A vacant energy plant and warehouse in an underserved community with high unemployment has found new life thanks to collaboration from local leaders. The result — a workforce development center offering training in high-demand trades — has the City of New Bern, Craven Community College, Craven County, and local businesses excited about the future of the Volt Center.
“About five years ago, we went out and met with business and industry, community partners, and churches, and decided to start the center with five foundational training courses in skilled trades including plumbing, carpentry, construction, heating and air conditioning, small engine repair and electrical work,” said Gery Boucher, Vice President for Students at Craven Community College.
The Volt Center opened in July 2019. The large, open space provided a flexible and adaptive environment. The high-traffic area is also within walking or bike riding distance for many of the people the center was targeting to serve. Public transportation has been another highlight of the center.
So far, the Volt Center has trained nearly 1,000 students. Of those trained, 164 students reported receiving job offers before completing. Not only does the Volt Center attract students looking for jobs, but employers looking for good employees are finding the solutions they have been needing at the training center as well.
“I’m particularly impressed with the synergy and excitement about the Volt Center. All facets of the community are involved. Without the investment from Golden LEAF, it would not have been a reality. The impact on the community in general has been tremendous.”
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