By Jeanna Baxter White
Davie County has the 17th strongest economy out of the 100 counties in North Carolina, for the second year in a row, according to the 2020 North Carolina Development Tier Designation report issued by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
“We have a lot to be proud of in our community,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “This is another example of how we are stronger together and how we are continuing to make a difference.”
Since 2007, North Carolina has used a three-level system for designating development tiers. The designations, which are mandated by state law, are incorporated into certain state development programs to encourage economic activity in all 100 counties of the state.
How Tier Rankings Are Calculated
The Development Tier Designation statute (§143B-437.08) provides specific guidelines for calculating annual tier rankings. This process assigns each county to a designation of Tier One (most distressed), Tier Two, or Tier Three (least distressed). Assuming no ties in rankings, the statute requires 40 Tier One, 40 Tier Two, and 20 Tier Three counties each year. In the event of a tie for the final position as a Tier One or Tier Two county, both counties will be placed in the lower tier.
Tier Rankings use Four Factors
- Average unemployment rate for the most recent twelve months for which data are available (November 2018 – October 2019, NC Dept. of Commerce, LAUS)
- Median household income for the most recent twelve months for which data are available (2017, U.S. Census, Small Area Income & Poverty Estimates)
- Percentage growth in population for the most recent 36 months for which data are available (July 2015 – July 2018, NC Office of State Budget & Management)
- Adjusted property tax base per capita for the most recent taxable year (FY 2019-20, NC Dept. of Public Instruction)
Each county is ranked from 1 to 100 on each variable, making the highest possible county rank sum 400, and the lowest 4. After calculating the county rank sum, counties are then ranked from most distressed (1) to least distressed (100) in order to determine their economic distress rank.
Davie County’s Rankings
Davie County received a Tier Three designation again this year with a county rank sum of 307 out of 400.
- Davie County ranks 8th for the lowest unemployment at 3.51%. The North Carolina state average is 3.99%. Unemployment from November 2018 – October 2019 ranged from 3.05% in Buncombe County to 8.24% in Hyde County.
- Davie ranks 12th for median household income at $58,147, which exceeds the state average of $52,797. The highest median household income was $77,875 in Union County while the lowest was $33,022 in Bertie County.
- Davie County ranks 35th for population growth with an increase of 3.25% between July 2-15-July 2018. The state average for growth was 3.58%. The highest increase was in Brunswick County at 11.50% while Washington County had the greatest decrease at -2.99%.
- Davie County ranks 43rd for adjusted property tax base per capita at $108,094 which is slightly below the state average of $109,067. The highest was Dare County at $389,059 and the lowest was Robeson County at $51,236.
The full report can be viewed at https://files.nc.gov/nccommerce/documents/files/2020-Tiers-memo_asPublished.pdf
“I’m super excited you are all here today to learn about Edge Factor, an innovative online platform to educate and inspire the next generation workforce. This program is going to open the doors for our middle and high school students to discover and explore careers right here in Davie County,” Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, told plant and human resource managers during a luncheon hosted by Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC), DavieCONNECT, and the Davie County Chamber of Commerce.
Next month, Davie County Schools will begin rolling out the innovative workforce development tool which uses high-impact videos and interactive activities to inspire students, parents and job-seekers to pursue career pathways, discover how STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) comes alive in the real world, learn soft skills, and browse local training options, including CTE programs, postsecondary courses, apprenticeships, and other options.
All of the multimedia content Edge Factor creates is distributed through a cloud-based membership platform on edgefactor.com. Through DCS’s contract with Edge Factor, all students at the three middle schools, high school, and early college will be able to go to the organization’s website and set up personal portals which will allow them to explore dozens of career fields through engaging videos that provide a lot of information in a short amount of time and build a profile of the areas they are interested in.
The benefits of Edge Factor will not be limited to the students of Davie County. A Community Hub customized to Davie County will be introduced later this fall and will allow any Davie County resident to create a FREE Edge Factor membership and access collections of high-impact Edge Factor videos that showcase local industries and career pathways.
“The Community Hub gives students and residents access to information about our local businesses as they relate to a particular career,” said McManamy. “It will raise awareness of the wide range of career options available here in Davie County and this will be very beneficial for all of us, but especially our local businesses during their recruiting process.”
Larissa Hofman, VP Edge Factor, attended the meeting to explain Edge Factor, the Community Hub, and how they will benefit area businesses.
“Workforce development is not an easy issue,” Hofman said. “It’s not easy to walk someone, especially a student or parent, through that journey of ‘I have no idea what I want to do with my life’ to ‘now I’ve successfully achieved the skills and training I need to launch a successful career in a local company.’”
“One thing we’ve really learned is that families need the right information at the right time,” she added. “For students and parents to go on that journey of career exploration it sometimes requires some handholding. They aren’t ready to learn about what programs are available postsecondary until they understand what that industry is all about. With Edge Factor, we walk people through a timeline of understanding. We want them to go on a journey of discovery and get excited about what their community has to offer and what their future could look like. Inspiration, exploration, preparation, and connection are at the heart of what we do.”
“The Community Hub will raise awareness of the companies that exist in this area. If I was a student, parent, or jobseeker of any age in Davie County I’d be able to go to edgefactor.com and instantly find information specific to Davie County. We are working with the Davie CONNECT team to create that community directory and listing out all of the businesses which will include your company name, logo and address. The goal is to instantly have a snapshot of local companies. There is no cost to the company, and we are working on adding all of that information in the next couple of weeks.”
While all Davie County businesses will be listed in the community hub, Hofman explained that there are additional benefits for companies that purchase a business membership. Business members can add a full profile of their company, specific career profiles, training opportunities, wages, job listings, and any other desired information. Dashboard analytics allow companies to evaluate their reach.
To learn more about Edge Factor and its role in Davie County visit DavieWorks.com/explore-careers.
DavieCONNECT is a workforce initiative of the Davie County Economic Commission designed to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers and to provide innovative workforce solutions for Davie County. For more information, contact Carolyn McManamy at 336.753.6670 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To celebrate Manufacturing Day 2019, several local businesses and Davie County manufacturers provided a unique opportunity for all eighth-grade students in Davie County.
On October 4th, students from Ellis, North Davie, and South Davie Middle Schools each toured two different locations including DEX Heavy Duty Parts, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, Gildan, Ingersoll Rand, Pro Refrigeration, DCCC – Davie Campus, and WFBH-Davie Medical Center – Bermuda Run. Other students from all three schools spent their tour-time experiencing many different facets of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc.
This was the third year Davie County has participated in National Manufacturing Day through the collaborative efforts of Davie CONNECT, Davie County Chamber of Commerce, Davie County Schools, Davie County Economic Development, and the Davie business community.
Approximately 450 students and staff were exposed to the many outstanding career opportunities that exist here in the county. Business leaders provided informative tours including examples of how their employees use math, science, technology, and communication skills. Students were intrigued by the emphasis on safety, size of the facilities, the variety of jobs including the educational requirements for the job, and the machinery used in the day-to-day operation of the businesses.
Hosted annually, Manufacturing Day is a national event executed at the local level and typically focuses on manufacturing careers. “Middle school students are the next generation workforce and these tours are designed to expose them to career opportunities, show how their current and future curriculum ties to real-world careers and ignite interest in their future,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, an initiative of Davie County Economic Development to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers. “During the tours, businesses showcased the scope of jobs available at their facilities and discussed the requisite higher education or skills training needed.”
“As a school district, it is our responsibility to make students aware of all educational and employment opportunities, and this collaborative effort is an excellent means to familiarize our students with the diverse careers available in Davie County,” said Anthony Davis, director of CTE and Federal Programs for Davie County High School. “MFG Day was also a wonderful learning experience for our middle school teachers who saw first-hand the practical application of the skills they are teaching in the classroom.”
Business and industry participants appreciated the chance to showcase their facilities as well as the career opportunities they have to offer to this future workforce.
“At Ashley, we are proud to participate in National Manufacturing Day and open our doors to students,” said Todd Wanek, president and CEO of Ashley Furniture Industries. “We believe it is important to showcase to students at a young age what opportunities are available to them in their local communities and showcase advanced manufacturing career paths.”
“Manufacturing Day introduces kids at a young age to a manufacturing environment, allowing them to witness real-world applications of the skills they are learning now and will continue to learn, as they progress through their education,” said Jeremy Neff, general manager of Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, Inc. “It gives them the chance to see future opportunities available at Dunlop when starting a career and shows them that they are the future of manufacturing.”
Tonia Shore, director of human resources at Gildan, recognizes that students can’t really understand what they’ve never experienced. “Gildan is one of the largest apparel manufacturers in the world and proudly operates yarn-spinning and distribution facilities in the U.S. We are pleased to provide students in Davie County with the opportunity to discover all the interesting and varied opportunities that a career in manufacturing can offer. We truly hope to inspire the next generation to find their passion in manufacturing.”
Todd Parsons, senior HR generalist at Ingersoll Rand agreed. “We are committed to good corporate citizenship and believe that advancing the quality of life requires taking an active role in addressing the issues impacting our company and communities. It is vital for our success that we focus on and support STEM and early education experiences. Partnering with Manufacturing Day to bring students through our facility is a great way to foster STEM education and create awareness of technology trends and the work environment that they can then take back to the classroom. Our hope is that their experience translates to students, especially females, developing a passion to join STEM-related careers in manufacturing.”
“As an Academic Medical Center, Wake Forest Baptist Health strives to not only teach the doctors and healthcare professionals of today, but also next week, next year, and beyond,” said Matt Britt, marketing manager, Davie & Lexington Medical Centers. “That means when Davie County Schools asks Davie Medical Center to be involved with touring 8th graders and sharing information about the medical profession with each of them, we are all about it. We love opening the doors of Wake Forest Baptist Health Davie Medical Center to our community and surrounding areas in whatever way we are needed.”
DEX Heavy Duty Parts participates in National Manufacturing Day for numerous reasons. “First and foremost, as a company in the Davie County community, it’s important for the community to know the industries that operate and support the area,” said Darin Redmon, director of operations. “DEX utilizes local employees and vendors from our area to help us all grow together; MFG Day helps share the DEX operations, employees and services showcasing this. Additionally, it’s important for students and others to see opportunities in our industry. DEX is unique in that it offers all levels of career paths from business and finance to marketing and manufacturing. It’s critical for students to see there are local companies that can support various levels of employment and career paths while also supporting our youth and the future of the community and state. Lastly, DEX is proud of our operations, employees, and community, we want to capitalize on every opportunity to share that when we can.”
McManamy has been pleased with the great feedback she has received from businesses as well as the students and teachers. She and Davis appreciate everyone who helped make MFG Day 2019 a success. “This is the first in a series of programs that will directly connect our students to our businesses. The next steps will involve developing a formal program where students of various ages are exposed to a broad variety of career paths and educational opportunities. Aligning business needs with curriculum will ensure Davie County has a well trained and educated workforce to meet the challenges of businesses today and in the future.”
As an employer, you will be happy to know that there is an untapped labor force among people with disabilities here in the state – people who make outstanding employees and are job-ready. According to the Institute for Corporate Productivity (ICP), hiring people with disabilities can:
- Improve productivity and reduce turnover by almost 50%
- Include employees who have equal to or better overall job performance ratings than fellow workers
Many of these candidates are well prepared, have earned certifications and have post-secondary education. In fact, the North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (NCDVRS):
- Has over 4,000 applicants who are pre-qualified and “job-ready” from month to month
- Places thousands of people each year in healthcare, hospitality, and personal services jobs
- Provides over 1,500 employees to the transportation, manufacturing and construction sector each year
- Fills an additional 500 positions in the business, professional and financial services areas as well
Recruiting and Placement Services for Employers at No Charge
To recruit and employ these talented people, you can rely on NC DVRS which offers recruitment and job placement services to employers at no charge.
“We want businesses to see us as a partner in helping them achieve their staffing needs,” said Dave Hiller, manager of the Lexington unit of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which serves Davidson, Davie, and Randolph Counties, as well as high school students in Yadkin County.
He listed the programs that are available to assist employers in hiring individuals with disabilities.
- Tax credits for hiring individuals with disabilities
- Tax credit for modifying the workplace such as installing a ramp or automatic doors or widening aisles to accommodate wheelchairs
- Federal bonding program which provides no-cost fidelity bonds for hard-to-place job applicants who face barriers to employment.
- Agency-paid internship program. The employer then has the option to hire the candidate who is now trained for that specific position.
- Agency-paid On the Job Training (OJT) program
“We want to make our services available to as many people with disabilities as possible, and businesses and employers are crucial to our success.”
NC DVRS Impacting Lives, Creating Success Stories
Hiller gave an example of the benefit NC DVRS offers to both employers and consumers. “We had a client who was working for a manufacturing company in Mocksville, but her limitations were causing her to have difficulty with some of her tasks. Our vocational evaluator and counselor completed a job site analysis of the tasks and the client’s ability to perform them. They then made recommendations to both the client and the employer so that the tasks could be accomplished more efficiently. Both parties embraced the suggestions and the employee was able to continue employment. Our experts were able to assist both the employer and the client, and the situation is now a success.”
“We have specialized training to serve people with disabilities,” he added. “We are experienced in serving people with learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and physical disabilities such as cardiac or pulmonary issues, diabetes, and amputations. And we also understand the local labor market, who the businesses are, and general workforce trends.”
Hiller explained that in addition to supporting businesses, his office also works directly with individuals with disabilities, beginning with high shool students, who need assistance to retain, obtain or maintain competitive employment.
Getting Help for The Disabled Begins Here
The process usually begins with a referral from a doctor, mental health professional, high school, community college, or another agency like the Department of Social Services or NCWorks. Consumers may also contact NC DVRS directly themselves.
If an individual meets the criteria for assistance (has a disability and would like to go to work), a case manager will help them develop job goals and then plans services to help meet those goals. This can include helping with access to community resources, counseling, job coaching, job leads, interview skills, resume assistance. Depending upon income, candidates may also receive financial assistance with training and transportation.
“We are all parts of a big pie. The more we work together the more the community as a whole will benefit. Our local businesses have their staffing needs met and our clients are able to achieve their goals.”
North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation is located at 375 Hospital Street, Suite 100 in Mocksville and can be reached at 336-751-0558.
For more information, you may also visit the following websites:
By Carolyn McManamy and Jeanna Baxter White
We all want to live in a vibrant community with abundant job opportunities, excellent schools, high quality of life, and low crime. We want the best for our children – to earn a great education that will launch them into independent adulthood with successful careers and the promise of a bright and prosperous future.
Education is one of the most important factors in a community’s economic success. More education means more opportunity for everyone. Yet the soaring cost of college prevents many students from furthering their education.
What if we put education at the very center of our community and Davie County students had the opportunity to continue their education beyond high school graduation, without incurring substantial student loan debt?
What if our students earned a degree or certification, providing them with the right education, skills, and training to obtain a career in the modern workforce?
And what if high-demand, high-paying careers could be found right here in our own community, further positioning Davie County as a highly desirable place to live and work?
Now imagine the impact all of this would have on the lives of our students and their families. Imagine the impact it would have on the vitality of our community, the success of our employers, and the prosperity of our future generations!
These are the dreams and the passion behind IGNITE DAVIE, a collaborative community initiative designed to develop a well-trained and educated workforce to meet the needs of our local businesses and industry. IGNITE DAVIE will raise the educational attainment of Davie County residents through tuition assistance to attend community college and will assure that all eligible high school graduates, regardless of financial need or academic ability, can earn a certificate or an associates/transfer degree.
The idea of a college promise program was initially discussed by the Davie County Chamber of Commerce a few years ago but only recently became a viable initiative as the result of a meeting in January prompted by Zach Wright’s conversation with Dr. Darrin Hartness, president of Davidson County Community College, about a college promise program for Davie students. The meeting participants included representatives from several organizations including the County of Davie, DCCC, Davie County Economic Development Commission, Davie CONNECT, Davie County Schools, Davie Community Foundation, Phil Fuller, and Zach Wright. The group quickly embraced the idea and a subcommittee of Susan Burleson, VP of DCCC Davie Campuses and Institutional Effectiveness, Jane Simpson, president/CEO of the Davie Community Foundation and Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT was formed to investigate the feasibility of launching a college promise program in Davie County.
Following several meetings and a lot of research, the community partners created the IGNITE DAVIE college promise program. With the program clearly defined, the founding partners were quick to kick off the fundraising efforts with their financial commitments toward the endowment to make it permanent. Once the Davie County Chamber and United Way joined the initiative, it was clear that IGNITE DAVIE had become a true community collaboration and would be transformative for all in Davie County.
IGNITE DAVIE is a “place-based scholarship” which means it is not based on financial need or academic merit, but upon living in Davie County. It is for all students who live here and graduate from our public high schools or a registered home school. The percentage of scholarship awarded will be based upon the number of school years the student resides in Davie County.
Beginning with the graduating class of 2020, IGNITE DAVIE will:
- Cover in-state tuition and required fees to attend Davidson County Community College (DCCC) after all financial aid or other scholarships have been applied
- Provide up to $250 per semester for textbooks
- Cover the cost of summer courses for programs that require enrollment through the summer term
To be eligible, students must meet the following criteria:
- Reside in Davie County with award prorated based on continuous enrollment in a Davie County school
- Graduate from a high school or a registered homeschool program in Davie County beginning with the Class of 2020
- Complete the IGNITE DAVIE application, the FAFSA application, the DCCC application and apply for Davie Community Foundation scholarships
- Enroll full time in a Davidson County Community College (DCCC) curriculum program (certificate, diploma, or degree)
- Maintain a minimum 2.0 college GPA and successfully complete at least 75% of credit hours attempted each semester for continued eligibility (no minimum high school GPA required)
- Use the award within three years of high school graduation
- Participate in “Career Connections” through career readiness training and experiences with local business and industry each year for continued eligibility
- Volunteer in the community for continued eligibility
“IGNITE DAVIE will open doors for all high school graduates in Davie County to earn affordable post-secondary credentials and will position our community to develop the most talented workforce in the Southeast,” said Dr. Hartness. “At DCCC, we are excited about this investment in the future of Davie County and hope you will consider supporting this community partnership to enrich our community and prepare tomorrow’s workforce through higher education.”
Providing access to post-secondary education is more important than ever as data suggests that by 2020, an estimated 67% of all jobs in North Carolina will require some education and training beyond high school.* In Davie County, less than 33% of our high school graduates (age 25 – 64) continued their education and actually earned an Associates Degree or higher. Davie County’s post-secondary attainment and completion rates indicate many of our students do not have the requisite qualifications to compete in the modern workforce. As a result, there is a significant misalignment between our workforce needs and capabilities.
“This is the time in our county history where a collaborative vision clearly defines the path forward for the greater good and the investment in future generations becomes a critical building block for tomorrow. Our time is now as we continue to celebrate the rebirth of manufacturing jobs returning to America. Let us continue to invest in our future as we remove impediments to developing a prepared workforce,” said Terry Bralley, president of Davie County Economic Development Commission.
“IGNITE DAVIE is an investment in our students to spark the economic vitality of Davie County,” said McManamy. “It will open doors to educational access allowing eligible Davie County students to further their education beyond high school to ensure they possess the skills required for career and life readiness. Given the strong connection between overall academic achievement and the community’s economic vitality and quality of life, IGNITE DAVIE is an investment in Davie’s greatest resource: Our Children!”
The goals of the initiative are to:
- Improve high school graduation rates
- Increase post-secondary attainment & completion rates
- Strengthen our workforce and ensuring alignment with business & industry needs
- Attract young families to our county
- Increase the tax base
- Create a competitive advantage
“The Davie Community Foundation has been a supporter of Education since its formation,” said Simpson. “Our Scholarship Program was the fastest-growing segment of the Foundation because the community wanted to invest in Davie students. Unfortunately, students continue to be left out of the process because of limited money to award or lack of action on their part. We are very excited about the opportunity IGNITE DAVIE will now offer to all Davie kids who choose DCCC! The opportunity for additional education will be available to all and will help our students be ready for jobs right here in Davie. Thank you, Zach Wright, for getting things started and pushing all of us to move forward with this transformational opportunity!”
“This is a chance for all that face financial and other challenges to seize an educational opportunity that can empower and propel themselves, their families and even their future generations forward into the 21st Century economy!” said Wright.
From the beginning, the potential impact of IGNITE DAVIE was quite evident to everyone involved. Over the summer, the IGNITE DAVIE partners have met with business leaders and other community organizations to educate them about the program and encourage financial support. When asked about their strong commitment to the program Phil and Darlene Fuller stated “We are passionate about our community and the future of Davie County. It is so important that our students have all the resources they can get. They ARE our future!” Statements like these are frequent and very telling of the anticipated community support now that the public fundraising campaign is officially underway.
“IGNITE DAVIE is an extraordinary promise and we invite you to join us,” said McManamy. “We currently have commitments for one-third of the $3 million needed to endow the program for our students and our community, but we need YOUR help to make the promise a reality! Together, we can create a bright and prosperous future for everyone!
Please join us and others with a vision for a vibrant Davie County by making a gift that will truly spark our community.” Go to IGNITEDAVIE.com to make a donation or to learn more about the IGNITE DAVIE program that begins this fall. Specific questions may be directed to Carolyn McManamy: email@example.com or (336) 753-6670.
Whether it’s in a boardroom, parking lot, or on the shop floor… EVERYONE is talking about workforce development, and many are working hard to find solutions.
To help empower its students to become part of that solution, Davie County Schools is rolling out Edge Factor, an innovative workforce development tool that uses the power of cinematic storytelling and interactive tools to open the eyes of students, parents, and adults to rewarding career opportunities that will get them excited about planning their future.
“Career exploration is a large piece of what we do in CTE, STEM, and core education,” said Anthony Davis, director of CTE and federal programs for Davie County Schools (DCS). “We must talk to the kids about what opportunities are available in Davie County and the rest of the world. Edge Factor is a dynamic tool for introducing students to careers that will interest them.”
All of the multimedia content Edge Factor creates is distributed through a cloud-based membership platform on edgefactor.com. Through DCS’s contract with Edge Factor, all students at the three middle schools, high school, and early college will be able to go to the organization’s website and set up personal portals which will allow them to explore dozens of career fields through engaging videos that provide a lot of information in a short amount of time and build a profile of the areas they are interested in.”
Edge Factor’s videos, activities, and tools help people to discover how STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) comes alive in the real world, learn soft skills, and browse local training options, including CTE programs, postsecondary courses, apprenticeships, etc. Davis hopes parents will get involved and take advantage of the opportunity to explore career possibilities with their students.
Edge Factor is also a boon to teachers who will be able to use the program to demonstrate the relevance of course material to the real world.
“If I’m a calculus teacher and I’m having a hard time getting my students to understand how calculus applies to the real world I can go on the website, look up the standard I am teaching, and show the class a video of a person explaining how they use that part of calculus in their career,” Davis said.
Additionally, the teacher portal offers lesson plans and activities that are aligned with North Carolina’s curriculum standards to go along with the videos.
Davis learned about Edge Factor from Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, an initiative of the Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC) to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers. McManamy was introduced to the program while attending an event for 8th graders at Gaston County Community College that turned out to be the county’s rollout of Edge Factor. She was impressed with the program’s potential to ignite students’ interest and thought it would be perfect for Davie County.
“Edge Factor marries curriculum to careers through short, edgy videos that students will want to watch,” said McManamy. “They offer a very broad range of content that explores several career pathways within a particular field, like healthcare. Edge Factor is an excellent career awareness and discovery tool that will help students more clearly identify their strengths, skills, and passion and gets them excited about potential careers. These videos will be a great resource for parents too as they help their children figure out what they want to be and the educational pathway to get there. Ultimately, we want our students to get a great education, so they are career and life ready as they step into independent adulthood and Edge Factor is an invaluable partner in the process.”
She is equally excited about Edge Factor’s value for the community as a whole. A Community Hub customized to Davie County will be introduced later this fall and will allow any Davie County resident to create a FREE Edge Factor membership and access collections of high-impact Edge Factor videos that showcase local industries and career pathways. “The Community Hub gives students and residents access to information about our local businesses as they relate to a particular career. It will raise awareness of the wide range of career options available here in Davie County and this will be very beneficial for all of us, but especially our local businesses during their recruiting process,” said McManamy
To learn more about Edge Factor and its role in Davie County visit DavieWorks.com/explore-careers.
More than a dozen electrical and mechanical trade students committed to four-year manufacturing apprenticeships last week during a signing ceremony at Sapona Ridge Country Club in Lexington, N.C. The event marked the completion of 500 hours of classroom and hands-on training in a pre-apprenticeship program and the beginning of full apprenticeship with one of six local manufacturers.
Apprenticeships are coordinated through the Davidson and Davie County Apprenticeship Consortium (DDAC), an alliance of manufacturing companies in Davidson and Davie counties providing classroom education as well as on-the-job training for students.
Participating employers include EGGER, Ingersoll Rand, BMK Americas, CPM Wolverine and Kurz. Apprentices who are accepted into the program earn pay and benefits while they are training. They complete the program with an associate’s degree, journey worker cards from the State of NC and DOL, and guaranteed full-time employment after graduation.
For more information on the DDAC Apprenticeship program, please visit www.ddac.tech.
The more you know, the more you can teach. Five Davie County educators recently deepened their teaching skills by touring area companies to gain a renewed understanding of the skills needed by employers that will help their students find meaningful careers and local industry to grow.
During the week-long externship, the educators from Davie County Schools toured Ashley Furniture, Dex Heavy Duty Truck Parts, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, Flow Honda of Winston-Salem, Ingersoll Rand, Pro Refrigeration, Inc., Wake Forest Baptist Health – Davie Medical Center and VF Jeanswear, now Kontoor Brands, to learn about all facets of their business.
The week started with a tour of COGNITION, the interactive space for children, families, and the community to acquire knowledge through adventurous play, investigative learning, and creative growth. Once completed, COGNITION will be a space where learners of all ages are able to ask questions, then discover answers through inspiring learning. It will serve as a great learning resource for students and the teachers could envision many field trip opportunities.
The group also visited United Way of Davie County to learn more about the agency’s commitment to the mental, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing of the students of Davie County. While there, the teachers and counselor were invited to tour the Teachers’ Closet, a room full of school supplies which are free of charge for our Davie County teachers.
Industry visits ranged from a couple of hours to a whole day, based upon the amount of information the host location had to share.
The purpose of the community partnership between Davie County Schools, Davie County Economic Development Commission (DCEDC) and Davie County industry is to make local students aware of career opportunities and technological needs by providing relevant immersion experiences for Davie County High School teachers. Through these summer externships with local businesses in the areas of Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), teachers and faculty are connected to their related industries to renew their understanding of current industry practices and technology as well as the soft skills necessary for success in the organization.
“The summer externship is a tremendous collaborative effort between Davie County Schools, our Economic Development Council, Davie CONNECT, and our local businesses,” said Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT. “This externship offers the opportunity for educators to see first-hand the importance of the curriculum they teach and how it is used in real-world applications. This is extremely important because the more our teachers know, the better equipped they are to make students aware of all educational and employment opportunities. The relationships developed with our business community through these externships are invaluable. We want our businesses in our schools working with our students so that they better understand the connection of education to careers.
This workforce development partnership, which started in 2014, was funded for the first five years by the Mebane Charitable Foundation’s $50,000 contribution to the DCEDC’s five-year economic growth plan, Together We Are Davie. Recognizing the continued value of the program, the DCEDC assumed sponsorship this year.
“Thanks to the generosity of the Mebane Foundation for the past five years we have been able to develop a partnership with industries and our local high school teachers,” said Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission. “Each summer teachers learned from an industry leader what jobs are available and the education required for each job. This has created tremendous awareness and relationships between local industries and high school teachers, students and families. This program results in teachers being better equipped to further opportunities for students with paid externships and career paths while developing a potential local workforce.”
Passion Drives Davie Educators to Explore Local Career Opportunities
The externship program was open to all CTE and STEM teachers and guidance counselors. The participants were selected through an application process and received a daily stipend and mileage for their time. The knowledge they gained will be shared with their students and fellow teachers.
This year’s participants included Matthew Barker, STEM English I & II; Collin Ferebee, STEM Earth & Environmental science; Will Marrs, Drafting I/Drafting II + III Engineering and SkillsUSA advisor. Katy Nguyen, a counselor at Ellis Middle School; and Shane Young, CTE (Personal Finance/Entrepreneurship) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) advisor. Other attendees included program organizers Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT and Anthony Davis, director of CTE and federal programs for Davie County High School; as well as Susan Burleson, VP Davie campuses and institutional effectiveness for DCCC; Elizabeth Kilby, program director continuing education and workforce development for DCCC – Davie Campus; and Michelle Slaton, business engagement specialist for the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Workforce Development Board.
Each was motivated to participate by a passion for helping their students succeed, not only in school, but in life.
“I am always pushing for relevance in my classroom. When my students ask me ‘when are we going to use this?’ or ‘how does this apply to the ‘real world’,’ I want to have an answer,” said Ferebee. “While I can use my personal experiences to help drive home certain skills, there are things that I have no idea about. Going on these industry visits and seeing the operations first-hand, as well as speaking with individuals ranging from entry-level operators to general managers, helped to reinforce the skills and knowledge needed to attain a job in these industries.”
“This information will help with painting a picture of real-world possibilities for students as they explore possible future career paths and consider what their economic and occupational goals are,” added Young.
“The externship provides an invaluable experience to teachers to discover the needs of employers so that we are able to integrate these needs into our curriculum to be mastered by our students,” said Marrs. He grew up in Davie County, graduated from Davie High and began his professional career in product design. He is now in his third-year teaching at Davie High as a lateral entry instructor. “ I am passionate about the community that raised me, and I want to convey that passion to my students to have them understand that a successful, lucrative, and globally-connected career in both entry level, and advanced capacity can be had within Davie County.”
“I want to continue to remain modern and well-versed on what is currently happening with industry. I am under-serving my career and technical education students if I am not making an effort to do so. It is so vital that as an instructor in this particular CTE environment that we take these steps outside of the classroom in meeting with employers and remaining abreast of what the current industry climate is. It allows us to continue to keep our knowledge of industry up-to-date as well as decide what skills we need to acquire in the future as an educator to be able to better serve students,” Marrs added.
“Having knowledge of career opportunities within the county can benefit students of all ages, including middle school students,” said Nguyen. “Some students know by 8th grade that they don’t have an interest in attending a four-year university, and as the counselor for these students, I need to know what opportunities are available to them locally.”
Companies Getting the Word Out about Local Career Opportunities
The opportunity to educate teachers about the skills needed in employees and to let the students at the high school know that there are a wide variety of jobs available locally were primary reasons why the businesses chose to participate in the externship program.
“Participating in the teacher externship program is a great way for Dunlop Aircraft Tyres and our employees to be active in our community and strive to have a name that is synonymous with Mocksville and Davie County,” said Jeremy Neff, general manager. “The program gives teachers a better hands-on experience and understanding of the skills required to work in this particular environment. The understanding of all aspects of the manufacturing process provides them the knowledge to prepare students for real-world applications of the skills that they are learning.”
Todd Parsons, senior HR generalist at Ingersoll Rand, said, “At Ingersoll Rand, we are committed to good corporate citizenship and believe that advancing the quality of life requires taking an active role in addressing the issues impacting our company and communities. It is vital for our success that we focus on and support STEM and early education experiences. Partnering with teacher externship to bring educators through our facility is a great way to foster STEM education and create awareness of technology trends and the work environment that they can then take back to the classroom. Our hope is that their experience translates to children, especially females, developing a passion to join STEM-related careers in manufacturing.”
“The teacher externship has played a vital role in connecting our company to both the community and a future workforce,” said Jon Riesenweber, general manager of Pro-Refrigeration. “ We believe programs like this will help to ensure that local youth are better prepared to take advantage of the county’s economic growth.”
“Davie Medical Center has truly appreciated the opportunity to host the Davie County Schools Externship program the last few years,” said Matt Britt, marketing manager for Wake Forest Baptist Health – Davie and Lexington Medical Centers. “It is great to see the passion to learn about Healthcare and Davie Medical Center from the teachers and other faculty that attend. This year’s conversations about sustainability efforts and innovations happening within Davie High School and the county were both intriguing and enlightening. We look forward to having the program back again in 2020.”
Teachers Learning About Local Career Options and Necessary Skills
“Although I have worked in Davie County for seven years, I still knew little about the businesses that operate within its borders,” said Barker. “If I don’t know anything about the opportunities available at home, how can I help my students take advantage of them?”
“Even at certain businesses that I am familiar with or have visited before, I was pleasantly surprised to learn of the career offerings to be had at both the entry, and advanced level, and I was impressed by the variety,” said Marrs. “These businesses are so much more than manufacturing, or health care, or automotive…The variety of skill sets needed for the different positions is something students need to be aware of as well as recognition that there is so much more to being involved in a company or corporation than the primary product or service they provide.
“I was also surprised by the upward mobility that is available in a lot of the companies that we were able to visit,” added Marrs. “I went in with an assumption that the only jobs available to someone without a four-year degree were very entry level and would require a degree of some sort to advance past that. I was amazed to hear that a lot of supervisory and higher-level jobs within the company were achieved or are able to be achieved through experience and most of all, work ethic.”
“I was amazed by the wide range of industry in Davie County that I knew so little about,” said Ferebee. “I knew of these companies, and vaguely what they did, but these tours have shown the growth of Davie County’s economic sector. It also stands out to me that our students have plenty of opportunities for jobs, even if a 4-year college is not in their future… my experiences will help me encourage my high school diploma and 2-year college students, as well…While some of the jobs we saw may not be ‘glamorous’ our students can take their high school education and make a comfortable living for themselves and their family.”
All agreed that what they learned and experienced will be invaluable for their students.
“Throughout the externship, my fellow participants and I generated many ideas for how to incorporate our new knowledge into the classroom,” said Barker. “We have already networked with individuals from each business to have representatives come into the schools to speak to students about their companies and the realities of their jobs.”
“Being able to see one of my former students who is participating in the Davie/Davidson Apprenticeship Consortium, and to hear that this student is excelling within their position, and most importantly enjoying their time during their apprenticeship is such a big energizer as an educator,” said Marrs. “I will be relaying this to other instructors as well as our administration in charge of seeking out these students.”
Davis is grateful to the organizations that allowed the externs entry into their facilities and hopes that additional businesses will want to participate next summer.
“We are truly trying to create a partnership,” he said. “We want to include as many businesses as possible. Communication is key. For the businesses to get their word out, they need us, and for us to get the word out, we need them. Businesses are telling us they can’t fill slots. We want them to know that we are a direct pipeline to community workforce development. Through communication and collaboration, we can be utilized as an important avenue for these workforce vacancies,” he added. “We need to make sure the students know all of their options. We don’t want to steer any child toward a direction they do not want to go, but we need to make sure that they and their parents know all of the opportunities that are in Davie County.”
The Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) Workforce Development Board helps employers gain the best homegrown talent the region has to offer by providing them with access to employee training, connecting them with community colleges and other resources within the educational system, and helping to prepare students in K-12 with the skills needed to succeed in today’s ever-changing and evolving work environment.
“Our goal is to connect good people with good jobs and good jobs with good people,” said Michelle Slaton, business engagement specialist for the PTRC Workforce Development Board. Slaton joined the PTRC Development Board in April and is assigned to Davie and Forsyth Counties. She serves as the first point of contact for employers in the region, providing a customized solution for their immediate needs and developing long-term strategies for their continuing success.
The PTRC Workforce Development Board can partner with businesses (Employers) in several ways. Slaton outlined three specific services: On-the-Job Training (OJT), Incumbent Worker Training and Work Experience (WEX) and how employers can identify individuals who might be a good fit for each service.
❖ On-the-Job Training is a viable pathway for workers seeking to transition to new, skilled employment. For employers, OJT offers the opportunity to offset initial training costs to fill skilled positions while building organizational productivity as the employee learns job duties.
- OJT contracts are limited to the time required for the employee to become proficient in his/her job. An OJT program cannot exceed six months. Prior to hire, a business engagement specialist will develop an individualized training plan with the employer that will allow the new employee to gain the required competencies. Wage reimbursement is 50% of the trainee’s starting salary (minimum starting salary is $15 p/hour) with the maximum reimbursement per trainee capped at $4,000.
- Who is the “Perfect Candidate” for an OJT? An employer should look for an individual who has some experience but a clearly identified “skills gap” from their previous experience to the identified position. In order to become fully competent in all the job skills of the position, a customized training plan is implemented that is multi-stepped and covers several months (no more than 6 months). It is important for an employer to consider that if an individual does not meet these criteria than the training plan cannot be justified and an OJT would not be a good fit.
❖ Incumbent Worker Training is a service that helps offset the cost of training employees who have worked for a business consistently for six months or more. The purpose of the Incumbent Worker Training Grant is to provide employees with an increased skill level so that employees can be promoted and the employer can backfill opportunities for less skilled or experienced employees.
❖ Work Experience (WEX) is targeted for 16-24-year-old candidates with no previous work experience. We offer WEX to employers as a way to enhance their recruitment efforts. This opportunity also allows the candidate to explore a career path and acquaint themselves with the field of their interest. If the experience yields positive results for the candidate and employer, our expectation is the employer will decide to hire the WEX candidate at the end of their assignment. These assignments typically last 8-12 weeks, no more than 32 hours per week, at a salary pre-determined by the employer and workforce board partner.
As she settles into her new role, Slaton plans to spend at least one day each week in Davie County getting to know the community and engaging with employers and workforce initiatives in order to gain a better perspective of the particular needs so that she can apply the Board’s resources to providing solutions.
“I have enjoyed learning more about Davie County and discovering how incredibly passionate the people who live here are about their community. It is really encouraging because community members are their own best advocates and the opportunity to be a supporting player for Davie County partnerships and initiatives is exciting.”
Wood House Upholstery LLC has chosen Mocksville, NC for its first US manufacturing facility and will begin operations in the Shelba D. Johnson Trucking building at 970 Milling Rd in August. The company is now seeking upholsterers, sewers, cutters, frame builders, general laborers as well as an experienced cutting and sewing supervisor and plans to hire 20-30 employees immediately and an additional 10-20 employees within the next six months.
Applications Accepted Next Week
Wayne Stewart, CFO/COO, will accept applications at the Davie County Chamber of Commerce located at 135 South Salisbury Street in Mocksville beginning next week. The hours will be Monday, July 1st from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. and Tuesday, July 2nd from 1-5 p.m. in the upstairs conference room; and Monday, July 8th and Tuesday, July 9th from 4-6 p.m. in the lower conference room on the back side of the building. The company is offering competitive pay and benefits.
Wood House Upholstery’s parent company, family-owned Caribbean manufacturer Wood House Furniture, began making standard and custom upholstered furniture in 1992. Since 2002, Wood House has expanded production from a 3,000-square-foot plant to a combined 150,000 square feet of manufacturing space in factories in Barbados and Trinidad that employ 150 people.
Wood House Owner Alan Cox decided the timing was right for the company’s North American debut which has been in the works for several years. Wood House already exports to 21 countries in South and Central American and the Caribbean.
Wood House introduced its new USA collection of 20+ frames retailing from $599 to $899 during the High Point Furniture Market this April. The pieces are available through retailers across the country.
Initially, the furniture has been imported from the Caribbean and distributed through warehouses in Miami and at Shelba D Johnson. However, corporate leadership soon realized that producing the furniture in the US would help the company maintain its competitive edge in pricing and began seeking a manufacturing site.
The decision to locate in Mocksville was an easy one, according to Stewart. “Being from this area I am well aware of the proximity of raw materials suppliers and the employee work ethic of folks around here. We will have a family-oriented work environment which treats employees with respect and rewards hard work.”
He also cited the serendipitous nature of being able to lease the manufacturing space from Shelba D Johnson Trucking which already warehouses and transports Wood House Upholstery’s products.
“Shelba Johnson had excess space they weren’t utilizing inside a former furniture plant that still had much of the infrastructure we need in place. It’s really a win-win situation for everyone.”
Cox is pleased with how well everything has come together. “We are excited to be opening our facility here in Mocksville. The company is well positioned for growth and the Mocksville area has an excellent reputation for a seasoned and talented workforce.”
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, is equally pleased. “We are happy to share the great news of more jobs and another international manufacturing operation locating in our community. We are extremely excited to welcome Wood House Upholstery to our well-positioned community and business ready county.”