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.”
“The war for talent is real! You must prepare for it like it is a battle. Job growth in the region is at an all-time high which means employees have a lot of choices,” David Hollars, executive director of Centralina Workforce Development Board, told plant and human resource managers during a luncheon hosted by Davie County Economic Development, DavieCONNECT and the Davie County Chamber of Commerce.
He shared a number of startling statistics from www.ncworks.gov.: North Carolina’s unemployment rate in December 2018 was 3.8%. The area unemployment rate was even lower at 3.4%. To put those numbers into perspective, he explained that during that time period the Centralina WDB region had 49,939 job listings but only 47,056 people listed as unemployed, many of whom might not be ready to do those jobs. That means that there is 0.65, or less than 1, candidates available per job opening!
He asked numerous questions that encouraged attendees to examine their recruitment practices and then offered tips that would help an organization stand out in its attempts to attract new qualified employees and to retain the ones it has.
“What is the first thing people are going to do when they hear you are hiring?” Hollars asked. “They are going to Google your company. How quickly could a potential candidate find out about open positions with your organization?
He explained that the more clicks it takes to find out about job openings, their description, and necessary qualifications, the more likely a job seeker would go on to the next company.
“Are you utilizing multiple approaches as part of your recruitment strategy? he asked. He recommends increasing visibility by using:
- social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, including career specific FB and LinkedIn groups)
- job boards (Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, Dice, etc. as well as industry associations)
- and the NC Works Career Services system
He suggested that organizations take a careful look at their website. “Do you have a career page? Is it easy to find? Do you have specifics to the open positions listed? Can candidates apply via your website? How well do you respond to candidates?”
Organizations should not only make it easy to find available jobs and apply for them but companies should also utilize their website to make a case that they are “an employer of choice.” Good websites are your key to getting good talent.”
He quoted PepsiCo’s Rebecca Gloyne who said, “Companies need to put as much thought and care into their employer brand strategy as that of their consumer brands, or they will miss out on talent as well as long-term growth.”
One way for a company to positively brand itself is to have an employee tell its story. “Perhaps you have an employee who started at a low level and moved up or someone who is now able to support their family because of their job with your organization.”
He also explained that retention is as critical as recruitment.
“Other employers want to steal your people! If you have a good employee, you certainly want to keep him. It costs 1 ½ times to 2 times the salary to replace an employee and surveys indicate that 65 percent of employees are confident they can find a better position that pays more. Employees have lots of choices, you aren’t the only game in town.”
Hollar discussed the importance of embedding new employees to a company through mentoring, training, and development.
“Studies suggest that a supervisor is the #1 reason employees leave. People leave their bosses, not their companies. Develop leaders!”
Compensation and rewards are also important and pay level is not the top predictor of retention.
“Recognition in all forms is a powerful retention tool. Let people know that you appreciate them. Recognition is not just about recognizing great work. It’s also about acknowledging and appreciating the people you work with. Say “hi” to people in the hallway, say “thank you” when someone does something for you, and offer your help to show your support.”
He also shared information about all of the tools that NCWorks Career Centers have to offer both businesses and career seekers. Businesses can use NCWorks Online to post jobs, search candidates, and find labor market information. Career seekers can create an online profile and work with a counselor to identify and build skills, prepare for interviews, etc. These tools can be found at www.NCWorks.gov.
His top three takeaways?
- Position yourself as an “employer of choice” starting with your website.
- Do a business recruitment audit on your company/organization.
- Use ALL available resources for finding talent – especially NCWorks.
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.
After two years of intensive repairs and renovation, the former House of Raeford Farms chicken processing plant in Mocksville is now hiring with plans to begin operations in October.
The central portion of the manufacturing facility off Eaton Road was heavily damaged by a fire in December 2017. Brakebush Brothers, a 94-year-old family-owned value-added processor of traditional and innovative chicken products, purchased the facility from House of Raeford in July 2018.
Brakebush has upgraded the facility with state-of-the-art production equipment and has expanded it from 72,000 SF to 110,000 SF. The updated facility will accommodate three production lines with three shifts and will employ over 300 team members when fully operational. The initial production capacity will be 90 million pounds of chicken annually, which will increase as lines are added.
“We’re excited to be a part of the Mocksville community, to continue our tradition of excellence in producing quality products, and providing an exceptional work environment for our employees,” said Scott Sanders, president of Brakebush Brothers.
The company is now hiring for first shift, with a start date of August 12th. Available positions include production associates, industrial maintenance technicians, RETA-certified refrigeration technicians, waste-water technicians, and more.
Recruitment for second shift will begin in November with a start date of January 2020.
Pay starts at $13.35 & up. Personal and professional growth opportunities are available.
Benefits include 401K with company match (100% vested from the first day of enrollment), health, dental, vision, life, short-term disability, and long-term disability as well as paid holidays, paid sick time and paid vacation.
Bonuses include a $500 sign-on bonus (after 6 months), $100 referral bonus (if both parties are still employed at 90 days), and an annual discretionary incentive bonus.
Apply in person at 251 Eaton Rd., Mocksville, NC., online at www.Brakebush.com, or by calling Bobbi Jo Kreiger, human resources manager, at 800-933-2121 ext. 3303.
Interviews will be conducted offsite at the Davie County Chamber of Commerce or Mocksville Public Library.
About Brakebush Brothers, Inc.
Family-owned and operated since 1925, Brakebush Brothers, Inc. provides a complete line of further processed chicken with over 200 products for the foodservice industry. The company is headquartered in Westfield, WI with additional operations in Irving, TX and Wells, MN. Visit www.brakebush.com for more information.
Pro Chiller Systems has announced that it will shift the production of all standard equipment from its Auburn, Washington headquarters to its east coast manufacturing facility located in Mocksville, NC effective June 30th.
Pro Refrigeration designs, manufactures and distributes state-of-the-art refrigeration systems for the dairy, winery, food processing, medical, and brewing industries. Since opening in North Carolina in 2013, the percentage of equipment produced in North Carolina versus Washington has steadily increased reaching a 75% (NC) to 25% (WA) split in 2018. Pro will continue with limited manufacturing in Auburn with a focus on product development, testing, and certification.
“From a business standpoint, it makes sense to have all of our standard products produced in a single facility,” said Jim VanderGiessen, CEO. “We’ve invested in building a world-class facility in North Carolina, adding this volume will challenge us, but the capacity is there. On a personal level, it’s really a tough call to make when decisions affect longtime members of the team.”
“Several factors were considered before making this decision. First of all, our production costs are lower in North Carolina for many reasons, primarily because we are producing more here and benefit from the economy of scale. Secondly, we have 80 percent of our suppliers within a one-day drive of our Mocksville plant which decreases inventory and transportation costs. Lastly, our facility costs are much lower. It currently costs the same to operate our 25,000 SF plant in Washington as it does to operate our 65,000 SF plant in North Carolina.”
According to VanderGiessen, the move will save the company about 15 percent in production costs of standard products.
The Mocksville facility, located on Beechtree Place, just off of Farmington Road near Interstate 40, currently employs approximately 35 people. With the consolidation, the Mocksville manufacturing facility will hire as many as five additional employees and increase production by 25 percent.
The 25,000 SF Auburn headquarters will continue to have an important role in Pro’s ongoing strategy. In addition to ongoing finance/accounting, customer service, training, and inside sales- this new shift will focus on product development and product certification. “Going forward, the priority in Auburn will be developing and testing new equipment and finding additional industries to serve,” VanderGiessen added. “We’ve spent the past 30 years disrupting some big markets and are excited about the opportunities we are working on. Having a dedicated team and facility for these opportunities is huge.”
He emphasized, “Our goal is to create some new roles in both Auburn and Mocksville and find opportunities for anyone affected, we will do everything we can to minimize the impact on the team.”
“Davie County continues to prove itself as the right location for our East Coast operation and has become home,” he said. “It has been a supportive community since day one and continues to be. That’s why we are increasing our investment here.”
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission is pleased with that decision. “Davie County Economic Development continues to make an impact with connections across the United States. We are grateful for companies like Pro Refrigeration that believe and invest in Davie County.”
History of Pro Refrigeration in Davie County
Pro Refrigeration landed in Mocksville in 2013 after a yearlong search for a site that would fit its expansion plans. The family-owned manufacturer decided that both the Davie County facility and the community best reflected their vision. According to CEO Jim Vandergiessen, the company chose Davie County for “its skilled workforce, the business-friendly environment, and the amazing support we’ve received from everyone we’ve met.”
Two years later, the company outgrew its 40,000 square feet of space in the former Crown Wood building on John Crotts Road and expanded into its current 65,000 square feet of space in the former Renegade Tobacco warehouse. The layout of the new location doubled the amount of space dedicated to the manufacturing process and allows for the upcoming consolidation.
About Pro Refrigeration, Inc.
Pro Refrigeration, Inc. was co-founded by Jim VanderGiessen Jr., CEO, and his Father Jim Sr. in 1990. In addition to being industry leaders to the craft beverage and dairy markets, Pro designs and manufactures chiller systems for numerous industries with a complete product offering from ¾ to 300 HP serving applications that require chilled fluid from –45 F to +45 F.
Pro Refrigeration, Inc. is headquartered in Auburn, WA with a 65,000 SF East Coast manufacturing facility located in Mocksville, NC. Pro also has a network of regional salespeople serving in each corner of the US. For more information, visit www.prochiller.com.
Davie CONNECT and DCCC, the Community College of Davidson and Davie Counties joined forces on Wednesday, May 8th at the Davie Campus in Mocksville for the first co-sponsored job fair.
The event brought together more than 20 employers representing a wide range of professions and industries. Career options at the job fair included positions in the areas of healthcare, advanced manufacturing, business, IT, education and more.
According to Carolyn McManamy, director of Davie CONNECT, “Our first co-hosted job fair attracted a large number of job seekers and we are thrilled with the teamwork and the support of DCCC as we strive to connect businesses to resources and kids to careers and to provide innovative workforce solutions for Davie County.”
“This job fair was open to students and to the public as well. Our employers gained access to a wide range of talent which provided wonderful direct recruiting opportunities that reached beyond the walls of the community college student body. We were very pleased that our pre-event outreach attracted both DCCC students and other job seekers from the community,” added McManamy.
A survey of job seekers attending the job fair indicated that 98% of job seekers attending the job fair were satisfied with the variety of employers represented while 97% of job seekers found the schedule of the job fair was convenient. 40% of attendees spoke with less than 5 employers, while more than half of the attendees spoke with more than 5 employers.
Employers attending the job fair included Ashley Furniture, Avgol, Blakley Landscaping, Brakebush Brothers, CPP Global, DCCC Human Resources, Dunlop Aircraft Tyres, First Choice Personnel, Gildan, Home Instead Senior Care, Ingersoll Rand, Morrisofa, NCWorks, O’Callahans Publick House, PalletOne, Patterson Company, REEB, The Resource, Sabeti Wain Aerospace, Sheetz, Smith Excavating, Summershine Resort Staffing, Woodman Life, and Workforce Unlimited.
Given the success of this first DCCC/Davie CONNECT job fair, we can expect additional job fairs to be scheduled moving forward.
About Davie CONNECT
An initiative of the Davie County Economic Commission, Davie CONNECT is 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 email@example.com.
About Davidson County Community College
Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is a fully accredited, multi-campus college where students of all ages and backgrounds pursue academic and career-focused education in order to build successful futures. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers more than 40 degree and professional certificate programs to students in Davidson and Davie counties, as well as affordable college-credit coursework to students who plan to transfer to 4-year universities. With a mission to serve the changing needs of students competing in a global environment, DCCC is committed to quality education, innovative and equitable learning experiences, training, and support across a wide range of 21st-century career fields.