(L to R) Will Early and Jacob Thompson of the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Business Services team seek to connect good people with good jobs and good jobs with good people.

The Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) Workforce Development Board helps employers attract 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 thrive 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 Will Early,  business services lead for the PTRC Workforce Development Board.

“At PTRC, we understand that each business is unique. That’s why our services are tailored to meet your specific needs, ensuring you have the right talent for your business,” assures Jacob Thompson, the business services coordinator assigned to Davie, Davidson, Forsyth, and Stokes counties. He 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. 

Since assuming his role in December, Thompson hopes to become a familiar face and has focused on meeting local partners, making connections, and getting plugged into the community. He aims to gain a better perspective of the particular needs so that he can apply the Board’s resources to providing solutions. Although he doesn’t have office hours in Davie, Thompson regularly visits the Chamber, attends job fairs and other events, and is happy to schedule visits with employers. 

Together, Early and Thompson described some of the broad range of business services the PTRC Business Services Team provides to help align talent and the needs of industry, including: 

Work-based learning can benefit people of all ages, experience levels, and backgrounds. The PTRC Workforce Development Board offers various programs to suit each individual’s needs. 

On-the-Job Training prepares students just beginning their careers and adults seeking a career change. 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. 

Incumbent Worker Training Grants help offset the cost of training employees who have worked for a business consistently for six months or more. The purpose of the Grant is to provide employees with an increased skill level so that they can be promoted and the employer can backfill opportunities for less skilled or experienced employees. 

❖ Work Experience (WEX), part of NextGen Youth Services, is designed for 16-24-year-old candidates with no previous work experience. It’s a chance 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, the employer can 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.

Triad Career Connect, an offshoot of WEX, provides opportunities for graduating seniors to gain real-world knowledge and the possibility of earning certifications or credentials for future careers. It serves as a bridge between employers’ talent needs and youth’s career exposure needs. The course curriculum was developed by regional employers, community colleges, and school systems and provides a pathway to a career through both education and work experience opportunities.

Thompson has been working with Davie County High and the Early College to plan this summer’s Triad Career Connect program in Davie County. The 10—to 12-week program includes two weeks of in-class and two weeks of online learning through Davidson-Davie Community College, followed by six to eight weeks of work experience.  

“Our goal is to connect with students who might not know what they want to do after graduation and help them decide whether they would prefer to go directly to work or continue their education. The work experience portion of the program ends in time for participants to enroll in classes at the community college,” Early explained. 

“Last summer, our first Triad Career Connect program was a resounding success. We matched six students with employers: Davie County Social Services, Davie Construction, DDCC, FigJam Caregivers, NC Cooperative Extension, and the Town of Mocksville. This year, we’re excited to partner with some of these  employers again and invite others to join us in developing local talent,” said Early.   

He pointed out that the program is a win for employers who support a local student and gain an intern whose wages are paid by NextGen Youth Services. Last summer, one of the employers and students extended the experience. 

The Business Services team also offers other resources, such as access to customized labor market data analyses and assistance with job fairs. Its Mobile Career Center and Mini Mobile Unit are available to supplement hiring events with ready-to-use laptops and Wi-Fi.

Thompson is finalizing plans to bring the Mobile Career Center to Cooleemee for a resource fair. The team will help attendees prepare or update their resumes and with interview preparation. He also hopes to include representatives from NCWorks and DDCC to talk about their programs.  

“We are here in a consultant capacity to engage with employers in whatever way they need, including connecting them with local partners and resources,” said Thompson. “We don’t just want to come in and do our program; we want to help identify what each individual employer needs and how we can best assist them.”  

To learn how the PTRC Workforce Development Board can help your business, contact Thompson at (336) 904-0300 or jthompson@ptrc.org or visit www.ptrc.org.

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