career Center in Concord. Centralina WDB Services Manager Patricia White provided training on the system to 5 new center staff members.

Veterans Services Regional Training session - held on Monday June 23 at the Rowan NC Works Career Center in Salisbury. Centralina WDB Services Manager Patricia White participated in this training.

NC Works Super Users Group meeting – held on Thursday June 26 at the LeGrand Center in Shelby. Centralina WDB Services Manager Patricia White is Chair of the Super Users Group and she conducted this meeting of local users to help find solutions to issues and concerns with the system.

NC Association of Workforce Development Boards meeting – held on Monday June 23 at the High Point Chamber of Commerce. Centralina WDB Chairman Bob Stowe and WDB Executive Director David Hollars participated in this meeting.

Workforce Development Boards - Business Representatives meeting – held on Wednesday June 25 through Friday June 27 in Asheville. Centralina WDB Business Services Coordinator Vail Carter participated in this meeting.

Workforce Business Development and Assistance – provided by Vail Carter, Centralina WDB Business Services Representative for the following area companies:

  • Business Development meeting at the Stanly County NC Works Career Center in Albemarle. The meeting was hosted by Donnie Mann, manager of the Center and Carmen Thomas, Manager of the Employer Consultant Team – Monday June 2 – Albemarle (Stanly County)
  • Business Development meeting at the Cabarrus County NC Works Career Center in Concord. The meeting was hosted by Carolyn Mays, manager of the Center and Carmen Thomas, Manager of the Employer Consultant Team – Monday June 2 – Concord (Cabarrus County)
  • Business Development meeting at the Rowan County NC Works Career Center in Salisbury. The meeting was hosted by Debbie Davis, manager of the center- Wednesday June 4 – Salisbury (Rowan County)
  • Participated in training session at the Business Wise office. Gathered information on maximizing use of Drip Marketing and also networked with attendees. Shared information on OJT and Incumbent Worker Training with the group – Tuesday June 10.
  • Participated in kickoff meeting for the Charlotte Advanced Manufacturing Partnership & Innovation Outreach Network (CHAMPION) initiative. The event was held at the Gaston Conference Center in Gastonia – Tuesday June 10.
  • Delivered Incumbent Workforce Development Program Contracts and held an orientation session with management at Shurtape Technologies. The meeting was held at their facility in Hickory. Matthew Xiong, Business Services Coordinator with the Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board attended the meeting – Wednesday June 18 - Hickory
  • Delivered Incumbent Workforce Development Program Contracts and held an Incumbent Workforce Development Program orientation session with management at Southern Prestige International, LLC. – Wednesday June 18 – Statesville (Iredell County)
  • Delivered Incumbent Workforce Development Program Contracts and held an Incumbent Workforce Development Program orientation session with management at Galvan Industries - Thursday June 19 – Harrisburg (Cabarrus County)
  • Delivered Incumbent Workforce Development Program Contracts and held an Incumbent Workforce Development Program orientation session with the owner of Vision Quest Solutions – Friday June 20 – Matthews (Union County)
  • Delivered Incumbent Workforce Development Program Contracts and held an Incumbent Workforce Development Program orientation session with the Human Resource Manager at Windsor Windows Heritage Plant - Friday June 20 – Monroe (Union County)
  • Delivered Incumbent Workforce Development Program Contracts and held an Incumbent Workforce Development Program orientation session with management at STP Ventures – Friday June 20 – Concord (Cabarrus County)
  • Attended a reception at Discovery Place, hosted by Discovery Place and the NC New Schools program. Networked with NC New Schools staff, local employers from our service area and STEM education teachers from across the state. Discussed next steps for development of industry innovation councils and planning for the 2015 STEM conference – Monday June 23
  • Participated in the Southeast US Business Services Representative Forum held in Asheville at Asheville-Buncombe Technical College. Moderated the Business Services 101 training session, co-presented on the 2014 Employers Needs Survey presentation and presented on the Business Services Competency session. Also attended a preconference ad hoc committee meeting held on Wednesday June 25 – Asheville.
  • Business Services/Coordination meeting with Tammy Underwood, Project Manager with ResCare Workforce Services and contractor for Centralina Workforce Development Board to discuss customer service at the workforce centers – Monday June 30 – Centralina WDB offices.

These are only a few examples of how your Centralina Workforce Development Board is actively involved with our partners in our counties every month. To find out more about getting involved with the Centralina Workforce Development Board, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org or visit our website at www.centralinaworks.com. The Centralina Workforce Development – The Competitive Force in Our Global Economy.

Let Us Know How We Can Improve!

Every month the Centralina Workforce Development Board works hard at trying to bring you the most up to date and innovative stories from around the region.  We try to incorporate information that can be beneficial to both businesses and job seekers, as well as promote the accomplishments that are being done throughout the Centralina region.  We want to know what you think of the monthly E-Newsletter.  We want to know if the articles are informative and if they are relevant to you and your organization.  We’d like to know what you’d like to see more of in the newsletter, as well as what you’d like to see less of.  We are looking to improve so that we can give back to you the most cutting-edge and informative newsletter out there.

Please send any comments about the monthly E-Newsletter to Emily Clamp at eclamp@centralina.org.  If you are new to the newsletter and would like to see our previous issues please visit them at www.centralinaworks.com/enewsletter.cfm.  We thank you in advance for your feedback and your assistance in our rebranding process!

Centralina WDB Funding Helps I-Care Youth Achieve Goals

More Youth in Iredell County Move Toward Being Job Ready Thanks to the Workforce Investment Act

On Thursday June 12, 2014, I-CARE, Inc., Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth program staff attended the graduation ceremony at Monticello Alternative School at the Statesville High School's Mac Gray Auditorium to congratulate three WIA Youth participants. I Care, Inc. is the WIA Youth Services contractor for the Centralina Workforce Development Board in Iredell County.

Darrius Bradshaw (19) transferred to Monticello Alternative School to overcome challenges and attendance issues he faced while attending traditional high school in Iredell County. He graduated Thursday, June 12, 2014, after completing the required credits earlier this year. Darrius is currently seeking employment and is exploring Occupational Skills courses in order to better his potential for entrance into the workforce.

Quadarius Rankin (19) has been a WIA Youth participant since June 2013, and recently completed the required credits for high school graduation from Monticello Alternative School in Iredell County on Thursday, June 12, 2014. Quadarius plans to enter Occupational training to attain his Commercial Drivers Licence and a career in trucking.

Corrin Dalton (18) took advantage of the GED tutoring within the WIA services, in order to successfully complete the remaining credits needed for high school graduation from Monticello Alternative School in Iredell County on Thursday, June 12, 2014. He has gained second shift employment in the Packing Department of William T. Brunette.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board and the Centralina Youth Council would like to congratulate all three graduates on this outstanding achievement! Helping prepare the youth of today for the workforce of tomorrow is a top priority for both the Board and Youth Council. For more information on the WIA program in your area or on the Centralina Youth Council please contact Emily Clamp at (704) 348-2732 or by email at eclamp@centralina.org.

Union County Schools Celebrate Women in Engineering

JobReady Partnership and UTC Aerospace Systems Holds Unique Camp for Girls Interested in Engineering

According to the National Science Foundation, only 11% of women in the United States are employed as engineers. That is one statistic that led the Union County JobReady Partnership to seek and receive grant funding from UTC Aerospace Systems for a unique camp for girls by women.

Rising eighth and ninth grade girls from area Union County Public Schools attended JobReady Partnership's first Women in Engineering Camp June 16-20 at ATI Specialty Materials.

ATI hosted this week-long summer camp, featuring the many opportunities available in the fields of engineering. Exploring engineering when in middle school gives opportunities for students to experience first-hand how science, technology, engineering, and math can impact real-life challenges.

With a desire to put together a program for girls, ATI's process engineer Hannah Noll served as the camp director and did a phenomenal job. Women engineers from several disciplines came to the camp site as guest speakers and as activity leaders in their field.

The girls heard from engineers in the following disciplines: biomedical, civil, materials, process, chemical, nuclear, aerospace, aerodynamics, electrical, computer, and environmental. From creating a "bionic hand" to pick up candy to simulating an oil spill to building a transportable bridge that held a radio-controlled car across a body of water, the girls worked in teams and individually on several projects during the week with support from the engineers.

A trip to Duke Energy Explorium allowed the campers to hear from nuclear engineers and participate in interactive displays on the site in Huntersville. ATI members led by Lauren Williams also worked with the campers on interview skills after a pair of mock interviews.

On Thursday June 19, 2014, campers and their parents were invited to South Piedmont Community College for a meal and a time to talk informally with the female engineers.

They were joined by the Chamber of Commerce President Pat Kahle and ATI Organizational Development Specialist Lauren Williams who worked with the campers during the week. Campers asked questions pertaining to schools and education as well as the life of an engineer.

In culmination of the week, campers raced their cars and ran their bridges through a series of tests. They prepared and then made presentations to a panel of six ATI judges and their parents before enjoying a lunch and receipt of bags filled with items from participating companies.

The JobReady Partnership and the Centralina Workforce Development Board would like to thank ATI Allvac for giving the time, the place, and the expertise to make the camp possible. Thank you to UTAS for the financial sponsorship. And thank you to our company partners: Turbomeca, Kapstone Medical, ATI, Duke Energy, Greiner Bio-One, Goulston Technologies, US Airways, SPCC, and UNC Charlotte, Union County Chamber of Commerce, and Union County Public Schools. For more information on the event or on the Centralina Youth Council, please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.

Local Middle Schools Getting More Vocational Options

Iredell-Statesville Schools Expanding Career and Technical Education Courses

Iredell-Statesville Schools (ISS) is expanding career and technical education (CTE) courses, especially in middle schools, in an effort to guide students toward trade vocations and growing industries at an earlier age.

Judy Honeycutt, Assistant Director of CTE for I-SS, told board of education members on that the model for middle school CTE needed to change from a focus on computer competency to something more advanced, delving into engineering, advanced manufacturing, the medical field and business.

"We are seeing a big need in our middle schools to change that program," said Honeycutt. The goal of the CTE expansion is to "start making connections to what's really going on in the work world."

"Maybe once they get to high school, they can be more focused as to the courses that they want to take," Honeycutt said about the end goal.

Few changes are planned for the 2014-15 school year, mostly staff development and training for the rollout of new courses in the 2015-16 school year.

Statesville and South Iredell high schools will offer a new class starting in August, scientific visualization, that has only been available at West Iredell High School to this point. Scientific visualization teaches students the software that is used in gaming and programming.

Honeycutt said students are usually more engaged in CTE courses, and the hope is that they gain popularity in the coming years, as classes will be designed to push students into fields and industries with job opportunities.

"They are so interested that they'll go and work on stuff at home ... because kids will sit on the computer for hours and hours and hours," Honeycutt said.

The district hopes that expanding CTE in the middle schools will lead to more interest in the Career Academy & Technical School, which offers several options for students looking to learn a trade skill, and the Career and College Promise (CCP) program run out of Mitchell Community College (MCC). CCP allows high school juniors and seniors to take as many community college courses, tuition-free, as they want.

Many of the CCP course options are CTE-related, but MCC CPP Director Tara Cashion said the majority of students in the program are taking general education classes that are designed to transfer to a four-year university.

Cashion said that the CTE classes offered through the CCP program give students "an opportunity to try a career path and see if it's something they might be interested in."

The college is adding electronics microprocessor and digital media courses to its CTE options next school year. Mitchell is also expanding its continuing education courses that are geared at advanced manufacturing. Cashion said she believes more students would take CTE courses if there was not "a mindset" that a four-year degree is necessary for success.

"I don't think that parents are pushing their children toward career and technical education, but if they could see the advantages ... I think that there would be more that would take advantage of it," said Cashion.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board is a proud partner with Iredell-Statesville Schools. The Board and Youth Council are happy to see their partners expanding courses in an effort to help guide students toward growing industries in the region. For more information on these new classes please contact Emily Clamp at (704) 348-2732 or by email at eclamp@centralina.org.

Statesville Middle School student Marcelino Nunez (left) learned how to work a stethoscope from Lake Norman High School student Helen Marshall during a career day in this 2013 file photo. I-SS unveiled a plan this week to add to its middle school career and education courses.

Educating the Educators with STEM

Cabarrus Health Alliance Holds STEM Event for Teachers about the Science of Public Health

Classes may be over for the summer, but teachers and administrators from across the state got schooled in the science of public health at the Cabarrus Health Alliance on Monday June 23, 2014.

Almost 200 staff from innovative North Carolina public secondary schools joined in STEM Day, a program hosted by N.C. New Schools that provides exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics through learning experiences developed by participating employers, according to information provided by organizers.

The entourage of school staff toured several locations, including the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) and the Cabarrus Health Alliance (CHA), as a prelude to the New Schools' annual three-day Summer Institute, where more than 800 North Carolina educators share effective practices they're applying in their schools, districts and regions.

The point of STEM Day is to show applications of math and science in the real world and to better prepare students for 21st century jobs, said Meg Moss, an instructional coach for the North Carolina Public School System.

"All of these people are focused on preparing students for real life and the real world," she said. "This enables them to gain some ideas about how math and science is used."

CHA staff members assembled educators in a conference room and made presentations about mosquito control and soil quality assessment -- two of the authority's lesser-known functions.

Public health educator Chrystal Swinger showed vials containing some of the dozens of different mosquito species in Cabarrus County and asked them to identify them against a key -- a task not easily done.

"I'm not a big bug person, but it got my attention," said Angela Polk-Jones, principal of the Middle College at UNC-Greensboro. The detail and time that go into identifying the species impressed her, especially as they relate to diseases.

"I thought that was very interesting," she said.

Different mosquitoes breed in different environments and can carry different pathogens, Swinger said. That necessitates meticulous field studies to track them down.

CHA environmental health director David Troutman gave a presentation about soil and some of the related services the health authority does for residents.

"To the average person, soil is just dirt," he said, but deeper down, it's a living organism, and its composition makes all the difference for permeability.

Proper wastewater disposal depends on permeable soil, and CHA staff does site testing to find the right spot for septic system installation.

The presentations showcased to the visitors the range of different services the CHA offers.

"I didn't really know how much stuff was involved with public health," said Caitlin Bryant, who is starting a new STEM high school in Buncombe County. "I didn't realize that they checked soil and water and that there would be dental offices and maternity places for people to come in and get checked up on."

Sylvia Draughn, a college and career liaison at James Kenan High School in Duplin County, said the CHA is "a different type of health department" than she's used to.

"The entire whole staffing thing is set up differently," she said, noting the numerous services offered.

She said she will look into opportunities for her students to do job shadowing at the CHA and get experience across several fields at once.

It would "be beneficial for them to see so many different careers in one building," she said.

Polk-Jones said she is "thinking about how do I take this back to my school, to my staff."

"It's been a good experience," she said.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board and the Centralina Youth Council are proud partners with Cabarrus Health Alliance. The Board and Youth Council congratulate them on this successful event! To find out more about this or on the Centralina Youth Council please contact Emily Clamp at (704) 348-2732 or by email at eclamp@centralina.org.

Chrystal Swinger, an environmental health specialist with the Cabarrus Health Alliance, shows mosquito larvae to educators Annette Harrison, at left, and Carol Parrish during STEM Day visit to the CHA in Kannapolis. STEM Day, hosted by NC New Schools, sent educators from across the state to visit Charlotte-area employers who rely on workers with strong skills in science, technology, engineering and math.

MCC Rocket Team Campers Launch Big Ideas

Mitchell Community College Holds STEM Rocketry Camp for Youth

This June, Mitchell Community College's (MCC) NASA-affiliated rocket team sent a project into space. But first before that, middle and high school students who were just getting a taste of shooting tiny missiles into the sky got their chance on Tuesday June 17, 2014.

As the culmination of Mitchell's two-day science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) rocketry camp, 16 students launched 18-inch rockets several hundred feet into the air in the parking lot of the college's continuing education building on Front Street.

"This is awesome," said Travis Emosher, 14. "I want to become a rocket scientist now, because this is fun!"

The STEM rocketry camp held on in June taught students the basics of rockets, from the laws of inertia to the fundamental principles of physics and propulsion. MCC instructor Doug Knight, who led the camp, said the college was trying to "increase the ability for students to do STEM" learning in the area.

"We're trying to demystify science and rockets," said Knight. "Because they think it's rocket science – and it is – but it's not as hard as it's made out to be."

On the first day of camp, the students in the constructed water rockets, essentially two-liter bottles that trap water and compressed air and fly into the air when the cap is released. On the second day, the launching power was stepped up a bit, with students using black gunpowder as the charge, which allowed for much greater heights to be reached.

Knight said he hoped the STEM camp – another one based on robotics, in which students will build a Sumo wrestler robot and compete in a contest – would grab students' interest and lead them to great opportunities in the future.

"There are jobs (in STEM), lots of jobs," Knight said. "It's interesting, and there's a future in it. There's a big future."

Many STEM-related professions are male-dominated in the work world, but there were two girls launching rockets among the 16 students. Braelyn Parkman, a rising 10th-grader at Mooresville High School, said it was a bit awkward at first for the two, but ended up being fun, and perhaps a bit revealing.

"Guys are pyromaniacs. The girls are better at common sense," said Parkman.

For the last several years, MCC students have been the only group of community college students in the country to participate in a NASA initiative seeking innovative ideas about using technology in space.

In June a group of eight MCC students continued that tradition. They traveled to NASA's flight facility in Wallops, Virginia, for a week-long excursion culminating with the launch of their project on a 36-foot rocket that will enter outer space.

The MCC students joined others from Carthage College, Temple University, West Virginia University and Howard University at the NASA facility. Last year, Mitchell's project sought to gather energy from the rocket's vibrations as it flew and then translate that into power savings. But this year, the project is different and more long-term based.

The project, or payload, that Mitchell will place on the NASA rocket is the first piece of what students hope can be the college's own fully functioning orbiting cube satellite, something about four square inches in size.

The actual orbiting satellite may be five to seven years away, Knight said, but this year's project has some big goals. The payload is designed to take pictures of the Earth from the rocket, with future plans to get the payload to deploy from the rocket by itself and work as an Earth-imaging satellite.

"The ability to take a picture of Earth while the satellite is orbiting is a pretty big deal for a community college," said MCC student and rocket team member Lewis LaBrie.

The rocket that will carry Mitchell's payload – it launches next Wednesday – is going to travel 75 miles into the air, and break the sound barrier. Outer space starts at 62.5 miles.

The eight students on the rocket team have done the work this year in their spare time, many hoping that the experience will boost their resumes. But they also do it because it's fun.

"Man, you have no idea," MCC student Daniel Leith said about his excitement level for the launch after "10 mouths and countless hours" of work.

The Centralina Workforce Development Board and the Centralina Youth Council are proud partners with Mitchell Community College. The Board and Youth Council congratulate them on this successful STEM camp! To find out more about the camp or on the Centralina Youth Council please contact Emily Clamp at (704) 348-2732 or by email at eclamp@centralina.org.

Photo above article: Middle and High School students launched rockets as part of Mitchell Community College's STEM camp in the back parking lot of the Continuing Education center.



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Commitment to workforce excellence


What's Happening in the Region?

Comings, Goings, Kudos…

  • Tammy Schrenker is the new Stanly County Department of Social Services Director. She replaces Sharon Scott who retired earlier this year. Tammy started her new position on June 23, 2014. She comes from her most recent job as DSS Director with Richmond County.
  • Virginia Brogden is retiring from her position as the Quality Improvement Liaison with the NC Department of Commerce - Division of Workforce Solutions after 32 years of service in state government. Her last day was Monday June 30, 2014. Enjoy retirement Virginia!
  • Tammy Albertson is the new executive director of the Stanly County Partnership for Children (SCPC). Albertson has worked with SCPC for nearly 12 years, and will start her new role on July 1. She replaces Barbara Whitley who is retiring. Congratulations Tammy!
  • Tahira Stalberte has been hired as the new Chief Communications Officer for Union County Public Schools. She previously served as the executive director of communications for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Stalberte has more than 17 years of experience in communications and public relations. Congratulations Tahira!
  • Ellen Sheppard, EdD, has been recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal as a winner in the 2014 Women in Business Achievement Awards. A career educator, Dr. Sheppard has been with Carolinas HealthCare System and Carolinas College of Health Sciences for 20 years. Ellen also serves on the Steering Committee for the Allied Health Regional Skills Partnership. Congratulations Ellen!
  • Beth Allen has been appointed to the Mitchell Community College board of trustees by the governor's office. She is a CPA and senior auidt manager for GreerWalker LLP, a Charlotte-based accounting and business advisory firm. Beth also serves on the boards of the Children and Family Services Inc. and the NC Charter Educational Foundation. Congratulations Beth!
  • Barbi Jones is starting a new role as the Vice President of Communications and Marketing for United Way of Central Carolinas in Charlotte. Barbi has been the Cabarrus community director for United Way of Central Carolinas for the past two years. Her las day at the Cabarrus office will be on July 11, and she will start her new position on July 14. Congratulations Barbi!
  • Beth Cook is retiring from her position as Workforce Development Director for the Southwest Region Workforce Development Board. She has invested 45 years in workforce development and is stepping down to enjoy retirement. Todd Douglas, their current Business Services Representative will be taking over her position on July 1, 2014. Beth is also a former manager of Rowan County Workforce Center and a former Centralina WDB member. Enjoy retirement Beth!
  • Statesville Regional Development Executive Director Michael Smith was elected North Carolina Economic Developers Association President for 2014-2015. He had served as the group's Vice President for 2013-2014. Congratulations Michael!


  • Maureen Krueger resigned June 30 as the first executive director of Habitat of Lincoln County in order to pursue other opportunities. Terry Laney is the new executive director effective July 1. Thanks and best wishes, Maureen.

• Centralina Workforce Development Board meeting
Tuesday August 12, 2014 – 4:30 PM
Location: To Be Announced

• Centralina WDB Youth Council Meeting
Thursday September 18, 2014 – 10:00 AM
Location: To Be Announced at a Later Date
Contact Emily Clamp to register - 704.348.2732 or eclamp@centralina.org

• Interview Techniques
Tuesday July 8, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Resume Clinic
Tuesday July 8, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Stand Out from the Competition
Tuesday July 8, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Resume Clinic
Tuesday July 8, 2014 – 6:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Should I get LinkedIn?
Thursday July 10, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Refocus Your Career Options
Thursday July 10, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Online Job Hunters (Beginners)
Thursday July 10, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Interview Techniques
Tuesday July 15, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Resume Clinic
Tuesday July 15, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Stand Out from the Competition
Tuesday July 15, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Looking for Work at 50+
Thursday July 17, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Refocus Your Career Options
Thursday July 17, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Letter Writing for the Job Seeker
Thursday July 17, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Interview Techniques
Tuesday July 22, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Resume Clinic
Tuesday July 22, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Stand Out from the Competition
Tuesday July 22, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Resume Clinic
Tuesday July 22, 2014 – 6:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Looking for Work with a Criminal Record
Thursday July 24, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Refocus your Career Options
Thursday July 24, 2014 –11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Online Job Hunters (Beginners)
Thursday July 24, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Interview Techniques
Tuesday July 29, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Resume Clinic
Tuesday July 29, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Stand Out from the Competition
Tuesday July 29 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Employer Spotlight – Western & Southern Life
Thursday July 31, 2014 – 9:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Refocus Your Career Options
Thursday July 31, 2014 – 11:00 AM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Looking for Work at 50+
Thursday July 31, 2014 – 1:00 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

• Should I become a Nurse Aide?
Thursday July 31, 2014 – 2:30 PM
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – NCRC Kannapolis
More Information: 704.216.7201

The North Carolina Workforce Development Training Center Training offers many great training sessions for every workforce development professional. The Center can even do online trainings for you and your colleagues. Some of the great training sessions include: Keeping Your Cool (When Others are HOT!), Assessment: The Foundation of Case Management, Delivering Excellent Customer Service, and Youth Services: A Variety of Topics. These are just some of the great training sessions they can put together for your team. So give them a call and see what they can do for you! Contact Robin Broome at (919) 306-1819 or visit their website for more information at www.ncwdtc.com.

• Career Development Facilitator
Tuesday September 9, 2014 – 8:30 am – 4:30 pm - Raleigh
Course Fee: $525.00
Register: www.ncwia.com

• Dealing with Constant Change in the Workplace
Wednesday July 9, 2014 – 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Hickory
Wednesday July 16, 2014 – 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Raleigh
Fee: $55
Register: www.ncworkforcetraining.com

• Running the Numbers! Understanding & Using Labor Market Information
Thursday July 31, 2014 – 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Raleigh
Fee: $60
Register: www.ncwia.com


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