Lenoir County residents may not qualify for new jobs

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – As aerospace manufacturer North State Aviation announced plans to create 109 maintenance jobs in Lenoir County, there are questions on whether local residents will qualify for the opportunities.

David Bell, who runs IndyLeft PAC, said a lot of people especially in the county’s poorest neighborhoods in Kinston may not see the benefits of the new jobs.

“The truth is a lot of the Kinston community residents are not gonna be qualified for that job,” Bell said.

He’s referring to the lack of higher education or specialized training for many residents.

It’s a problem dating back to last October when WNCT 9 On Your Side met Travis Abrom just after the chemical giant DuPont announced it was hiring more people.

Abrom said he can’t apply for high-paying tech jobs because he can’t afford the required higher education.

“You try to save money on the side, but that’s hard to do with everything going up,” Abrom said. “You trying your hardest to survive out here.”

It’s the job of Bobby Merritt of Lenoir Community College to find people like Abrom.

Merritt plans to meet with North State Aviation to customize his school’s classes to serve as a pipeline for students into well-paying aviation jobs.

He said there’s a variety of federal legislation and financial aid designed to help make classes cheaper.

“There’s opportunities for night classes or evening classes that we can hopefully get them educated enough so they can get out of these poverty levels,” Merritt said.

Merritt says the school’s already helped people get hired by the county’s other industrial companies including Spirit Aerosystems.

To learn more about LCC’s aviation maintenance program, click here.

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