NC Governor Highlights Workforce Training at Northern Wake Campus
Roy Cooper Visits Baking, HVAC, Plumbing, and Welding Labs
RALEIGH, N.C. (May 2, 2018) - The spotlight was on workforce training, as Governor Roy Cooper visited Wake Tech’s Northern Wake Campus today. Governor Cooper said a well-trained workforce is the state’s top recruiting tool to lure companies here. He announced that his budget proposal would include $60 million for the NC Job Ready Fund to train and grow the state’s workforce. He also said it would include a $30 million financial aid program to provide free training for high-demand fields, and $20 million in grants to help students complete their degrees when faced with unforeseen circumstances. In addition, $10 million will help employers address their training needs and employee skill gaps.
“We are in a constant race with innovation to make sure we keep our workforce at the level that we need to attract these good-paying jobs,” Governor Cooper said. “We know that the job market is constantly changing and you here at Wake Tech are continuing to have to meet those changes with input from employers.”
“Workforce training is what Wake Tech is all about,” said Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen Scott. “Community colleges play a vital role in making sure that employers have the skilled workers they need to grow and thrive.”
Before the press conference, the governor heard from college leaders, students, alumni, and local employers in a roundtable discussion in the Baking & Pastry Arts kitchen. Board of Trustees Chair Tom Looney and WakeMed CEO Donald Gintzig told the governor how Wake Tech is leading the way with employer partnerships. Looney said these partnerships are vital to provide work-based learning opportunities for students, curriculum input to keep programs relevant, and technology upgrades to ensure that students learn the skills they need.
Candis Parker, a 2013 Construction Management graduate, has been working at Balfour Beatty construction company since interning there as a student. She said in her field, workers need to be ready to hit the ground running. “Employers are looking for workers who are job ready,” she said.
The governor took a tour of hands-on training in skilled trades, including plumbing, HVAC, and welding. In the welding lab, student Sarah McClain demonstrated how the college is keeping up with advancing technology with new robotic welding equipment.
Governor Cooper will present his budget proposal to the General Assembly when it convenes later this month.