(From left) Gov. Pat McCrory, Sturm Ruger President and CEO Mike Fifer, and Senator Phil Berger applaud Golden LEAF's support in the recruitment of Sturm, Ruger & Company to Rockingham County.
Rockingham County lands 493 manufacturing jobs
Golden LEAF supports project through grants for equipment, workforce training
On August 13, 2013, Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach joined Gov. Pat McCrory and Senator Phil Berger to announce that Sturm Ruger is locating in Rockingham County and creating 493 manufacturing jobs. The company is one of the nation's leading manufacturers of high-quality firearms for the commercial sporting market.
Golden LEAF awarded a $2 million grant to the Rockingham County-based nonprofit Citizen Economic Development, Inc. to purchase equipment that it will lease to Sturm Ruger. The lease payments will support future economic development projects in the county.
"This is the largest number of new jobs announced for a Rockingham County project in almost 40 years," said Graham Pervier, President of Citizen Economic Development, Inc. "Ruger liked the fact that the lease payments will come back to the community where the new plant will be located to help with future economic development investments."
Sturm Ruger also was considering South Carolina, Texas and Florida for the project. Local officials said the quality of the local workforce and available training programs were assets.
"The company was impressed with the available workforce in the region," Pervier said. "Ruger will begin hiring right away and they will begin production next year."
Rockingham Community College (RCC) is a major source for training the local workforce. Golden LEAF has recently funded RCC to upgrade advanced manufacturing labs that target the skills that Ruger needs.
Since 2012, Golden LEAF has supported efforts to meet the state's manufacturing workforce needs through a grant program called the Golden LEAF Essential Skills in Advanced Manufacturing Initiative. In December 2012, Golden LEAF awarded a grant to RCC for its welding program and one to Forsyth Technical Community College to increase computer integrated machining at RCC and other partners in the Piedmont Triad Region.
"Our machining program has received an enormous amount of interest since the Sturm Ruger announcement," said Perry Hughes, Department Chair, Career and Technical Education Workforce Development Division at Rockingham Community College. "Thanks to the Golden LEAF Foundation, we were able to purchase a HAAS ST10 CNC turning center. This is the same equipment that will be used at Sturm Ruger."
RCC Instructor Kris Brooks is explaining the HAAS ST10 CNC turning center to members of local industry at the machining center's grand opening event.
The Essential Skills Initiative provides support to training programs that prepare students for identified employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing and other high-wage technical occupations. Companies such as Sturm Ruger that choose to locate or expand in North Carolina will benefit from the skilled workforce these advanced manufacturing programs are helping produce.
"We are currently working with Sturm Ruger to develop a program that will meet their production needs in machining," Hughes said. "This program will also help other local metal fabrication companies."
These announcements not only bring jobs but also the hope that other industries will see the benefits of choosing to locate in our state.
"This announcement by a national leader in its industry will bring widespread attention to North Carolina and Rockingham County," Pervier said. "Basic manufacturing jobs can have a 2.8 multiplier effect in the area economy."
Robeson County gains sweet potato manufacturer, 149 new jobs
Golden LEAF provides grant for infrastructure, other sweet potato support
The Town of Pembroke recently announced the addition of 149 new food manufacturing jobs by the end of 2015, thanks in part to a Golden LEAF grant. Trinity Foods, LLC decided to open its sweet potato processing plant in Pembroke over a competing site in South Carolina.
Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach talks about how the Foundation helped support the location of Trinity Foods to Robeson County, during the April 11, 2013 announcement.
The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded a $1.158 million Economic Catalyst grant to the Town of Pembroke to construct a publicly owned wastewater pre-treatment facility. The facility will serve the needs of Trinity Foods and other companies looking to locate in the area.
"The pretreatment facility will allow the Town of Pembroke to treat the effluent produced by Trinity Foods and future industrial facilities that may locate in the Comtech Industrial Park," said Eric Locklear, lead engineer on the project. "It will be a great marketing tool for the Town of Pembroke and Robeson County to help attract future industry."
Trinity Foods will ultimately process 90 million pounds of sweet potatoes per year into fries and other frozen food products.
Approximately 40% of the North American sweet potato crop is grown in southeastern NC.
Since 2001, Golden LEAF has been a strong supporter of the sweet potato industry in the state, awarding five grants totaling $1.29 million to the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission to help drive demand for sweet potatoes through marketing research, product development, test marketing and expansion of processing capacity for new products.
"The North Carolina SweetPotato Commission is pleased that Trinity Foods has located within our state," said Sue Johnson-Langdon, Executive Director of the NC SweetPotato Commission. "The introduction of value-added sweet potato products into our food system would not only benefit our farmers but the entire state's economy. Trinity Foods represents the first of other processing companies that we are confident will become a larger economic engine for North Carolina."
Golden LEAF also has awarded six grants to North Carolina State University totaling approximately $1 million to support research related to growing sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes varieties. The grants have supported applied research aimed at improving processing techniques and storage of sweet potatoes.
Cumberland County Library provides tools for employment
Golden LEAF-funded technology is
catalyst for program's success
With support from the Golden LEAF Foundation, the Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center has been able to expand public access to computers and technology resources at each of the library's eight locations throughout the county to assist the underemployed and unemployed with job readiness training.
"These programs aim to provide residents with every opportunity to obtain relevant assistance and training to enter or reenter the workforce," said Laurence Gavin, Regional Branch Manager and system wide Job and Career Coordinator at the Cumberland County Public Library. "These programs are free and offered at library sites and other designated training areas in the community."
With a $60,000 grant through Golden LEAF's Community Assistance Initiative, the library expanded the programs exponentially. The goal was to conduct 72 programs and reach 432 participants over the grant period; however, they were able to far exceed this goal by completing 136 programs which served 709 participants.
"The success we have had in expanding our programs is primarily due to the access of technology that we would not have had without the Golden LEAF grant," Gavin said.
One of the programs the library provides is an intensive Job Search Boot Camp. The boot camp is a series of workshops conducted in the six weeks prior to a job fair and at least one more time during the year. These workshops include Career Readiness Certificate Training, 21st Century Job Searching, Writing Killer Resumes and Cover Letters, Finding Insider Information on Employment Prospects, Acing the Interview and Developing Career Soft Skills.
Librarian MaryAnne Sommer is conducting a 21st Century Job Searching workshop with Golden LEAF-funded laptops. The workshop was held in conjunction with the Library's August 14, 2013 job fair.
In August 2012, about a year after the programs were fully operational, the library held one of its job fairs. After the fair, vendors reported that 67 people obtained employment with the potential for more, who would be undergoing additional reviews. Gavin said vendors noticed that the level of preparedness had increased.
"We've also been able to expand the level of the library's commitment to collaborations with other organizations within the community," Gavin said. "We worked with Fayetteville Technical Community College minimally before the Golden LEAF grant on North Carolina Career Readiness Certificate training because we couldn't guarantee the space or the computers. Since gaining the equipment, FTCC has expanded the number and types of programs the library is supporting."
According to Gavin, the programs the library is offering and the consistency with which the programs are provided has given the library a reputation within the community that they are a resource for job readiness skills and job searching. The library is now doing more training programs in conjunction with the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development, Pipeline NC, BRAC Regional Taskforce and the Fayetteville Area Society of Human Resource Managers among others.
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|Message from the
Golden LEAF stands with you as we face the challenge of providing as much assistance as possible to those areas most in need. We see the need to address both short-term economic growth through jobs and investment and long-term economic development through investing wisely in our people and our communities.
This edition of LEAF Lines shows the potential of our work for short-term economic growth by recent job announcements that capitalize on a continued vibrant agricultural economy and a resurgent American manufacturing sector and long-term investments in our people and industries.
Read how our grantsmaking facilitated the location of a Sturm Ruger factory, one of the USA's leading gun manufacturers, in a vacant textile manufacturing building in Mayodan located in Rockingham County. The grant will provide the local economic development corporation the ability to lease equipment to the company and in return have money for future economic development projects. This short-term growth is combined with an earlier long-term investment in Rockingham Community College's welding and machining programs to provide Ruger and other companies with a trained and competent workforce. These Golden LEAF investments have complemented what the state and local resources brought to bear.
Moreover, Golden LEAF support for a wastewater treatment facility helped Trinity Foods decide to locate in Robeson County. Trinity will manufacture sweet potato fries at the site, hire roughly 149 North Carolinians and support our state's sweet potato growers. Since 2001, the Foundation has provided several grants to support the SweetPotato Commission and North Carolina State University in its work to assist the growers and potential manufacturers in the state. North Carolina proudly leads the nation and the world in sweet potato production. This long-term commitment to this industry is really beginning to show dividends in new ways in our state.
Any visit to a rural public library will reveal North Carolinians searching for work and applying for jobs. Read how Cumberland County Public Library used the $60,000 from a Golden LEAF grant to increase its programs and participation through access to technology. This type of training helps reduce the problem of employers having vacancies but cannot find qualified people to fill those jobs. These training programs produce employable citizens with lifetime job-ready skills.
In the long term, North Carolina needs a healthy, skilled workforce to compete in the global economy. You can read how Halifax Regional Medical Center has hired 22 people in their Wound Care Center to address the epidemic of diabetes in their region.
Also note the article on our Golden LEAF Scholarship program. This program helps high school graduates from rural counties attend college and build their knowledge, talent and skills. I have personally met about 50 of these young scholars from the high school graduating class of 2013, and my hope for North Carolina's future grows stronger from doing so.
Thank you for your support and interest in moving North Carolina forward, both in the short and long-term.
Dan Gerlach can be contacted by
e-mail at email@example.com.
Golden LEAF supports access to healthcare
Halifax Hospital adds new facility, creates 22 new jobs
Halifax Regional Medical Center's new Wound Care Center became fully operational last February, thanks in part to a Golden LEAF grant. The Center is addressing a critical need for wound care in its service area. As a result of the new facility, the Center was able to create 22 new jobs.
Halifax Regional Medical Center serves Halifax, Northampton and Warren counties, which have high incidences of diabetes that ranks 85% above the U.S. average. In February 2011, the Golden LEAF Foundation awarded a $108,000 Rural Hope grant to Halifax Regional Medical Center. The grant supported a building renovation project for a Wound Care Center on the campus of Halifax Regional Medical Center.
Pictured are some members of the Wound Care Center staff, hired as a result of the expansion (from left): Kandy Williams, RN; Stuart Todd, MD, Medical Director; Renee Price, RN, Clinical Coordinator; Mick Olesnevich, BS, RN, Program Director; Sheryl O'Neil, CNA, Hyperbaric Oxygen Technician; Shirley Wilkins, Patient Relations Representative; and Brent Mason, LPN.
"We couldn't have moved forward with the project without the Golden LEAF grant," said Sherry Jensen, Vice President and CFO of Halifax Medical Center. "The grant from Golden LEAF allowed us to implement a plan for improving a needed community service by providing us with the capital funds necessary to start the wound care center."
The center has served more than 360 patients since February 2011 and currently has 100 active patients. The center helps patients such as those with chronic conditions as well as people who are injured on the job.
The center has a 95% healing rate, provides individualized treatments and has two hyperbaric chambers. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides essential elements necessary for chronic wounds to heal.
Through three rounds of funding, the Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded 23 grants totaling more than $3 million to support Rural Hope projects, a rural health care initiative designed to enable better health care delivery and job creation by assisting in the construction and expansion of rural health care facilities. The health care industry is often a top employer in rural communities and plays an important role in helping rural areas be more attractive for economic development.
Golden LEAF President Dan Gerlach (center), presents five students from Alexander Central High School with Golden LEAF Scholarship certificates at their high school awards day ceremony on May 24, 2013.
Golden LEAF awards 215 scholarships for 2013-2014
Rural NC students receive up to $12,000 over 4 years for college
The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded 215 scholarships to students from 68 rural North Carolina counties for the 2013-2014 school year. Students are eligible to receive up to $12,000 over 4 years of college. In May and June, Golden LEAF Board and staff members personally handed out more than 100 certificates to students at awards ceremonies held across the state.
"The Golden LEAF Board of Directors has proudly awarded more than $27 million to assist over 10,000 students from families in rural communities to attend college since 2000," said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. "The Golden LEAF Scholarship is one of the many tools we have to help fulfill our purpose of growing North Carolina's rural economy."
Scholarship recipients can attend participating North Carolina institutions, including UNC system universities and NC's private, nonprofit institutions participating in the program.
High school seniors or community college transfer students who plan to attend a participating college or university, reside in a qualifying county and demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for scholarship assistance.
The application for the 2014-2015 school year is expected to be posted in early December 2013 at CFNC.org/goldenleaf.
"Through this scholarship, students will gain valuable knowledge and skills," Gerlach said. "Our hope is that they will return to their hometowns or other rural areas to help our communities prosper."
Read more about the Golden LEAF Scholarship Program by clicking here.
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