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About Us

Gaston Workforce Development Programs operates as a subsidiary of The Gaston County Workforce Development Board (WDB) which is appointed by the Board of Commissioners to serve as the oversight and policy-making body for federally funded employment and training programs and services in Gaston County. Its broader mandate is to oversee the integration of all services and programs to meet the needs of employers and job seekers.


The vision of the Gaston County Workforce Development Board is to establish and direct a results-oriented workforce development and business services system that:

  • Provides job seekers with the education and training needed to achieve self-sufficiency.
  • Merges public and private sector resources and expertise to create an integrated workforce development and business services system.
  • Creates job opportunities for the unemployed and advancement opportunities for the underemployed through comprehensive business development, retention, and expansion services.
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The Gaston County Workforce Development Board has 25 members, the majority of who are from the business sector. Its committee structure includes:
  • Executive Committee - Forms committees, sets agenda, oversees business of the Board.
  • Youth Committee - Develops youth employment and training policy and recommends funding for youth service programs to the WDB.
  • NCWorks Providers- Monitors performance of the training service delivery system by reviewing and approving training providers within the local area for occupations in demand. 
  • NCWorks Career Center Operations Committee (Leadership Team) - Integrates the services and resources of workforce development programs into a comprehensive and seamless One Stop system that is responsive to needs of employers, job seekers and career changers.

Workforce Development Board's fit within County Structure

As mandated by the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, the Chief Elected Official (CEO) is ultimately responsible for the administration of federal job training funds in the Gaston County Local Area, and is authorized to appoint the Workforce Development Board. Generally speaking, the CEO and the Workforce Development Board share equal authority according to the federal legislation. The Gaston Workforce Development Programs, under the leadership of the Local Area Director, oversees program performance through the Job Training Performance Standards System and authorizes the fiscal agent to appropriate funding and enter into contracts for job training programs.


Governor Pat McCrory Visits NCWorks Career Center - Gaston

Gov. McCrory signed Senate Bill 15 in Gaston County at the NCWorks Career Center - Gaston on 09/10/2022. 

The new law requires people who receive unemployment benefits to increase their job search contacts with potential employers from two to five times per week. Gov. McCrory stated this new law will make North Carolina more competitive and "help people who can't help themselves, while encouraging those who can. 

Another feature of Senate Bill 15 is an unemployment legislation that will require claimants to provide a valid federal ID when collecting unemployment benefits.  It also allows DES to check criminal justice databases to ensure inmates are not applying for unemployment benefits while incarcerated.


Gaston County Celebrates National Manufacturing Day

Students explore future manufacturing careers

Students interested in manufacturing careers, from dying yarn to building trucks, met face-to-face with potential employers Friday. About 400 students in Gaston County Schools attended the third annual Career Expo: Discover the New Face of Manufacturing at Gaston College. Students met with representatives from 14 local manufacturers to learn about job opportunities and the skills required to attain them.

It was an eye-opening experience for East Gaston High junior Justin Bushnell, who takes an auto repair class at school. "I’m hands on, so I like to do stuff with my hands," he said. "There are a lot more opportunities in North Carolina than I thought."

Forestview High senior Araia Royalty is taking high school classes in entrepreneurship and finance. She hopes to one day enter the manufacturing industry in the finance department. She was elated to learn that she won’t have to travel far from home to find that career. "I’ve learned a lot about how some of the smaller companies are starting to build, and I discovered opportunity that I didn’t know was here," she said. "I never realized how they actually come to college and care about the new kids coming out of school and want new employees." Daimler Trucks’ Mount Holly Freightliner plant hired about 600 new employees in the past six months, according to Jim Giesey, the plant’s lean implementation supervisor. He spoke with students about those opportunities and his own career path. Giesey began his career about 20 years ago with an entry-level job as a parts hanger. He worked his way up the company ladder to welder to team leader to union representative. It was in that role where he says he learned how to earn people’s trust by showing respect. It’s a quality he urged students to show when meeting with potential employers. "Showing employers respect and treating them with respect is also how you get a job," he said. "Once you make that face-to-face interaction with somebody, that’s your opportunity to say ‘I’m willing to learn, to listen to what you have to offer, and I want to contribute.’" Students learned about the Apprenticeship 321 Program at Gaston College. The program helps high school graduates receive job-specific training through an apprenticeship at a local manufacturer and classes at the college. About nine Gaston-area businesses are currently participating.

Students also broke out into several sessions to learn how to sell themselves to employers and how to enter a pathway that will lead them to their desired career. Royalty says her biggest takeaway is to be polite and take an interest in what employers have to say.

They want you, they want education, they want people who actually care," she said. "It’s good to be that person." Six students who attended the career expo will be selected later to receive a $1,000 scholarship to enter a manufacturing career pathway at Gaston College.

Gazette staff

Posted Oct. 2, 2022 at 6:59 PM


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