Golden LEAF awards workforce preparedness programs through the Open Grants Program at February meeting

Golden LEAF awards workforce preparedness programs through the Open Grants Program at February meeting

May 23, 2024

At the February 2024 meeting, the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $1,025,000 in funding for four projects through the Open Grants Program that support workforce preparedness. These projects will support programs in Carteret, Nash, Surry, and Watauga counties and are as follows:

  • $200,000 to Appalachian State University in Watauga County for equipment for the learning lab to support establishment of a two-year, entry-level Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program.
  • $125,000 to Carteret Community College for equipment to increase the capacity of the college’s welding program. The initiative is to address the increasing demand for skilled welders in numerous industries.
  • $200,000 to Mount Airy City Schools in Surry County for classroom renovation, technology, and equipment for a learning lab, housed at Northern Regional Hospital, that would train an additional 30 students from three high schools in the Mt. Airy City and Surry County school districts to be CNAs, and 40 adult students served by Surry Community College annually.
  • $500,000 to North Carolina Wesleyan University in Nash County for mechanical and electrical services and design fees to renovate a campus building to house a new baccalaureate nursing program.

Golden LEAF supports workforce projects that increase the number of qualified individuals with skills aligned with current and future needs of North Carolina businesses and prepare students with the technical and life skills necessary to enter work.

Projects awarded in this priority area will gather data to support outcomes including:

  • Increase in students earning at least one academic credential (curriculum diploma, certificate, or associate degree/continuing education certificate) in the area funded.
  • Increase in students earning at least one industry/third-party certification, license, or other credential (nonacademic) in the area funded.
  • Increase in high school students completing CTE pathways in the area funded.
  • Increase in secondary or post-secondary students participating in work-based learning.
  • Increase in secondary students receiving meaningful exposure and opportunities to explore local career opportunities.

Golden LEAF also looks at narrative outcomes, including students employed, incumbent workers trained, employer input and feedback, survey results, and teacher professional development.

Learn more about Golden LEAF’s Open Grants Program and what components make projects competitive in this program by visiting

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