Officials meet to discuss the state of work force in Onslow County

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Tracking the economy, county, school and business leaders gathered to discuss the state of the workforce in Onslow County on Wednesday all in hopes of helping folks get a better understanding of jobs in the area.

Over 23 thousand people live and work in Onslow County and another 14 thousand commute for work.

With so many positions, the need to keep jobs local is something commissioners feel is necessary.

On Wednesday, commissioners, along with others in the community met to figure out how to drive the local economy.

Onslow County Board of Commissioners Chairman, Barbara Ikner, says they want to make sure residents have all the necessary resources to apply for available jobs.

“Here in Onslow County, our local government, the board of commissioners is encouraging and stimulating every avenue to make sure those job placements are available,” said Ikner.

School officials also chimed in saying there’s a need to re-direct class schedules to fit the modern world of employment.

They say looking toward the future, students expecting to join the workforce will need more education to meet 2025 demands.

“We find ourselves in a time period where we really are preparing children for jobs that don’t even exist yet,” said Dr. Lesley Eason, the Associate Superintendent of Onslow Co. Schools.

Economic officials suggest job seekers focus on technical, personal finance and management skills.

They say that’s because they essentially hire those who are employable in many aspects.

And with over 20 thousand service members transitioning out of bases in the nation’s fourth largest military state in the U.S., officials also spoke on the need to keep service members in Onslow County.

“We want to make sure that any of our transitioning service members keep their talents, knowledge skills and abilities here in our companies throughout the state of North Carolina,” said Kimberly Williams, the Executive Director of NC4ME.

Officials say one of the challenges they face is a large portion of jobs in Onslow County require low skill and education. They say they hope to better diversify those areas in the future.

Officials also say the unemployment rate in Onslow County is down and jobs continue to open up.

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