Mountain Area Works Highlights
  • Labor Market Update November 2020
  • Western Carolina University College of Business is seeking business and organizational clients for Senior Student Capstone Course
  • WSJ: Six Stories From a Downtown District Highlight Pandemic's Uneven Toll
  • What's ahead for the Asheville economy in 2021?
  • State economic leaders tout diversification for WNC recovery
  • North Carolina's economy is rebounding sharply - but will it last?
  • Richmond Fed: Understanding why workers aren't working
  • Land of Sky Regional COVID19 call is tomorrow, Thursday, January 7 at 1:00 pm
  • Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes outstanding employers, workforce partners, adults and youth
  • Land of Sky Regional Council Annual Report FY19-20
  • EDPNC launches "Onward as One"
  • AB Tech Works Scholarship
  • WNC Digital Inclusion Planning Summit is Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 1pm - 3pm
  • NC county tier rankings released
  • NC Workforce Development Board dashboard
  • Small Business Asset Map
  • NC unemployment rate unchanged at 6.3% in November 2020
  • Unemployment claims by county for October 2020 released
  • Many employers in WNC are still hiring
  • NCWorks: Work on What's Next
May your 2021 be filled with health, prosperity and joy!
Labor Market Update
As of November 2020, -19,700 less jobs in our region and 18,784 less people working compared to November 2019. Compared to the previous month of October 2020,1,000 more jobs and 214 more people working.
Mountain Area region unemployment rate at 5.8%


For November 2020, our region (Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties) unemployment rate declined to 5.6%. Transylvania County now has the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 4.9%.  Buncombe County's unemployment rate declined to 5.9%. Henderson County's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.2%. All counties in our region are below the state average of 6.1%.

Our region's streak of maintaining the lowest unemployment rate in NC ended in April 2020. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic our region's unemployment rate was second highest in NC, now our region has the #4 lowest unemployment rate in NC. For  61  consecutive months Buncombe County had maintained the lowest unemployment rate of any NC county and for 61 consecutive months the Mountain Area Workforce region (Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties) as well as the Asheville metro had maintained the lowest unemployment rate of any NC region.

There are 11,844 unemployed individuals in our region in November, that compares with 12,278 unemployed individuals in our region in October,14,536 unemployed individuals in September, 14,395 unemployed individuals in August our region and 19,886 unemployed individuals in July. The good news is that the number of unemployed individuals in our region is about 1/3 what it was in the spring. There were 33,035 unemployed individuals in our region for May 2020 and 32,255 unemployed individuals in our region in April 2020.
Asheville metro unemployment rate at 5.9%, #4 lowest of any NC metro
Asheville metro now (as of November 2020) has the #4 lowest unemployment of any NC metro at 5.9%. This rate is 3.1% higher than the metro unemployment rate of 2.6% of one year ago.

Buncombe 5.9%

Haywood 5.7%

Henderson 5.2%
Madison 5.4%

Transylvania 4.9%

Compared to October 2020, the Asheville metro gained 1,000 jobs. Despite this positive monthly job growth of 0.6%, the region is still down 19,700 jobs compared to November 2019 (-9.8%).

Compared to November 2019, the Leisure & Hospitality sector lost 28.7% (-8,700 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector, Other Services lost 13.0% (-300 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector, Information lost 25.0% (-100 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector, Professional & Business Services lost 1.9% (-100 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector, Trade Transportation & Utilities lost 0.8% (-100 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector, Financial Activities lost 1.5% (-100 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector and Manufacturing lost 11.8% (-1,100 jobs)of the total jobs in the sector. Mining Logging & Construction added 2.9% (300 jobs) of the total jobs in the sector.

Asheville metro has the greatest percentage job losses in NC in the past year. Year over Year job growth by metro (all NC metros have experienced job declines in the past year):

  1. Jacksonville -2.2%
  2. Burlington -3.6%
  3. New Bern -5.3%
  4. Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia -5.4%
  5. Raleigh -5.4%
  6. Durham/Chapel Hill -5.5%
  7. Winston-Salem -5.7%
  8. New Bern -6.8%
  9. Greenville -7.4%
  10. Fayetteville -7.5%
  11. Rocky Mount -7.7%
  12. Wilmington -7.8%
  13. Greensobro/High Point -8.0%
  14. Goldsboro -8.3%
  15. Hickory/Lenoir Morganton -8.6%
  16. Asheville -9.8%
Western Carolina University College of Business is seeking business and organizational clients for Senior Student Capstone Course
Western Carolina Univeristy College of Business

This form is for prospective clients to seek partnerships with the CEI

Read more
www.wcucei.com
WSJ: Six Stories From a Downtown District Show Pandemic's Toll
"A 2.5-mile stretch of downtown Asheville, N.C., provides a window into how the coronavirus pandemic slammed small businesses in one American city—and how a federal loan program helped some stay afloat but was ill-suited for others.

More than 100 businesses and nonprofits in this slice of Asheville along Broadway Street and Biltmore Avenue received a total of about $16 million in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. Many have exhausted the money and plan to apply for more, after Congress in December approved $284 billion for a new round of loans.

Businesses receiving aid in the city of 93,000 included restaurants, bars, doctor’s offices, auto-repair shops and art galleries. Many are dependent on the tourists who flock to this oasis of the arts on the banks of the French Broad River in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Dozens of business owners along the two streets say the money helped, but the health of their bottom lines—and their outlook for 2021—varies as widely as the products they sell and the meals they offer, which nowadays are mostly to go."
Six Stories From a Downtown District Show Pandemic's Toll

A 2.5-mile stretch of downtown Asheville, N.C., provides a window into how the coronavirus pandemic slammed small businesses in one American city-and how a federal loan program helped some stay afloat but was ill-suited for others.

Read more
www.wsj.com
What's ahead for the Asheville economy in 2021? Will tourism, economy, jobs rebound?
"Right now we are seeing increased hiring across most sectors, and employers indicate they are struggling in many cases to meet their workforce needs," Ramsey said. "We have around 10,000 job openings on any given day."

The market is not as hot as it was before the pandemic, but career opportunities are out there. Ramsey encourages job-seekers to reach out to their local NCWorks Career Center, so staff can connect them with resources to help in the job search, including education and training resources.

"The recession brought on by the pandemic is different from traditional recessions, so we are in uncharted territory to some extent," Ramsey said. "If anything, the pandemic has probably accelerated trends that we were seeing prior to March, including needs for increased levels of skills and education to respond to the job market changes."
What's ahead for Asheville in 2021?

Locally, tourism dried up, causing hotel and restaurant shutdowns that translated to a 17.5% unemployment rate in Buncombe County in April. Asheville MSA (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson and Madison counties) lost an astounding 36,400 jobs that month.

Read more
www.citizen-times.com
State economic leaders tout diversification for WNC recovery
State economic leaders tout diversification for WNC recovery

If COVID-19 has taught WNC's business leaders one thing, it's the importance of diversification. That's the takeaway offered by Christopher Chung, CEO of EDPNC, a nonprofit partnership that supports commercial growth throughout the state.

Read more
mountainx.com
North Carolina's economy is rebounding sharply - but will it last?
NC's economy is rebounding sharply - but will it last?

NC's economy is soaring in a "V" shaped recovery from the worst of the pandemic fallout - shutdowns, social distancing. spreading infections - but whether the rapid recovery will continue is not certain. So says NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden.

Read more
www.wraltechwire.com
Richmond Fed: Understanding Why Workers Aren't Working
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond: Unemployment

Understanding why workers aren't working

Read more
www.richmondfed.org
Land of Sky Regional Council COVID19 call is Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 1 pm
Land of Sky Regional Council weekly COVID19 call is Thursday, December 17 at 1:00 pm. This call will feature an update from the Governor's office and a report about the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act 2021.

To join this call please register at the button below.
What's in the $900 Billion Covid-19 Relief Bill

President signed into law a Covid aid package that includes assistance for households and businesses, as well as funding for vaccine distribution and more. The $900b in relief, paired with a $1.4t bill to continue government funding into September.

Read more
www.wsj.com
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes outstanding employers, workforce partners, adults and youth
Frontline WIOA staff and Workforce Partners who have worked with the participants and business partners recognized submitted the following profiles. Mountain Area Workforce Development Board is honored to recognize these individuals and business partners for their achievements and contributions to the Workforce Development System in the Mountain Area Region.
OUTSTANDING NCWORKS NEXTGEN YOUTH PARTICIPANTS
 
Gregory Clemmons
NCWorks NextGen Out-of-School Youth Program
Goodwill Industries-Buncombe County
Kristin Kress, Career Coach

Gregory came to NextGen with the goal of earning his GED. He devoted himself to this goal and worked tirelessly to pass his tests. Within 4 months, Gregory passed his final test and earned his GED.

At that time, he began considering options for pursuing post-secondary education. Working with animals was always an interest to him, so NextGen placed Gregory in a paid workplace experience. Gregory worked with a local animal shelter and got to learn from the medic team, kennel team, and adoption team. Gregory’s positive attitude, willingness to learn, and gentle nature did not go unnoticed. After the paid workplace experience ended, Gregory was offered a permanent position and continues to work in the kennel.

Although COVID has thrown some obstacles in his path, we know that Gregory will reach his goals since he is quietly determined and hard working. Congratulations on all of your success, Gregory, and we look forward to seeing what you do next! 


Paula Canty
NCWorks NextGen Out-of-School Youth Program
Goodwill Industries-Transylvania County
Rachel Olson, Career Coach

Paula was referred to NextGen when she became interested in the Nurse Aide program at AB Tech. She was enrolled and completed the Nurse Aide course with all A’s. She then passed her state licensing exam at the beginning of 2020. The Nurse Aide course was the first step towards her goal of becoming an Oncology nurse.

Her passion for this career came from taking care of her mother when she was battling cancer. Since then Paula was slated to start a work experience with Transylvania Regional Hospital but due to Covid-19, this was unable to begin. However, Paula has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come her way. She received a car from Wheels to Work through the Brevard Sharing House and has applied to many scholarships.

Paula enrolled at AB Tech to begin her pre-requisites for the Nursing program and again looks like she will complete this semester with all A’s. She plans to apply to the RIBN program in fall of 2021 and will continue to be supported by NextGen. Paula is dedicated to her school work and is kind and respectful to everyone she meets.

She will one day be a nurse with not only excellent medical skills but a sweet and empathic caregiver to her patients.

OUTSTANDING WORKFORCE COLLABORATION


Buncombe Partnership for Children & The Children and Family Resource Center
NCWorks Local Innovation Grant – Early Childhood Education Project
Mountain Area Regional Business Services
Derrick Edwards, Business Services Representative

Our region faces a severe shortage of trained Early Childhood Educators. In 2018 the Board was granted, a $400,000.00 NC Works Innovation Fund Grant. Our award was one of three in the State awarded at that level. This grant was made available under the guidance of Governor Roy Cooper and the NC Department of Commerce.

We put together a team from across the Local Area to plan and execute the grant. We have partners in all four counties that comprise the Local Area.

The grant has been successful beyond our expectations. We have been able to train multiple cohorts, including cohorts of Spanish speaking participants.

Due to the success of this collaboration, the Board is recognizing the Buncombe Partnership for Children, the Children and Family Resource Center, and all of our partners for the outstanding job they continue to do in support of Early Childhood education in our region.

OUTSTANDING EMPLOYERS

Atlas Precision, Inc.
MAWDB Business Accelerator Grant
Barbara Darby, Business Services Coordinator

Atlas Precision, Inc. (Atlas) was awarded a Business Accelerator Grant for incumbent worker training in January, 2020.  The grant’s purpose is to increase the knowledge and skills of employees and also increase the stability and competitiveness of the employer. Atlas received $9,526 to training two engineers in EDM Machining and four professionals in Leadership and Supervision. Training did not begin until October 2020 due to delays created by COVID-19.  Fortunately, Atlas was able to quickly arrange on-site training for the technical training in October followed by the six-week Leadership Program that took place at Western Carolina Industries, Inc., October-November, 2020.

All participants were appreciative of the training opportunity as evidenced in follow-up comments.
1) “Leadership training gave me the opportunity to evaluate my personal weaknesses and learn methods to address them. 2) “These classes have helped me understand myself better which will allow me to become a better leader. Continuing training is a valuable part of being a leader in today’s work environment. 3) “The training improved my leadership skills and knowledge. It built confidence in my ability. This will improve my performance and help me work more efficiently and effectively.”

Dennis Kanupp, Vice President, stated, “Atlas and all companies in Transylvania, Henderson, Buncombe and Madison Counties are fortunate to have such a resource as the Mountain Area Workforce Board. This grant and the resources of the board has been a huge help for continuing to grow our team.”

Congratulations to Atlas Precision, Inc.as the recipient of the Outstanding Business Accelerator Grant Employer Award.
Eaton Corporation
WIOA Business Partner for Diversity and Inclusion
MAWDB Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Regional Business Services Coordinator

Eaton Corporation has two facilities in the Asheville area, Avery’s Creek and Arden. Both plants are part of the company’s Electrical Sector. The company manufactures power distribution equipment for commercial construction, industrial, and utility applications as well as provides sales support for Eaton’s domestic sales team.  Eaton currently employs 1300+ workers and will be adding 100 positions over the next year.

In 2012 Eaton held its’ first Inclusion and Diversity Summit (I&D) as an outreach program to employ qualified females, minorities, veterans and disabled veterans. Each year Eaton holds an I&D Summit at their Arden facility for community and workforce representatives. This is an amazing event that highlights the mission, vision, ethics, and core values of Eaton and how inclusion and diversity are integrated into all aspects of their business. As a company, Eaton embraces the different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds of individuals which makes them a unique company.  This uniqueness helps them attract, retain and engage their employees and provides them a competitive advantage in their industry. 

To foster inclusion Eaton encourages its’ employees to participate in an iERG, Inclusion Eaton Resource Group, where they can make connections, exchange ideas and gain diverse perspectives.  These groups serve to promote employee and community engagement and professional development. IERGs include: ENGAGE (next gen), iConnect (Black, African American and People of Color, SOAR (Asian American), #VAMOS (Hispanic, Latino), U.S. Veterans, WAVE (women), enABLE (disabled, caregivers), and Eaton PRIDE (LGBT and  Allies). As part of community involvement, Eaton is participating as an Inclusive Hiring Partner (IHP) with the IHP Initiative led by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.  IHP employers agree to level the playing field by reducing barriers in employment policies and practices for Buncombe County residents.

Employee development is important to Eaton and provides learning opportunities through Eaton University, cross-functional assignments, job shadowing, and a Leadership Development Program. Tuition reimbursement is available for college degree programs. Each year the company sponsors internships and co-ops for students and provides tours for high school and college students and other groups.

Mike Keenan, HR Manager, Asheville believes, “that our success depends on our ability to draw the very best people from the cross-cultural citizens from our community. We want to be a reflection of the diversity of Western North Carolina.”

The Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes Eaton’s work both within their company and in the community for supporting inclusion and diversity. We are pleased to recognize Eaton as our Outstanding Employer for Inclusion & Diversity.
Friday Services Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program and Demmel Inc. Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program
Blue Ridge Community College/NCWorks Career Center-Henderson County
Shanda Bedoian, Director of Corporate/Customized Training

Friday Services has a long history of dedication to helping businesses in the Western North Carolina region thrive! Their mission is to better people’s lives, increase their customer’s successes and continue the longevity of Friday Services in order to continue what they do best – “connecting the right people to the right job”!

Sounds like what Apprenticeship Program Opportunities do!

Friday Services partnered with Blue Ridge Community College to develop the Fridays Services’ Mechatronics Engineering Technology Apprenticeship Program. The Friday Services Apprenticeship Program is recognized by ApprenticeshipNC and is the first employment agency in the area to offer such a program, and the second in the state of North Carolina. 

Game-changing!

The inaugural class of 11 apprentices representing five area manufacturers started their journey in February 2020. One of the five manufacturers is Demmel Inc., an innovative German automotive manufacturer in East Flat Rock, who decided to grow two of their identified high potentials. Mountain Area WDB enrolled the two apprentices in WIOA for 700 hours of the on-the-job learning requirement at Demmel.  The apprentices were dislocated workers and the board was able to offset the cost of training through the OJT Program.

In the words of one of Demmel’s apprentices: “I Couldn't Ask for Anything More”

These two forward thinking innovative organizations have created an excitement in our community for today AND tomorrow! On behalf of Blue Ridge Community College and the Henderson County NCWorks Career Center, I am proud to recognize Friday Services and Demmel Inc. as the “2020 Outstanding Partner of Year Champions for Henderson County”.
Brevard/Transylvania County Chamber of Commerce
Outstanding Business Partner
NCWorks Career Center-Transylvania County
Jason Chappell, Center Director

When crisis hit earlier this year, the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) stepped up to support the businesses and nonprofits of Transylvania County in an impressive way. Accurate, vetted, and up-to-date Information became more important than ever, so the Chamber ramped up their weekly e-blasts to three, and sometimes, four times a week with a focus on meaningful and necessary information. They created two pages on their website focused on pandemic-related information, one with resources for the business community and the other with community information. 

Recognizing the critical importance of collaboration during this time, the Chamber worked with the Transylvania Economic Alliance, Heart of Brevard, Transylvania County Tourism, and Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center to co-found the Transylvania Business Support Task Force. The task force conducted surveys, at the onset of the pandemic and 45 days later, to learn of the specific needs of businesses and nonprofits in Transylvania County and then hosted three town hall meetings with experts to address those areas. Once restrictions began to lift, informative meetings were held for businesses in uniquely impacted industries, including retail, accommodations, restaurants, and artists, with local health officials on-hand to help guide business owners/operators through the reopening process.

Perhaps most impressive of all, the task force created the Transylvania Tomorrow Small Business Emergency Relief Fund. Businesses were encouraged to apply for grants of up to $3,000 to help bridge the gap to reopening. To date, $166,500 was raised and distributed to 93 businesses in Transylvania When crisis hit earlier this year, the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) stepped up to support the businesses and nonprofits of Transylvania County in an impressive way. Accurate, vetted, and up-to-date Information became more important than ever, so the Chamber ramped up their weekly e-blasts to three, sometimes four, times a week with a focus on meaningful and necessary information. They created two pages on their website focused on pandemic-related information, one with resources for the business community and the other with community information. 

Recognizing the critical importance of collaboration during this time, the Chamber worked with the Transylvania Economic Alliance, Heart of Brevard, Transylvania County Tourism, and Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center to co-found the Transylvania Business Support Task Force. The task force conducted surveys, at the onset of the pandemic and 45 days later, to learn of the specific needs of businesses and nonprofits in Transylvania County and then hosted three town hall meetings with experts to address those areas. Once restrictions began to lift, informative meetings were held for businesses in uniquely impacted industries, including retail, accommodations, restaurants, and artists, with local health officials on-hand to help guide business owners/operators through the reopening process.

Perhaps most impressive of all, the task force created the Transylvania Tomorrow Small Business Emergency Relief Fund. Businesses were encouraged to apply for grants of up to $3,000 to help bridge the gap to reopening. To date, $166,500 was raised and distributed to 93 businesses in Transylvania
OUTSTANDING PARTICIPANTS SERVED THROUGH NCWORKS AND MAWDB
Fabiola Badillo-Sanchez
WIOA Adult/Early Childhood Education Project
Blue Ridge Community College
NCWorks Career Center- Henderson County
Jason Chappell, Center Director

Fabiola joined the Early Childhood Education Project in October 2019. Her lifelong goal was to become a teacher and work with children. Once she completed Phase 1 (the training) portion of the program, she was hired as a Substitute Teacher at Children and Family Resource Center in Hendersonville, NC. She was able to make use the knowledge she had gained from the training and apply it to the classroom. She subbed in licensed centers across Henderson County, gaining hands-on experience.

In January 2020, she was enrolled in EDU 119 through Blue Ridge Community College. She attended the first ever Spanish EDU 119 cohort. Despite challenges with COVID and having to switch to an online learning format, which was new to her, she exceled in the class. She received her North Carolina childcare credential in May 2020.

With her training, education, and experience, Fabiola is able to work full time in a licensed childcare facility. She is bilingual, which is an asset to have in classrooms. She is also passionate about caring for children and families in our community. She is now able to be self-sufficient to provide for herself and her family.

THANK YOU MOUNTAIN AREA for supporting Fabiola through her journey!

Lauren Shuler
WIOA Adult Program
NCWorks Career Center-Madison County
Stacy Peek, Center Coordinator

Lauren Shuler came to the NCWorks Career Center in July 2019 seeking opportunities to develop marketable skills in a career field that would offer stability and potential for advancement. She was underemployed in her current position and wanted to pursue better options. Lauren wanted a career that would provide opportunities to grow and become more financially secure as she advanced in the field.

She was specifically interested in obtaining employment in the emergency medical field.
After discussing emergency services and her interest in Healthcare opportunities, she applied for and received Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) tuition assistance to attend Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training.

This short term training through the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Madison site would provide her with marketable skills and increase her awareness of other Healthcare disciplines if she decided to pursue additional training in the future.

Lauren began the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training at A-B Tech Madison in July 2019 and successfully completed the training in December 2019. She received her North Carolina Emergency Medical Technician certification in January 2020. In February 2020, she accepted a position with Mission Health in Regional Transport Services. Soon after she started her new job, she found herself on the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak. Due to COVID-19, she had to quickly change and adapt to new policies and protocols for patient care and protecting herself and others. Even though this time has been challenging and unpredictable, she says she loves her job and hopes to pursue the Emergency Medical Technician -Intermediate and Medic training in the near future.

Lauren, we applaud your achievements and wish you nothing but success in the future. Thank you for the work you do in serving our community.



William Macey
WIOA Dislocated Worker Program
MAWDB Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Regional Business Services Coordinator

Finding your niche in a career path can take time, and may involve short-term jobs and detours. Barbara met William in March 2019 after he moved to Asheville. He had gotten his CompTia A+ Certification through self-study in 2017, which helped him get his first job at Adidas in Spartanburg. Encouraged by a friend, he moved to Asheville and found himself long-term unemployed. Barbara enrolled him in OJT in March 2019 but the job was not a good match. She and William decided that additional CompTia certifications would be beneficial for an IT career path.

William found a temporary job In IT with Henderson County and began on-line study for the CompTia Network+ Certification. His studies were aligned with his job and soon the job went full time. After passing the Network+ exam in July 2019, William began self-study for the Security+ exam. In December 2019 he accepted a more challenging job with the London Security Exchange Group in Charlotte, where he works as an operations analyst. This job has helped him determine his interest in data analytics.

COVID-19 pushed his Security+ exam out several months but he passed the certification exam in June, 2020. Presently, he is enrolled in a B.S. degree program in Data Management and Analytics through the Western Governor’s University.

Looking back over the past two years, William attributes hard work, pursuit of credentials and good luck playing a part in where he is positioned.

Congratulations to William for his perseverance as an Outstanding Participant in Credential Attainment.
 
Dawn J. McCall
Finish Line Grants
NCWorks Career Center-Transylvania County
Jason Chappell, Center Director


In Dawn’s words- In 2019, WIOA helped me pay for repairs on a car I had purchased. Without the assistance I received, I would have not had transportation to allow me to attend my seat-based classes. WIOA again helped me pay for tuition for a required math class. Twice the program has assisted me. Because of this, I have earned Associate’s degrees in Paralegal Technology and Criminal Justice, and I am currently completing a transfer degree so that I can attend WCU for my B.S. in Criminal Justice.

Until recently, I have been dependent upon Section 8 and other services. I was widowed in 2012 and suffered severe depression. My son encouraged me to go to college, something that I had dreamed of doing when I was younger. WIOA made it possible for me to attend my classes and pay for the math class I needed, but because of WIOA, I now have dependable transportation.

I have so much now and I can proudly say I have been paying my own rent since June 2020. This has been possible because of the assistance I have received, assistance that I am grateful for… and it gives me determination to continue succeeding. 
 


EXPERIENCED WORKER INITIATIVE RECOGNITION

Natalie Shaft
Human Resources Director
Biltmore Farms, LLC
Presented by Irene Canivet

The Experienced Worker Initiative award is given to an individual in Western North Carolina for outstanding leadership in promoting engagement of adults age 50+ in the workforce continuum, including volunteer work, stipend-based training, and/or part-time and full-time employment.  We are pleased to announce our second recipient is Natalie Shaft of Biltmore Farms.

Natalie Shaft’s demonstrated leadership in promoting engagement of adults 50+ in the workplace is outstanding and consistent. During the economic recovery after the 2008 Great Recession, the NC Works Career Center noted that adults 50+ were experiencing longer periods of unemployment and bigger challenges in finding meaningful work.  An “Experienced Worker Job Fair” was developed. It was important to find employers who were committed to interviewing and hiring 50+ workers. Natalie, with Biltmore Farms, was one of the first to sign up. Job Fair attendees reported that her insight and willingness to help them and provide information was invaluable.  Since that first job fair, Natalie, with Biltmore Farms, has continually participated in similar events, including the “Experienced Worker Talent Jam” and the “Asheville 50+ Job Fair”.

Along with participating in “Experienced Worker” events, Natalie has also worked to educate 50+ workers about hiring practices and help them develop job search skills for success. Her volunteer efforts began at NC Works by conducting mock interviews with 50+ job seekers. Then, three years ago, AARP, A-B Tech and the NC Works Career Center Asheville formed a partnership to offer a program called Back to Work 50+. The program provides career guidance and job search skills to 50+ workers. Natalie was one of the first to sign on to present a workshop and she has continued to help the program through all five cohorts.  Her candid conversations with the participants help them understand the hiring process from a Human Resource perspective. Through her help, participants learn how to handle a wide range of job search challenges.

Along with her work with job seekers, Natalie has also worked to educate other professionals in the wider community. She has willingly dedicated time and effort to present at conferences, such as at UNC Asheville, the Asheville 50+ Symposium, and the South Eastern Training Association (SETA) Conference. Natalie has the skill and ability to address the challenges and misperceptions from an employer’s perspective. This is likely the most important aspect of Natalie’s leadership. “Ageism” in the workforce continues to be very prevalent, according to a 2019 survey by AARP, that states that approximately “3 in 5 older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.”
Some people demonstrate leadership by talking about their topic.  A few not only “talk the talk”, they also “walk the talk”.  We are very fortunate that Natalie is one of those leaders who “walks the talk”, whether she is presenting to a large group of business or community professionals, or quietly assisting a job seeker.  

Thank you, Natalie Shaft – for all your leadership and promotion of the engagement of Experienced Workers in the workforce! Congratulations!
DEB HOLEBROOKS OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD

This year, MAWDB honors all of our Youth, Adult and Dislocated Worker Career Advisors, Case Managers and staff in the Mountain Area Region, along with MAWDB Business Services, Performance and Finance Support Staff.
Dianne Ables
Barbara Darby
Irene Canivet
Jason Chappell
Christy Cheek
Ronnie Copeland
Octavia Dunbar
Eric Edney
Derrick Edwards
Rodney Embler
Angela Fuller
Amy Green
Camille Hawks
Ginger Heskett
Vanessa James
Holly Jenkins
Vicki Kelley
Kristin Kress
Wanda Miller-Neild
Barry Morgan
Rachel Olson
Stacy Peek
Ellis Pinder
Brenda Ploss
Zia Rifkin
Suzanne Robinson
Chris Silvers
Kelli Stewart
Peggy Tittle
Anthony Ward
Melanie White
Melissa Wright
Phil Young
Daniel Harris
Carson Griffin
Stacy Hill
In Memoriam
William “Bill” Ragland
October 15, 1931 – May 19, 2020

Bill Ragland was the former long-time Chair of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board and member of the NC Commission on Workforce Development.

Mr. Ragland served MAWDB and the region for nearly 25 years. He was a board member on the Private Industry Council (PIC) under CEDA, then JTPA and finally WIA.

Bill served on the MAWDB from May 14, 1992 until June 30, 2015, when the WIOA Board was constituted.
Land of Sky Regional Council FY19-20 Annual Report
The Council's annual report is dedicated in remembrance of the elected officials in our region who have passed away during 2020.
In Memoriam

Commissioner Will Cathey (1955 – 2020)
Transylvania County Board of Commissioners

Commissioner Mike Fryar (1947 – 2020)
Buncombe County Board of Commissioners

Former Mayor Bill Moore (1945 – 2020)
Town of Fletcher Council

Commissioner Charles Messer (1954 – 2020)
Henderson County Board of Commissioners

Aldeman Carlos Showers (1956 – 2020)
Town of Black Mountain Board of Alderman

Manager Jason Jason Young (1971 - 2020)
Town of Woodfin

This Land of Sky Regional Council recognizes these public servants in our region who passed away in 2020.
Economic Development Partnership of NC launches "Onward as One"
EDPNC Launches "Onward As One" Marketing Campaign

The Economic Development Partnership of NC is reaching out to businesses and community leaders across the state through a new marketing campaign emphasizing the free services the EDPNC offers that can help businesses survive the COVID19 pandemic.

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edpnc.com
AB Tech Works Scholarship
A-B Tech Works Scholarship

If you have experienced a job loss or reduced income as a result of COVID-19, the A-B Tech Works Scholarship may be your pathway to a new career. Valued from $1,500 to $3,000, the scholarship will cover tuition and most costs for the Spring Semester.

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abtech.edu
WNC Digital Inclusion Planning Summit
NC county tier rankings released
NC Commerce Issues 2020 Economic Development Tier Rankings

The North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county tier designations for 2020 today. The designations, which are mandated by state law, play a role in several programs that assist in economic development.

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www.nccommerce.com
Buncombe County reduced in economic prosperity tier

Earlier this week, the North Carolina Department of Commerce released the county economic tier designations for 2021, which are based on economic wellbeing for each of the 100 counties in the state.

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wlos.com
NC Workforce Development Board dashboard
North Carolina WDB Dashboard

Mountain Area WDB: Total annual wages $124.6 million

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bi.nc.gov
North Carolina Association of Workforce Boards

NC Association of Workforce Development Boards (NCAWDB) is the voice for workforce development in NC. Comprised of 23 local workforce boards with over 500 members, the Association is dedicated to enhancing NC's workforce.

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www.ncawdb.org
Small Business Resources
Are you a small business owner? If so, check out this infographic of resources available to assist you during COVID-19.
Small Business Resources: Infographic

SMALL BUSINESS RESOURCES: A GUIDE FOR WNC BUSINESS OWNERS DURING COVID-19. Need Advice? Need Funding? Need Info?

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www.landofsky.org
North Carolina's unemployment rate unchanged at 6.3% in November
North Carolina's November Employment Figures Released

The state's seasonally adjusted November unemployment rate was 6.2%, remaining unchanged from October's revised rate. The national rate decreased 0.2% to 6.7 percent. NC's November 2020 unemployment rate increased 2.6% from one year ago.

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www.nccommerce.com
2,191 people filed for unemployment benefits in our region during October 2020
Buncombe: 1,440

Henderson: 522

Madison: 107

Transylvania: 122

TOTAL: 2,191

Unemployment Claims by Sector in our Region

Leisure & Hospitality 292 (13.3%)
Trade Transportation & Utilities 288 (13.1%)
Unclassified/Unknown 730.(33.3%)
Education & Health Services 288 (13.1%)
Manufacturing 155 (7.1%)
Other Services 66 (3.0%)
Professional & Business Services 194 (8.9%)
Construction 77 (3.5%)
Financial Activities 54 (2.2%)
Information 15 (0.7%)
Public Administration 27 (1.2%)
Natural Resources & Mining 7 (0.3%)
Workbook: Regional UI Dashboard

Mountain Area WDB region initial UI claims October 2020

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bi.nc.gov
Many employers in WNC are still hiring
Companies Now Hiring - October 5, 2020

Local firms now hiring include Always Best Care Senior Services, Advanced Superabrasives, Advent Health, Aeroflow, Amazon, Arcadia, Asheville City Schools, Autobell, Baxter Healthcare, Billy Graham Training Ctr, Blk Mtn Neuro Treatment Ctr & more.

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www.landofsky.org
Companies Now Hiring - In Spanish - Updated October 6, 2020



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www.landofsky.org
Are you an employer who is hiring? If so, let us know so we can highlight your job opportunities.
Contact Barbara Darby, Regional Business Services Coordinator at barbarad@landofsky.org to share our job opportunities and immediate hiring needs.
NCWorks Online - NCWorks COVID-19 Jobs Information Hub

Many businesses across NC need to find new employees quickly because of increased demand. Learn more about who’s hiring and get connected to new job opportunities.

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www.ncworks.gov
Job Posting Data - County Dashboard - Tableau Public



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public.tableau.com
Home - Mountain Area Workforce Development Board

Click HERE for COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR INDIVIDUALS & BUSINESSES. Mountain Area Workforce Board is a partnership of private business executives & the leading workforce development organizations in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison & Transylvania Counties.

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www.mountainareaworks.org
Land of Sky Regional COVID-19 Response Resources
COVID19 Resources and Updates

The focus of Land of Sky Regional Council is supporting our region's response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the resulting economic crisis. All program work will take place remotely and staff is teleworking when possible.

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www.landofsky.org
Mountain Area Careers
NC Jobs | Mountain Area Careers | Western North Carolina

Create Your Future in the Mountains of Western North Carolina. Find jobs from great employers. Earn a steady living and advance your career.

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www.mountainareacareers.org