Charlotte Nonprofits Strengthen Workforce Training

US bailout money must be spent on labor and economic development.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — The Charlotte area unemployment rate is approaching pre-pandemic levels. City officials hope to continue improving jobs and the workforce by funding technical training programs.

According to Bureau of Labor Statisticsmore than 50,000 people in Charlotte, Gastonia and Rock Hill were unemployed in August 2022, compared to the previous year, when 62,750 people were unemployed.

Hoping to build momentum, the City of Charlotte is bolstering workforce training programs with grants.

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The money will go to local programs that provide technical and specialized training and help people recover from the pandemic.

One of the recipients, E2D: Eliminate the digital dividesaid they used the money to hire 50 employees and train them in information technology.

E2D’s mission is to refurbish old laptops and donate them to people in need.

“TComputers that families get for $80 are worth more than $1,000,” said President Pat Millen.

Millen said he has given away 32,000 computers since 2013. The organization hires high school and college students and trains them to repair donated laptops they receive from businesses.

It’s a great opportunity for students looking to gain some IT experience, like 20-year-old Anthony Calloway. He said WNC Charlotte he started volunteering at E2D as a freshman in high school.

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“When I started here, I didn’t know much about computers other than what any teenager knows,” Calloway explained.

But now fFive years later, Calloway is a computer lab supervisor and goes to UNC Charlotte to study information technology (IT).

“There is such a shortage of people to fill the positions needed to provide IT workforce just for the Charlotte community,” Millen said.

That’s why the city awarded E2D $220,000 – to double their enrollment and teach students a valuable skill.

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It’s one of six nonprofits that received a portion of the city’s $1.4 million donated US rescue plan funds. Fellows are required to invest the money in workforce development.

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“Whether it’s helping those involved in justice obtain in-demand jobs in the health sector or providing comprehensive services to remove economic barriers for learners, we are delighted to support a variety of nonprofit organizations,” Christina Thigpen, the city’s assistant director of economic development, said.

Organizations will receive their grants this fall and will have two years to spend the money.

Contact Julia Kauffman at [email protected] and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

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