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Effort aims to help fill future jobs

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Monday, March 25, 2019

A gathering of business and industry leaders, health care officials and educational leaders is being prepared to come up with solutions for the need to fill numerous future jobs in Edgecombe and Nash counties.

The Twin Counties Industry Consortium is set for 8-10 a.m. on April 12 at Benvenue Country Club in Rocky Mount.

One of the organizers is going to be Pam Gould, executive director of STEP, the Strategic Twin Counties Education Partnership.  

Although Gould said details of the industry consortium are being worked on, she said she plans to ask for a commitment for supporting a teacher “extern” program, which would be for one week in the summer.

The idea, Gould said, is for teachers to be able to go into business and industrial workplaces, shadow their personnel and take what they learn back to their respective schools to share with their colleagues.

And Gould said she believes there is going to be time at the industry consortium for a roundtable discussion.

STEP is going to be one of the sponsors of the industry consortium, along with the Carolinas Gateway Partnership and the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce.

STEP is an educational nonprofit group established in 2012 with the original purpose of identifying what was causing low student achievement in the areas of literacy, graduation rates and workforce readiness.

Today, STEP seeks to facilitate a workforce talent pipeline by creating and supporting initiatives about career awareness and  preparedness. A focus is on what the jobs are and what the credentials and skill sets are for them.

"There's a sense of urgency of course that we need to have people ready for jobs that will be here in 2020 and beyond," Gould said. "And there is a huge information gap, I believe, not just with not only our citizens but definitely with our students and our schools."

Carolinas Gateway Partnership is the business and industry recruiting organization for the Twin Counties. The partnership has made clear there needs to be approximately 3,500 people ready to go to work at expanding or future industries by the end of 2020.

An unprecedented multi-county marketing and recruiting initiative, called RAMP East, is being launched to help get residents into training situations to secure good-paying jobs.

Gould emphasized STEP has already been facilitating a summit of business and industry and education leaders to help build a local talent pipeline and to create a continuous improvement network.

Gould said while the specifics of the upcoming industry consortium are pending, "I think we're really trying to give some updates and highlights of what we are doing to meet the challenge in recruitment for that pipeline."

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