- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has announced a program that will provide $7 million in federal funds to help community college students in the state who face unforeseen financial emergencies, according to a statement. The Finish Line Grants program can assist with course materials, medical or dependent care needs, housing, or other financial issues.
- "We must maintain a strong workforce to continue attracting companies and helping business thrive in North Carolina,” said N.C. Secretary of Commerce Anthony M. Copeland in a statement. “The Finish Line Grants program will further expand our pool of skilled workers by eliminating barriers that prevent talented students from completing their training and getting rewarding jobs that support them and their families.” Funding for the program will be made available via the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
- Beginning in school year 2018-2019, students will have access to up to $1,000 per semester and will be able to apply either through their school’s financial aid office or through the NCWorks Career Center. The governor's office directed participating local colleges and workforce development boards to establish a joint review process for funding requests made by students who have completed 75% of their degree or credential.
Skilled workers are becoming a scarce commodity, making it challenging for businesses to hire and retain. With assistance from local groups and community colleges, job seekers are upskilling and businesses are working to resolve skills shortages that threaten production. State governments like North Carolina's are also jumping into the conversation with legislative action.
For some, like those in construction trades, the need to quickly upskill workers has even created the need for accelerated programing. In Houston, local community colleges worked on developing curriculums in partnership with construction industry leaders in the area, which provided fast-track training to workers and helped fill talent pipelines in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
The challenges of training, particularly in emerging industries, forces employers to get creative. Recruiters haven't been shy about going to young adults as early as the high school level with the promise of training and credited, college-level coursework. Many companies are even training non-employees as a means to secure a steady applicant stream, with the added community relations benefit.