Mountain Area Works Highlights

  • Asheville metro 2.5% unemployment rate for December 2022
  • Gardner-Webb University Spring Career & Internship Fair
  • USDOL Accepting 2023 HIRE VETS Medallion Awards Applications
  • Biggest Pay Raises Went to Black Workers, Young People and Low-Wage Earners
  • Land of Sky Regional Council Annual Report
  • The Connector: Underrepresented Workers to the Workforce
  • The State of Educational Attainment in NC Livestream - register now!
  • Land of Sky Regional Council receives $3.9 million grant in partnership with East Tennessee Development District to help at-risk youth in City of Asheville and East Tennessee
  • WNC Construction Career Day presented by Vannoy Construction - sponsorship opportunities available
  • Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes outstanding employers, job seekers, youth and workforce partners
  • NC unemployment rate rises to 3.9% - a 'negative sign' for labor market
  • State of Our Workforce WNC survey results from 795 employers released
  • NCWorks Career Center Asheville workshops January 2023 and February 2023
  • NCWorks: Work on What's Next
  • Mountain Area Careers
Labor Market Update
Unemployment rate in Mountain Area region 2.5% as of December 2022. As of December 2022, 1,504 more people working compared to December 2021. 729 less people working compared to November 2022.

Unemployed Individuals by month (Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties):

December 2022 6,285
November 2022 6,781
October 2022 7,343
September 2022 5,953
August 2022 6,938
July 2022 6,562
June 2022 7,591
May 2022 6,792
April 2022 6,198
March 2022 6,347
February 2022 6,603
January 2022 6,669
December 2021 5,584
November 2021 6,038
October 2021 6,547
September 2021 6,917

Total Labor Force 216,520
Total Employed Labor Force 211,023
Mountain Area WDB Job Openings
Mountain Area WDB Labor Force
Mountain Area WDB Employed Individuals
Asheville MSA Jobs
Mountain Area WDB Unemployment Rate
Mountain Area WDB Unemployed Individuals
Asheville MSA Industry Jobs Compared to One Year Ago
Mountain Area WDB Taxable Retail Sales
Asheville metro unemployment rate at 2.5%, lowest of any NC metro
Asheville metro now (as of December 2022) the lowest unemployment of any NC metro at 2.5%. This rate is .6% lower than the metro unemployment rate of 3.1% of one year ago.
Buncombe 2.5%
Haywood 2.7%
Henderson 2.6%
Madison 2.9%
Transylvania 2.8%

Monthly job growth by metro:
  1. Durham/Chapel Hill 0.4%
  2. Rocky Mount 0.4%
  3. Hickory/Lenoir/Morganton 0.3%
  4. Raleigh 0.3%
  5. Goldsboro 0.2%
  6. Greensboro/High Point 0.1%
  7. Wilmington 0.1%
  8. Burlington 0.0%
  9. Jacksonville 0.0%
  10. New Bern 0.0%
  11. Charlotte/Concord/Gastonia -0.1%
  12. Fayetteville -0.3%
  13. Asheville -0.4%
  14. Greenville -0.4%
  15. Winston-Salem -0.4%
Gardner-Webb University Spring Career & Internship Fair
Date: Wednesday, April 19th
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm
Location: Tucker Student Center (131 Tucker Drive, Shelby, NC 28152)
USDOL Accepting 2023 HIRE VETS Medallion Awards Applications
DOL accepting 2023 HIRE Vets Medallion Awards Applications

USDOL announced today that it is accepting applications for the 2023 HIRE Vets Medallion Award. The award is presented annually to employers that meet standards for excellence in the recruitment, hiring and retention of America's military veterans.

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Award Recipients

The HIRE Vets Medallion Award is the only federal-level veterans’ employment award that recognizes a company or organization’s commitment to veteran hiring, retention, and professional development.

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Biggest Pay Raises Went to Black Workers, Young People and Low-Wage Earners
Biggest $ Went to Black Workers, Young & Low-Wage Earners

Black workers, young workers and people on the bottom of the income scale were among those who saw the largest pay increases last year, when employers were readily handing out raises in a tight labor market and high inflation environment.

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Land of Sky Regional Council Annual Report
The Connector: Underrepresented Workers to the Workforce
The Connector: Episode 2

In Episode 2 of The Connector, host and IEI Director Sarah Langer Hall is joined by IEI Practitioner in Residence Philip Cooper and Daniel Vuono with East Fork Pottery in Asheville to discuss the importance of inclusive hiring...

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The State of Educational Attainment in NC Livestream - register now!
All sectors (education, business, government, philanthropy, non-profit) and North Carolina citizens are invited to join us virtually on Monday, February 6 from 3:00 to 3:45 p.m. as we share the top findings from the North Carolina's State of Educational Attainment Report and proposed solutions to address the state of emergency around workforce talent and the education pipeline in NC.

We will highlight success stories and forecast needs and clear solutions to help us achieve the state's educational attainment goal of 2 million degrees or industry-valued credentials by 2030 among North Carolinians ages 25-44.
Land of Sky P20 Council

More workers are needed with the skills to meet future workforce demands in North Carolina. We focus on aligning educational goals with the skills local employers need in our region.

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Land of Sky Regional Council receives $3.9 million grant in partnership with East Tennessee Development District to help at-risk youth in City of Asheville and East Tennessee
DOL awards $33M in grants to prepare justice-involved youth

To help at-risk youth and young adults, from ages 15 to 24, succeed in the workforce and in their communities, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $33 million in Growth Opportunities grants to programs in 11 states.

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WNC Construction Career Day presented by Vannoy Construction
WNC Construction Career Day: March 28 and March 29

Registration : Click on the appropriate header below and complete the registration survey. Educators, Employers, Volunteers and More.

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WNC Construction Career Day Sponsor Levels

Please sponsor Construction Career Day

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WNC Construction Career Day History

2019 Construction Career Day Videos No event was held in 2020, 2021, or 2022 because of COVID 19 pandemic.

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Mountain Area Workforce Development Board recognizes outstanding employers, job seekers, youth and workforce partners
Outstanding Employers
Jabil Inc.
Outstanding Workforce Development Partner
Blue Ridge Community College/NCWorks Career Center Henderson County
Shanda Bedoian, Director of Corporate and Customized Training
Jabil Healthcare, a division of Jabil Inc., the largest global manufacturing solutions provider in the healthcare industry, decided to expand its footprint in Western North Carolina by locating a new facility of over 160,000 square feet in Henderson County with an estimated investment of $60 Million USD. The Flat Rock plant will support the growing pharmaceutical industry in the diabetic treatment arena.
Jabil has become a strong collaborator with The Partnership in joining the Made in Henderson County Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program; with Blue Ridge Community College in the development of the Machining/ Tool & Die Apprenticeship Program; and, with the NCWorks Career Centers in recruiting new hires. Jabil expects to employ upwards of 200 at the Flat Rock site. To date, the team has on-boarded 47 employees and is in the process of onboarding about 20 former dislocated Continental employees.
Attracting Jabil is a huge win. It truly illustrates the importance of what our community strives for in providing a higher quality of life through great career opportunities. Jabil strategically focuses on a culture of safety, teamwork, and respect for each other’s contribution, which we can all agree on and appreciate!
New Excelsior Inc.
Outstanding Workforce Development Partner
Blue Ridge Community College/NCWorks Career Center Transylvania County
Shanda Bedoian, Director of Corporate and Customized Training
New Excelsior, Inc. is part of the larger Sigma Plastics Group, which is a Certified Minority-Owned Business and is a dedicated printing and packaging manufacturer in Brevard NC since 2006.
The plant boasts the widest and fastest printing presses in the world. New Excelsior continues to invest in new efficient machinery to service the United States food industry. Additionally, their training and development strategy to train personnel to become skilled printers in an advanced manufacturing flexographic environment sets them apart from other organizations. These strategies along with heightened pay scales and shift premiums position them to be very competitive in the community.
Currently, the plant employs 77 employees across 7 different shifts. Most recently, New Excelsior was thrilled to hire two dislocated Continental employees.
New Excelsior has stayed the course and adapted well in our ever-changing world, which has afforded them in being an employer of choice in Transylvania County.
On behalf of Blue Ridge Community College and the Transylvania County NCWorks Career Center, I am proud to nominate New Excelsior as the “2022 Outstanding Workforce Development Partner of the Year for Transylvania County”.
Hot Springs Health Program
Outstanding Workforce Partner
AB Tech/NCWorks Career Center Madison County
Stacy Peek, NCWorks Madison Coordinator
In October 1971 Hot Springs Health Program (HSHP) began providing patient care in Hot Springs with one center and 2 Nurses. The goal was to make primary healthcare available to the residents of this small rural community. Now just over 50 years later, Hot Springs Health Program operates four centers providing primary and pediatric care to the citizens of Madison County and the surrounding area. The four centers are located in Mars Hill, Marshall, Hot Springs and the Laurel community. Along with basic primary care, Hot Springs Health Program also provides Outpatient Physical Therapy, Home Health & Hospice Care, Behavioral Health, and Pharmacy Services at all four centers.
Hot Springs Health Program is dedicated to serving the primary healthcare needs of its patients through an organizational model that is oriented to and directed by the community. Their commitment to community includes:
·        A community-based Board of Directors;
·        Strong health education programs and chronic disease self-management services;
·        A patient-oriented perspective to make care affordable for patients and families in need of financial assistance; and
·        Partnering with other key healthcare and community organizations.
Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2021, Hot Springs Health Program is one of the larger employers in Madison County with approximately130 employees. Hot Springs Health Program is a valued partner in Workforce Development, participating in job fairs, posting job openings in the online system, and has a willingness to communicate with NCWorks staff regarding referrals of potential candidates.
NCWorks Madison appreciates their interest in collaborating to discuss opportunities, career pathways, and offer suggestions for job seekers interested in entering the health care field. As an example of this partnership, during the past year this collaboration led to the hiring and successful placement of a Clinical Assistant referral from the NCWorks-Madison office. Hot Springs Health Program has also visited the Nurse Aide I class at A-B Tech Madison to discuss the healthcare field and career opportunities.
Hot Springs Health Program’s dedication to the residents of Madison County and their community-centered approach makes them an invaluable resource for our area. NCWorks Madison thanks this provider for their service and commitment to the community and looks forward to their continued success in the future.
Devil's Foot Beverage Company
Outstanding WIOA Business Partner
Business Accelerator Grant Program
Mountain Area Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Assistant Workforce Director/Business Services Lead
Inspiration is often fueled by a need. In 2015, one of the founders, Ben Colvin, and his wife, learned that they were expecting a child and went to celebrate with friends at an Asheville brewery. That was maybe not the best location for an expectant mother who would want a non-alcoholic drink to celebrate and get excited about their pregnancy! They quickly found that there weren’t any options for a low-sugar, non-alcoholic beverage. So, they invented one: Devil’s Foot Beverage Company was incorporated in 2016. The company manufactures farm-to-can non-alcoholic sodas. Using local, organic roots and fruits as ingredients, they brew and can beverages, utilizing craft brewing equipment and processes. Their creative business model allows for innovation and has created a niche market for low-sugar, non-alcoholic beverages boasting fresh, clean flavors. Recently they opened an event venue within the manufacturing facility as part of their business expansion.
With help from a Micro Grant awarded by NC IDEA in 2018 ($10,000) and an NC IDEA Seed Grant ($50,000) in 2019, the business was able to grow exponentially. In addition, relationships with Mountain BizWorks and the SBA have allowed them to finance equipment and have a solid financial footing. In 2021, their production had grown from 150,000 cans/year to over 500,000 cans/year. For additional space, the company relocated to the north end of the Daniels Group Building on Sweeten Creek Road. With the need to expand production, Ben ordered a high-volume, automated brewhouse and canner/packager. The equipment was delivered from overseas by freight, which was delayed over a month due to COVID-19. With added capability, Devil’s Foot is easily pushing 44cans/min. which is about 20,000 cans/week. By the end of 2022, they will crack 700,000 cans and over a million cans in 2023. .                                                                                                                                               This expansion aligned nicely with the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board’s WIOA-funded Business Accelerator Grant, which provided $10,000 to cross-train five of their employees on the new brewhouse and canner/packager. The five employees received seven days of training from two specialized training vendors from Charlotte and Colorado. These well-trained workers greatly support the business’s growth and competitiveness and provide high-value skill sets for their careers. Business is great and Devil’s Foot is expecting high trajectory growth in 2023.
Survival Innovations
Outstanding WIOA Business Partner
Business Accelerator Grant Program
Mountain Area Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Assistant Workforce Director/Business Services Lead
Survival innovations, LLC, (SI) started as a three-person company in 2004 in a small facility in Arden. In 2017 they moved the entire operation down the road to their current location in Mills River. Due to growth, they opened a facility in Brevard in 2021 to isolate machining and cutting from sewing and assembly and to pursue additional labor in another area. In 2022, labor constraints in the textile industry continued to challenge growth, so they took a risk and established a satellite sewing facility in Mount Airy, NC. They were fortunate to hire an experienced sewing machine mechanic for that facility, who is available for the Mills River location, as well as capitalize on sewing with an available workforce. Currently they have 31 employees in our local area and seven employees in Mount Airy. These additional facilities will greatly support their rapid growth while continuing to satisfy existing customers.
SI provides design, development, testing, manufacturing, and support services for critical aviation life support equipment. Their customers are warfighters; and they support through contracts the Department of Defense and OEMs, such as Collins Aerospace and Boeing. They are an NSF-ISR Registered ISO 9001-2015 company and in 2012 won NAVAIR Patent of the Year for design of hardware used in military helicopters for search and rescue.
With business growth, Jason Smith saw a need to provide their CNC machinists with equipment maintenance training for their Haas machine. Machine downtime greatly impacts production and profitability. During COVID one of their machinists relocated and the company scrambled to hire another machinist and postpone the training with Philips Corporation. SI received a Business Accelerator Grant for $8,350 to train two machinists in Haas equipment maintenance. The grant provided travel reimbursement for their machinists to travel to a training site in Rock Hill, SC where they received four days of hands-on machine maintenance training in June 2022.
SI strongly believes in developing the skills of their workforce for better job performance, advancement opportunity, retention, job satisfaction, and pay increase for acquired skills. In return, the company benefits from reduced downtime, reduced expenses and increased productivity and competitiveness. As SI continues to grow, the company is working to develop the next generation of skilled maintenance supervisors and manufacturing leaders.
Per Jason, “The MAWDB has had a tremendous impact on a small business’ ability to promote growth through strength while expanding personal value and talents of individuals within our community. The funds provided in 2021 through the Incumbent Worker Grant provided training to two young machinists that immediately impacted the company’s performance with on-site, on-time maintenance avoiding machine downtime. While we hope these individuals remain with Survival Innovations for years to come, the skills and talents gained will not only remain with the trainee’s but will be part of the company culture
Outstanding NCWorks NextGen Youth Participants
Haley Pettit
NCWorks NextGen Program
Goodwill of Northwest NC
Jordan Meeks, Youth Services Coordinator
Goodwill’s NextGen program is proud to recognize Haley Pettit as its 2022 WIOA Outstanding Participant of the Year. Haley started working with NextGen in the fall of 2021, wanting to move away from her job in food service. She was seeking assistance to earn her High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma and develop a meaningful career path for the future.
She connected with A-B Tech’s Adult Education/High School Equivalency program, becoming a motivated and determined student. With the help of Goodwill’s NextGen program, she received WIOA support to schedule her tests and earned her HSE in September.
After accomplishing her initial goal, Haley continued her strong momentum to keep moving forward. She expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the Early Childhood Education field. NCWorks NextGen helped her gather information on this career pathway. A review of training options and job outlooks ensued, and a plan developed to move her away from work in food service. Through NCWorks NextGen, Haley began a WIOA-supported paid workplace experience with St. Paul’s Preschool where she gained first-hand experience working in the field. She assisted teachers, worked with children ages 0-5, developed lesson plans, and most importantly made sure that this career pathway was the right fit for her. Haley loved the experience, and received positive praise for being patient, compassionate, and an overall wonderful teacher assistant.
As Haley gained confidence that this was the right career path for her, NextGen connected her with the Early Childhood Teacher Workforce Development Program offered by Buncombe Partnership for Children. Through this program, Haley engaged in 24-hours of pre-service training and completed the EDU 119 course offered through the community college as part of the process to achieve certification as an early childhood teacher. She was presented with an opportunity to move to full-time work at a childcare center.
Haley is now working full time at All Kid’s Academy. The NCWorks NextGen Team at Goodwill is incredibly proud of Haley for accomplishing her goals; now she’s making a positive difference in the lives of young children in our community. Congratulations, Haley, and keep up the great work. You’re an inspiration!
Adrienne Ducharme
NCWorks NextGen Program
Henderson County Public Schools
Marisela Aguillon, WIOA Career Coach
Adrienne enrolled in the workforce program on August of 2021. She was experiencing huge barriers at the time such as being homeless and living in a car with her other 3 siblings. This left her a big responsibility to help care for her sibling while her mom tried to work which caused her to put her educational goals aside. Prior to her enrollment, Adrienne was struggling due to having inconsistent housing and ended up living in a shelter and then her family’s car. She had only minimal resources to live day to day. With her big gap in her studies she was facing a challenging road to becoming self-sufficient. She had missed most of her middle school years due to moving around so much and helping to take care of her siblings. She was struggling to find a stable place to live and this begin to affect her in all areas. To make things worse, she was separated from her family and begin to live in foster care.

With the assistance of the WIOA program and other community resources, she was able to work on her goals to help escape homelessness. School administrators were able to place her on a fast track graduation plan and put her in smaller class settings. Entering back to school at the age of 17, left her to learn so much learning material that she had lost. The goal for her was to get classes knocked out through an online academic program called Edmentum.

Presently, Adrienne has one semester left to graduate. She attends school daily and participates in work experience. Adrienne has remained positive the whole time aside from all her barriers and her major life changes. We are very proud of Adrienne for remaining strong in working hard to accomplishing her goals aside from the challenges that she faces daily. She has worked in the WIOA WEX program for a year and a half. Participating in WEX has allowed her to gain work experience and learn new job skills. Over the summer, she landed a job at BonClarken Conference Center and enjoys working there after school and on the weekends. For the future, she hopes to attend Blue Ridge Community College while working in the hospitality business. 

Quote from Adrienne “The program has helped me get through high school and keep my mind in the right place. I know that if I ever needed anything, I could always reach out to my career coach. Not only has this program helped me academically but also with assistance with food and clothing. I am thankful to be alive and I am enjoying life and having people around me that care about me.”
Tom White
Outstanding WIOA Youth Participant
On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program
Mountain Area Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Assistant Workforce Director/Business Services Lead
Tom White was a 16-year-old young man who got fidgety during COVID. With his mother’s permission he decided to obtain his GED, which he accomplished in a few months. Tom also enrolled at A-B Tech through Goodwill’s WIOA NCWorks NextGen Program and took a few courses in the trades and worked part-time in food service. He soon discovered he really liked plumbing and wanted to pursue this trade as a career.
His Goodwill NextGen Career Coach, Rachel Olson, referred him to Barbara Darby, to explore OJT opportunities. At the same time, Robert Foster, Chief Operating Officer, Virtelle Hospitality, expressed interest in hiring a youth and providing maintenance training. Tom started On-the-Job Training at Holiday Inn Biltmore West in January 2022, working under David Caulder, Corporate Chief Engineer. He worked with his trainer to remodel the employee breakroom and learned a lot about sheet rock and painting. In March 2022, his worksite became the newly opened Element Asheville Downtown. Tom’s training broadened under his supervisor, David Freund, Maintenance Engineer. 
Tom’s supervisor states that “Tom has progressed a lot during his time working at Element. He has improved existing skills and developed several new ones. His day-to-day tasks primarily consist of preventive maintenance checks in guest rooms and touching up paint. He has been able to work independently on these tasks. Tom also works on more complex projects like fixing plumbing issues and troubleshooting lock and electrical issues. He has been exposed to the use of software technology in tracking components of the hotel’s sustainability program and designing and printing a critical part with a 3-D printer.
Tom is a great example of a responsible, motivated young person whose career goal is to become a licensed plumber. I am pleased to recognize him as an Outstanding WIOA Youth OJT Participant.
Outstanding NCWorks WIOA Adult and Dislocated Worker Participants
Iken Wallace
Outstanding WIOA Dislocated Worker Participant
On-The-Job-Training (OJT) Program
Mountain Area Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Assistant Workforce Director/Business Services Lead
Iken Wallace was challenged upon release from incarceration in 2022. He was ready to begin a new life journey and was willing and able to put in the work to become self-sufficient. He quickly got in touch with resources, Philip Cooper and Gene Ettison of Inspire. They assisted him with securing housing through Biltmore Housing, gathering documents for employment, and starting a job search. Philip referred Iken to Barbara Darby for OJT consideration as a dislocated worker. He interviewed at Plasticard Locktech International, LLC (PLI), a second-chance employer, and was offered a job through the workforce board’s On-the-job Training Program, making a living wage. He started OJT on September 1, 2022, and completed training as a lamination machine operator on November 31, 2022.
Iken was a fast learner and completed training earlier than expected. He realized he had vision issues when he could not read the test for his driver’s license.
To work safely, the workforce board’s supportive services policy paid for an eye exam and prescription
glasses along with needed work clothes. Iken got his driver’s license recently and is working to obtain a car.
For his final evaluation, Anthony Hutchins, Iken’s trainer, stated that Iken’s performance had been exceptional. Josh Hefner, Iken’s supervisor, shared that “Iken has shown a great work ethic and has been eager to learn since day one. He has adjusted very well to PLI’s production processes and has shown great communication with those around him and his lead. Overall, Iken has been a great addition to the PLI production team.”
Congratulations Iken for an impressive transition into the world of work and personal responsibility. You have demonstrated determination and I know you will achieve other goals. I am delighted to recognize you as an Outstanding On-the-Job Training participant.
Holly McBride
Outstanding WIOA Dislocated Worker Participant
On-The-Job-Training (OJT) Program
Mountain Area Regional Business Services
Barbara Darby, Assistant Workforce Director/Business Services Lead
Holly McBride had a successful career in the entertainment industry in Florida, working for the Walt Disney Company as a production manager. After moving to Asheville in 2020 she found herself struggling to find similar employment. Holly enrolled in the Back to Work 50+ Program at NCWorks-Asheville in the spring of 2021. This five-week program helped her understand the Asheville job market, how to network as a new resident, and what transitional opportunities existed. She worked with Irene Canivet, the 50+ program coordinator, to determine her career transition plan to human resources (HR). Irene referred Holly to Barbara Darby to pursue on-line training and certification in human resources.
In June of 2021, Barbara enrolled Holly in WIOA as a dislocated worker for training and certification services. She obtained her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) from the Human Resource Certification Institute in September of 2021. To gain experience in HR, Barbara referred Holly to Friday Services as a potential OJT candidate. Holly began OJT in January 2022 as a sales manager and recruiter and completed her training in June 2022. In addition, Holly was able to participate in incumbent worker sales training provided through Mountain Area Workforce Development Board’s WIOA-funded Business Accelerator Grant. 
William Irving, CEO, expressed appreciation for the board’s OJT Program. “Being able to utilize the OJT program allowed us to gain an employee that otherwise we might not have considered due to the training that was required for Holly to make such a dramatic career change. Through the training program we were able to invest in Holly more heavily. She has been able to learn and grow into the role as a clerical recruiter and be proficient in both recruiting and new sales. Holly has brought a lot of business experience and maturity to the table that is often hard to find in a new recruiter as the job requires having to work with clients and understand their needs along with integrating as a new team member.” 
Holly’s story is an inspiring example of how a motivated person with transferable skills along with the collaboration of workforce partners can help facilitate an individual’s career transition. Congratulations Holly for your accomplishments and for being recognized as an Outstanding On-the-Job Training participant.
Reco Mosley
Outstanding WIOA Participant
Dislocated Worker Program
NCWorks Career Center Asheville
Samantha Justice, WIOA Career Coach, AB Tech
Reco is witty, intelligent, charismatic, and driven. He's a black man with a past, a family man with dreams. He's also one of the highest paid people in the room. He went from nothing to everything within 6 months with the help of WIOA.

When Reco applied for WIOA in December of 2021, I wasn't sure about him. He carried a chip on his shoulder. He seemed like he was used to being doubted, underestimated. Once he saw that WIOA is all about student success and I was on his side, he relaxed a little. I expected him to be an average CDL student. Any average CDL student is great in my book - job security, quick hiring process, nice income, employee driven industry, etc.

But this one, he's anything but average. He was recently released from prison, had never traveled, and needed a lot of soft skills work. During the WIOA process, he learned how to advocate for himself in a peaceful way, completed his book work, passed all his tests with excellence, and successfully completed his behind- the- wheel driving training quickly. Reco was starting over. He was at a critical crossroad in his life. All he had on his side was drive and a passion for something more, something different and secure. He ran with it and never looked back. Reco has financial security now, making over 91,000 per year, has seen most of the US, (favors California) and has changed his life forever. He's looking forward to other business opportunities in real estate.

I am so proud and happy he had the courage to start over, start from the bottom. He remains genuine, kind, and consistent.
Jennifer Keeter
Outstanding Career Seeker
NCWorks Career Center Henderson County
Stacy Hill, HRD Employability Lab Instructor, Blue Ridge Community College
The NCWorks Career Center Team in Henderson County had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer in January of 2022. To simply say that she has inspired us would be an understatement! She has been our student, our teacher, and our friend.
Jennifer was born totally blind to a mom that she gives credit to for teaching her to be a strong-willed woman that trusts in a Higher Power and puts that trust first in all things. These same values continue to be encouraged and instilled in her by her friend, caretaker, biggest fan, and cheerleader…the one she calls her Nanna!
Her first visit to NCWorks was to express her desire to become a Pre-school Teacher to other blind children. Through her exploration of Early Childhood Education and a shadowing experience at a daycare center, she is now on the path to becoming a teacher “to just children” (in Jennifer’s words), whether they can see or not. Her journey has inspired and included many players at Blue Ridge Community College. 
Dean of Adult Education, Robin Paulison, said, “Jennifer is passionate about her independence and is committed to her education and work.” Director of Disability Services, Angie Uhl-Kalev, says, “She epitomizes the growth mindset. She focuses on what she CAN DO instead of what she cannot do…a lesson we can all learn.”
Through her demonstrated drive and determination, she has also landed her very first job as a team member at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. To Jennifer, Cracker Barrel is an outstanding employer that created a job “just for her!” Upon a visit to her employer, her team could not be more complementary of her work ethic; they describe her as a friendly, cooperative, and professional teammate. Several members on her team said that they love to get to work when Jennifer is on the schedule.
Jennifer’s smile and attitude is infectious too! The influence her presence has on people is a gift she shares with so many. It was a “no-brainer” thinking of who to highlight for this year’s Outstanding Participant. The lessons that have been learned through this amazing young woman has taught us all that, despite being differently abled, we can achieve whatever we dream. She summed up her expressions by saying, “we can strive to be more independent if we just want to!” Thank you, Jennifer, for your example.
Wyatt Broyles
Outstanding WIOA Participant
National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) Program
NCWorks Career Center Madison County
Stacy Peek, NCWorks Case Manager, AB Tech
With the COVID-19 Pandemic just beginning in March of 2020, Wyatt Broyles was working as a Parking Attendant for an Asheville-area resort when his job suddenly ended because of significant restrictions and closures that critically affected the Hospitality sector in the MAWDB region. Wyatt was uncertain about future employment in this sector, so he began to research his options for training in a more stable employment sector. He had previously taken classes at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College but was uncertain of the direction he now wanted to pursue. The unprecedented events of the Pandemic made him realize that he needed to pursue training in a high demand field. After considering multiple programs, he decided the Healthcare Sector would provide consistent employment and opportunities for career advancement. He was most interested in training for the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program at the college.
Wyatt began the Associate Degree Nursing program at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College in August 2020, supported by NDWG funding that MAWDB had received to address the critical impact on the Hospitality Sector and return workers dislocated by the COVID-19 closures to stable and self-sustaining employment. During his training, NDWG funding supported the cost of his tuition, required fees, and required supplies including support for his NC Board of Nursing registration and testing fees to sit for licensure.
Wyatt successfully completed the program in May 2022 and had already accepted a Cardiovascular Progressive Care Unit (CVPCU) position prior to his graduation. He achieved licensure in June and began his position with HCA-Mission Health on July 5. Though it continues to be a challenging time in the Healthcare Sector, he is making an impact as he begins this new career path.
NCWorks Madison applauds the hard work of Mr. Broyles and congratulates him on his achievements. Thank you for the work you do in serving our community. We wish you every success in the future.
Desiree Chambliss
Outstanding Career Seeker
NCWorks Career Center Transylvania County
Jason Chappell, NCWorks Manager
Desiree Chambliss is a single mom who has been struggling over the last several years to get ahead. She and her husband and four children moved to Brevard in 2014. He had a job opportunity, although they knew no one and they had no family there. They both obtained employment but unfortunately their marriage ended in divorce and he and three of the kids went back to Texas.
During this time Desiree held several jobs including one where she was the assistant manager of a local business; however, the business had to close due to COVID. She found herself struggling again and the Pandemic continued to create a barrier for her and many others.
Desiree found herself having to apply for assistance through the Work First Program. There she received a referral to the NCWorks Career Center. At NCWorks she received resume assistance, tips on how to apply for a job, interviewing practice, and how to effectively job search. She became involved in the Getting Ahead program thru Transylvania Christian Ministries. These collaborative agencies along with Desiree’s motivation and desire to get a job paid off as she obtained employment at the Asheville Airport with Delta Airlines.
Although there continues to be struggles, Desiree has become much more aware of the resources in her community that she can depend on for encouragement, support, and assistance if need be.
For her dedication and perseverance, it is our honor to select Desiree Chambliss as our Outstanding Participant for the Transylvania County NCWorks Career Center.
Deb Holebrooks Outstanding Customer Service Award
MAWDB Administration recognizes our WIOA Frontline Staff for their contributions to the region’s Workforce Development System. This recognition is awarded in memory of Deb Holebrooks, Career Coach, NCWorks Career Center-Asheville.
Dianne Ables
Deb Holebrooks Outstanding Customer Service Award
NCWorks Career Center Asheville
Rodney Embler, NCWorks Manager
Dianne Ables is a Career Advisor at the NCWorks Career Center in Asheville. She began her career with the Employment Security Commission back in 1991 primarily as a receptionist greeting customers as they came into the office and determining what assistance they might need. During this time, she was also an Employment Consultant who interviewed unemployment insurance applicants and assisted them with processing claims and resolving issues with their payments. This was a very fulfilling job that involved a lot of problem-solving, but she really enjoyed the customer interaction.
After a brief hiatus to enroll at Mars Hill College and obtain her NC teaching license, Dianne returned to ESC to work in the Food Stamp program, setting up work search plans and issuing vouchers to those who completed the program. She remained in this position before being promoted to Claims Consultant Interviewer.
As NCWorks came into existence in 2013, Dianne transitioned to Job Placement where she assisted job seekers with finding jobs, worked with customers to determine their skills and talents, reviewed job descriptions with applicants, and modified resumes to build stronger representation.
Over the past nine years, Dianne has gained many additional skills and worked with various employment programs for NCWorks and the Division of Workforce Solutions. These include Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessments (RESEA), Employment Assessment Interviews (EAI), TRA/TAA and WIOA. She has also worked closely with Project Reentry to assist justice-involved individuals while also serving veterans and youth with job search and career guidance. As a member of the employment team, she works with local employers to post their job openings and match potential candidates.
Dianne possesses both a Career Development Facilitator (CDF) and Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) credential, both of which are critical in her daily work with individuals across all walks of life.
When Dianne was notified that she was receiving this recognition, she stated, “I have always loved my job and all the training that goes with it. If you have ever been in a bad spot and were rescued by a kind individual who cared enough to help you out, then you can truly appreciate good Customer Service. I feel very privileged to be involved in the workforce development of our community.”
Outstanding Workforce Collaboration
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce
Inclusive Hiring Partners
Inclusive Hiring Partners - Asheville Chamber of Commerce

Inclusive Hiring Partners (IHP) is a resource to close the opportunity gap by connecting Buncombe County residents experiencing significant barriers to employment with available jobs in growing industries.

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Outstanding Workforce Development Leadership
Dr Abe Pallas
Chair, Mountain Area Workforce Development Board (2019-2022)
Outstanding Workforce Development Leadership
Brock Ashburn
Vice President, Highland Brewing Company
NCWorks Commission member
Recognition for statewide and local workforce development leadership. Highland Brewing Company is the largest brewery in North Carolina founded in our state. Brock is a passionate advocate for the skilled trades.
Outstanding Workforce Development Leadership
Himanshu Karvir
President, Virtelle Hospitality
NCWorks Commission member
Recognition for statewide and local workforce development leadership. Himanshu has served in numerous leadership roles in our region including as Chair of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. His company is a tremendous supporter of our region's workforce development efforts.
Bill Ragland Award
Jonathan Szucs
President, Advanced Superabrasives, Inc.
Mountain Area Workforce Development Board member 2015- 2022
Recognition for Outstanding Private Sector Workforce Development Leadership from 2015 to 2022 as a member of the Mountain Area Workforce Development Board and Chair of the Board's Youth Committee..
Outstanding Education Leadership
Dr John Bryant
Vice President, Pardee UNC Health Care
Former Superintendent, Henderson County Public Schools
Dr Tony Baldwin
Superintendent, Buncombe County Public Schools 2009-2022
Dr Tony Baldwin Announces Retirements

Buncombe County Schools Associate Superintendent Susanne Swanger announces she will retire from BCS effective August 1, 2022. Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin will retire from BCS effective November 1, 2022.

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BE PRO BE PROUD North Carolina
Demonstration allows students to explore skilled trades

The Be Pro Be Proud tractor-trailer that made a stop on campus allowed students to explore various trades and careers through simulation.

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BE PRO BE PROUD - North Carolina

There are thousands of opportunities right here in NC for skilled professionals. And this is where you'll find them. If you've got the talent and the ambition, NC's top employers are looking for you.

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Book a tour stop!

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NC unemployment rate rises to 3.9% - a 'negative sign' for labor market
NC unemployment rate remains under 4% | WRAL TechWire

But that report “confirms the North Carolina economy is slowing,” said Dr. Mike Walden, an economist and a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus at North Carolina State University, in an interview with WRAL TechWire on Tuesday.

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State of Our Workforce WNC survey results from 795 employers released
  • Overall, respondents to the 2022 survey anticipate hiring between 22,150 and 44,140 total new employees in the next three years.
  • Healthcare and Manufacturing Industry employers anticipate the largest hiring needs.
  • Employers seek workers with degrees and credentials.
  • Employers will rely on on-the-job training to develop and strengthen existing workforces.
  • Employers cite housing cost/availability, wages and child care as the most significant obstacles to talent recruitment and retention.
  • Employers continue to hire through friends and networks, but are also utilizing online job portals to source their talent.
  • The average talent pipeline rating was 2.83 out of 5.
  • Internships are the most preferred method of K-12 student engagement but methods vary by industry. 
The State of Our Workforce: Western NC

Our goal with The State of Our Workforce: Western NC is to identify solutions to close the skills gap and strengthen our local talent pool -which will ensure that companies in our area have the resources and people they need to succeed.

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State of Our Workforce WNC Interactive Dashboard

The survey ran from March 15, 2022 - May 31, 2022.

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Challenges mountain biz owners likely to face in coming yrs

A new survey has provided insight into the successes and challenges of the workforce in Western North Carolina.

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NCWorks Career Center Asheville workshops January 2023 and February 2023
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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