PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- For Steven Davis, his pathway to Central Carolina Community College has been a full-circle experience.
"I was working actually in this building here for Morelli. They had shut down due to moving (production to Mexico). And when they shut down, I decided I needed to go back (to school) and advance my skill range," said Davis.
The building is now the future site of the E. Eugene Moore Manufacturing and Biotech Solutions Center at Central Carolina Community College, and hosted an event Thursday morning launching AdvanceNC.
"AdvanceNC is a partnership collaboration of how we are supporting the advanced manufacturing growth that is taking place right now in Central Carolina. We've seen the slew of announcements and opportunities for our future," said Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls.
AdvanceNC consists of eighteen partner organizations and institutions: Alamance Community College, Central Carolina Community College, Durham Tech Community College, Fayetteville Tech Community College, Johnston Community College, NC A&T State University, NC State University, Piedmont Community College Randolph Community College, Sandhills Community College, Vance-Granville Community College, Wake Tech Community College, Capital Area Workforce Development Board, Durham Workforce Development Board, Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board, Lumber River Workforce Development Board, Mid-Carolina Workforce Development Board, and Piedmont Triad Regional Workforce Development Board.
"In those 18 counties, (there is a) 1.5 million (person) labor force. Let that sink in. "We've got phenomenal talent in North Carolina, the best talent anywhere. We need to make sure they have the right skills to meet the workforce of today and tomorrow," said Dr. Lisa Chapman, President of Central Carolina Community College.
"We're working together on how we coordinate our curriculum, how we plan our curriculum, and we're all making investments," said Ralls, noting a $60 million investment for an advanced manufacturing center at Wake Tech's new campus in Wendell.
The push to train workers comes amidst potential labor workforce shortages. A 2021 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute estimated there could be a 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030.
"We have a lot of conversations with companies. The number one issue that they are considering right now when deciding whether to expand or whether to bring their company here is the quality of the workforce, particularly now that we're post-pandemic and there are shortages in the job market," said Governor Cooper.
"They are looking for places that have the workers and that outrank almost everything else. Our concentration on making sure we have well-trained workers is going to keep us at the top of the country for being a great place to do business, and it's going to be important for them to be able to depend on our universities and community colleges and workforce development boards to provide that kind of training that they need."
Students at CCCC expressed their support of the program and other career-training initiatives.
"Knowing how to do it before you go at the job, knowing what they expect from you. Skills they expect, training and everything being done before you even start the job definitely would make it easier," said Davis.
"It teaches you a foundation that you need to know before you get into the actual job," said William Porter, who is set to graduate next semester.
Porter grew up in Sanford and is encouraged by the growth of jobs in the area.
"Before, there weren't that many opportunities. Now, as soon as I got into Central Carolina Community College, I've seen a lot more employers," Porter said.