Workforce preparation key to enticing new business to Beaufort Co.

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Making sure the workforce is prepared to make it more enticing for companies to locate in the east is the goal of one center in Beaufort County.

“One of the major efforts we’re undertaking is trying to improve the workforce,” said Martyn Johnson, Beaufort County Economic Industrial Park.

And to do that, folks in the area can visit the Beaufort County Skills Center inside the Washington-Beaufort County Industrial Park.

“This space was created back about ten years ago through, again, a grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. and a loan from the USDA,” said Johnson. “And this space is one in which the community college is able to do training for companies locating or existing companies in the county. Or for people who want to learn a skill.”

Johnson is the director of Beaufort County economic development. With 19% of the workforce in the county in manufacturing, he said the skills center plays an important role.

“We have things like forklift truck driving that somebody can come here on a Saturday and get their forklift truck driving license and then, hopefully, find a job,” he said. “There’s welding here as well. As I say, it can be through the community college, a company that wants to improve the skills of their welders or it can be and individual that says, hey, I want to get a welding job.”

And by taking advantage of the skills center, Martin said it sends a message to companies looking to locate in the area.

“The big thing for economic development for a company is reducing risks, reducing time, and making people feel comfortable that we can do what we say we can do,” said Johnson. “And I think all these facilities prove that we are working towards making their lives easier.”

And, hopefully, keep residents in the county employed for a long time.

County leaders are also meeting with existing industries to see what workforce needs they have. That way, they can add to the skills taught at the center if needed.

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