GREENSBORO, N.C. – Governor Bev Perdue today announced the Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Workforce Development that were awarded in Greensboro today. A furniture company, tire manufacturer, trailblazing apprenticeship program, and four North Carolinians are being recognized for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions in helping North Carolina achieve its workforce development goals.

“Our hard-working and talented citizens are the capstone of our economic development efforts and they are helping us on the road to economic recovery,” said Governor Perdue. “I congratulate these award recipients for their determination, innovation and commitment to helping make our employees the nation’s best.”

The N.C. Commission on Workforce Development recognized these outstanding individuals and businesses as part of the 2012 Workforce Development Partnership Conference in Greensboro.

Award recipients are as follows:

Apprenticeship 2000, Stanley: Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Innovative Partnership. Apprenticeship 2000 is a model partnership developed by Blum Inc. in 1995 that demonstrates a working collaboration among employers, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, and the NC Department of Labor. The mission of Apprenticeship 2000 is to train employees guaranteed to meet the skills needed by the companies. The goal is to close the skilled labor gap and reduce the shortage of skilled technicians. Joining Blum Inc. in the mid 1990’s was Max Daetwyler Corporation (Huntersville, NC), Sarstedt Group (Newton, NC), Ameritech Die and Mold (Mooresville, NC), and Timken Bearings (Lincolnton, NC). In 1996 the first apprentices were hired and slated for graduation in the year 2000, thus the name “Apprenticeship 2000”. Pfaff Molds joined the partnership in 2008, with Siemens Energy and Chiron USA joining in 2011-2012. At Blum Inc., the first four apprentices are still employed and enjoying the benefits of their hard work.

Stacie Allen, Burnsville: Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Outstanding Adult Participant. Laid off in June 2009 from her job in an exceptional children’s classroom due to public school budget cuts, Stacie Allen overcame many obstacles to obtain training and find work to support her family. With help from the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), she enrolled in the Registered Nursing program at Mayland Community College, intent on choosing a career path paying more than her past teaching assistant job and improving the quality of life for her three young children. Despite the heavy load on her shoulders, Stacie excelled in her schoolwork. Stacie earned high marks, completed her Associate Degree in Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing in May 2012 and started work less than two weeks later with Brookside Rehabilitation and Care in Burnsville. Stacie passed the NC state exam for RNs on June 4, 2012 and is currently employed with the Blue Ridge Medical Center.

Drakko Allison, Gastonia: Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Outstanding Youth Participant. After struggling with his grades, Drakko joined the Gaston County YouthWorks. Working with a tutor, he improved in his studies and obtained his diploma from Forest View High School in June 2010. Drakko had a paid co-op in summer 2012 with Duke Energy. He was one of only nine students selected by Duke Energy for this special summer program. He is on track to complete his degree in the rigorous Nuclear Engineering Technology program in spring 2013.

Brandon Asay, Clayton: Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Outstanding Youth Participant. Brandon enrolled in the “YES I CAN” (YIC) program hosted by Johnston County Industries (JCI) in 2011to pursue his GED. Brandon began ABE/GED classes as part of the YIC program and worked tirelessly towards completing his GED. It soon became evident that Brandon not only desired to succeed in the classroom, but in the workplace as well. While enrolled in GED classes Brandon also participated in a Summer Youth Employment Program at Caterpillar, Inc. He obtained his GED in October 2011. Caterpillar, Inc. commented that Brandon had mastered his job so well that he exceeded productivity levels, and was now leading and motivating his own team of workers.

Deborah Banguis, Winston-Salem: Wayne Daves Award for Outstanding Achievement in Workforce Development. Deborah is an Adult/Dislocated Worker Case Manager with Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, Inc. since July 2010. Customers are captivated by her sincere, pleasant, and respectful demeanor. She consistently creates a positive image for the JobLink and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs. Along with maintaining a caseload, Deborah conducts WIA orientations, works extensively with training providers, researches and familiarizes herself with community resources that participants may potentially need, assists with job interview preparations, and strives to improve her own skills. She will be earning her Global Career Development Facilitator Credential this year.

Lincolnton Furniture Company, Lincolnton: Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Outstanding Employer. Lincolnton Furniture is part of a small but growing trend called “reshoring” or bringing jobs back to America. The company is a specialty furniture maker that has re-started operations at a once vacant plant. Bruce Cochrane, the current owner and CEO, comes from a family that manufactured furniture in North Carolina. The family business was sold and the new owners moved manufacturing to China. Bruce worked as a consultant in Asia in the furniture industry for several years and decided the time was right to start his own furniture company back in the United States, in North Carolina, in the same plant. Lincolnton Furniture opened its doors in December 2011 with a workforce of 60 workers and expects to expand to 130 workers by the end of 2012.

Michelin NA-US11, Norwood: Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Outstanding Employer. Michelin North America, located in Norwood, NC, manufactures bias ply and radial aircraft tires. They also produce Banded At Zero (BAZ), a component found in passenger and light truck tires exported to other Michelin facilities in the US and Canada. They are the only Michelin Bias Aircraft Tire and Retread Plant in North America. Michelin provides competitive compensation and an impressive benefits package which includes tuition reimbursement for their employees. Michelin is active in the workforce development system in Stanly County. Michelin has been working with Stanly Community College (SCC) to provide training through their SCC’s Customized Training Program. They also require all new hires to complete the Career Readiness Certification (CRC), and they use the Division of Workforce Solutions for all of their hiring needs.

Source: North Carolina Department of Commerce

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