Colleges gain LEAF funds

Published 10:03 am Thursday, June 18, 2009

ROCKY MOUNT — In the face of record highs in the number of unemployed, the Golden LEAF Foundation has stepped to the plate.

At its June board meeting, the Foundation awarded 17 grants totaling over $3 million for job training projects to community colleges located throughout North Carolina.

The grants were part of Golden LEAF’s Opportunities for Work (GLOW) program. Many of the projects provide critically needed equipment for Gov. Bev Perdue’s JobsNOW: 12 in 6 program currently being developed at community colleges across the state to promote training in six months or less for 12 in-demand jobs.

Two local community colleges are GLOW recipients. College of the Albemarle in Elizabeth City will receive $250,000 for a sheet metal worker training program based on a demand for qualified sheet metal mechanics in Camden, Chowan, Gates and surrounding counties for aerospace and other industry.

Roanoke-Chowan Community College of Ahoskie is scheduled to receive $150,000 for job training in a variety of high demand jobs, including welding, building construction, phlebotomy, certified nursing assistant, plumbing, heating/air/ventilation/refrigeration, industrial systems, and EMT/ EMS certification.

The training will be provided in collaboration with Halifax Community College.

In supporting the “12 in 6” effort and other workforce training programs, the GLOW initiative will help address some of the urgent employment challenges and opportunities North Carolina faces during the current economic downturn.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors created a $3.5 million grant program for short-term, non-degree workforce development training projects that target identified employment opportunities in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural communities.

Funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars, the “12 in 6” program is a collaboration between the NC Community Colleges and the NC Department of Commerce as part of Gov. Perdue’s larger JobsNOW initiative, which focuses on job creation and economic development.

“The GLOW program is right in line with the mission of the Foundation,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “Gov. Perdue and the General Assembly have challenged us to be creative about how to get people into jobs quickly so the support of the JobsNOW effort was a great fit.

Our aim for the GLOW project is to grow the talent, knowledge and skill of North Carolinians so that they may find gainful employment in the current economy.” The Foundation created this program, in part, due to a challenge from the Governor to help get North Carolinians back to work quickly.

“The GLOW program is an important tool for retraining our workforce, a cornerstone of my JobsNOW initiative and a vital part of North Carolina’s economic recovery efforts,” said Perdue.

“The Board felt this was the right time to create a program targeting short-term job training that would help get the economy moving,” said J. Thomas Bunn, Golden LEAF Board Chairman.

“The Board was presented with some really promising projects that show tremendous potential for immediate employability.” The expected outcome of GLOW and JobsNOW projects is the eligibility of trainees for placement in permanent, full-time jobs requiring skills in vocational and trade occupations.

This funding by Golden LEAF represents the perfect marriage between our community colleges and the Foundation,” said Dr. R. Scott Ralls, President of the NC Community College System.

“We develop the training curriculum and programs, and Golden LEAF helps our colleges fill the resource gaps. Our combined efforts expand the opportunities for North Carolina workers and provide a well-trained workforce for our businesses. We appreciate the strong support of Golden LEAF for these efforts.” The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy.

The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically-distressed and/or rural communities across the state.

The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission.

The foundation has awarded 803 grants totaling more than $383 million since its inception. For more information, or to learn more about applying for a grant, visit or call (888) 684-8404.