Governor Cooper recommends spending $60 million to boost NC workforce

Andrea Blanford Image
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Cooper on tour at wake tech
Governor Roy Cooper has announced his workforce budget recommendation.

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- During Governor Roy Cooper's Wake Technical Community College's Northern Wake Campus tour on Wednesday, he announced his $60 million workforce budget recommendation.

Governor Cooper called North Carolina's workforce the state's number one recruiting tool, and said he wants to put the money toward achieving the North Carolina Job-Ready initiative he launched in February.

"We are in a constant race with innovation to make sure we keep our workforce at the level that we need to attract these good-paying jobs," said Cooper. "We know that the job market is constantly changing. You here at Wake Tech are continuing to have to meet those changes and get input from employers. We have to invest in our people."

Here's how the money would be spent:

  • $30 million for a financial aid program to provide free training for high-demand fields. NC GROW (Getting Ready for Opportunities in the Workforce) would cover tuition and certain fees for students pursuing training in high-demand fields.

  • $20 million for students facing unforeseen financial challenges so they can complete their degree. The Finish Line Grants Program can be used for course materials, housing, medical needs, or other financial emergencies.

  • $10 million for a competitive grant program to help employers address training needs and employee skill gaps.

Cooper also participated in a roundtable discussion with Wake Tech leaders, local employers, students, and alumni to hear their successes and needs.

The community college already partners with employers to provide internships and skills training students need to hit the ground running when they graduate.