Catawba County is home to an educated and skilled workforce of 250,000.

 

We realize that as unemployment rates drop across the country, finding and retaining qualified workers becomes more difficult.  Like everywhere else, this is a challenge faced by existing companies and companies who may be considering a new or expanded location in Catawba County.  Aside from the statistics, the most common questions we are asked pertaining to workforce are:

  • Where will our workforce come from?
  • How will we recruit our workforce? 
  • Who can we turn to for support? 

Catawba County has a wealth of excellent organizations that support workforce recruitment and training and we have created a guide to help companies better understand the assistance that is offered throughout Catawba County.  Continue scrolling to see how Catawba County is meeting the challenge, or download the Catawba County Workforce Brochure

Bolstered by a strong work ethic, Catawba County's workforce has proven to be adaptable to the requirements of our most demanding companies. The labor force remains non-union—in fact North Carolina’s unionization rate is the lowest in the nation—and consists of dedicated employees with direct connections to the region’s proud history of manufacturing.

Highlights of the Catawba County Laborshed include:

  • Labor force of almost 400,000 people within 45 minute drive time
  • Roughly 40,000 underemployed workers
  • A willingness to commute more than 20 miles to work
  • Nearly 12,000 net migration of workers into Catawba County each day

Workforce Statistics

Current Unadjusted Unemployment Rates - May, 2018 
(released 6/27/18)
  Catawba County Hky-Len-Morg MSA North Carolina
Labor Force 79,444 175,850 5,019,980
Employed 76,814 170,033 4,835,398
Unemployed 2,630 5,817 184,582
Rate 3.3% 3.3% 3.7%

Source: NC Division of Employment Security


Catawba County Workforce

Meeting the Challenge
A manufacturer's guide to hiring & training resources in Catawba County, NC

Where will our workforce come from?

 Management/Engineers


4-year liberal arts university

Hickory, NC
Enrollment:  2,005
www.lr.edu

Accounting
Business Administration
Computer Science
Information Technology
International Business
Management
Marketing
MBA

lr.joinhandshake.com
LRU’s free online jobs board for recruiters to connect with LRU talent (students and alumni)


4-year public university

Hickory, NC
Seated Enrollment:  105
Online Enrollment: 842
(includes Catawba and surrounding counties)
www.distancestudents.
appstate.edu/de-sites/
appalachian-center-hickory

Communication
Management
MBA


NC Center for

Engineering Technologies
Hickory, NC
www.nccet.appstate.edu

Engineering Technology
Industrial Distribution &
     Logistics

Information & Computer
     Technology

Engineering
Electrical Engineering Technology
Master of Science
     Engineering

     Management (MSEM)

Mid-skill Positions


Technical/Community College

Hickory, NC
Industrial/Manufacturing Programs
Continuing Education Enrollment:  495
Curriculum Enrollment:  489
www.cvcc.edu

Engineering
Accounting
Computer Engineering
Marketing
Electrical Systems
Business Admin.\
Industrial Systems
Information Tech.
Mechanical Engineering
Mechatronics Engineering
Computer Integrated Machining


German-style apprenticeship

Hickory, NC
Apprenticeship program
that begins in high school
with dual enrollment in
CVCC courses

41 apprentices enrolled
as of March 2018

http://www.cvcc.edu/CCE/
Workforce_Development
/Industrial/
Apprenticeship_Catawba_
Information.cfm

Mechanical Maintenance
Electrical Maintenance
Tool & Die
Mechatronics
CNC Machinist


Local high schools Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs

Across Catawba County
3,029 students
received
industry-recognized
credentials in 2016-2017
 

Welding Technology
Engineering
Engineering Technology
Digital Electronics
Computer Integrated Machining
Aerospace
Biotechnical Engineering

Machine Operator/Production Positions


One Stop Workforce System

Conover, NC
# of workers registered with NCWorks who are
actively seeking
employment in the MSA
as of July 2018
www.ncworks.gov

Production Workers:  154
First-Line Supervisors:  121
Team Assemblers:  155
Maintenance and Repair Workers:  114
Machine Feeder and Offbearers:  110
Industrial Machinery Mechanics  31 


Technical/Community College

Hickory, NC
www.cvcc.edu

Focus on intensive skills development, take those with little to no skills and give them skills for employment in manufacturing operator training

More individuals trained in pure manufacturing than any other community college in NC

Customized Industry Training Program


Technical/Community
College Academy

Hickory, NC
http://www.cvcc.edu/CCE/
Workforce_Development/
Industrial/
Manufacturing-Academy.cfm

The Manufacturing Academy is an industry-driven, 10-week certification course developed by 25 partner companies from Catawba County, provided by CVCC, designed to prepare students for manufacturing positions currently in high demand by employers by introducing students to the basic concepts of manufacturing and careers with local companies.

Where will our workforce come from?

Short Term: 0-3 Months

One-Stop Workforce System supporting employment recruitment & retention at no cost

Provides assistance in developing job descriptions

Provides assistance posting job openings on state site, www.ncworks.gov (this system also spiders other job boards to present a full portfolio of open jobs)

www.ncworks.gov offers Virtual Recruitment options, as well as state and local labor market intelligence

Provides resume and application assistance to ensure quality pre-employment screenings

Conducts recruiting events:

  • Arranges recruitment events at the company location or weekly at the NCWorks facility
  • Develops recruitment flyers for mass distribution via
    www.westernpiedmontworks.org 
    and social media outlets: Facebook,

    Twitter and Instagram
  • Staff the recruitment events
  • Coordinate interviews during the recruitment events
  • On-the-job training reimbursement; Educational Training Scholarships; Incumbent Worker Grants for Training


http://www.cvcc.edu/CCE/
Workforce_Development/
Industrial/Manufacturing-Academy.cfm

The Manufacturing Academy is an industry-driven, 10-week certification course developed by 25 partner companies from Catawba County, provided by CVCC designed to prepare students for manufacturing positions currently in high demand by employers by introducing students to the basic concepts of manufacturing and careers with local companies.

Program Modules include:

  • Manufacturing Overview (42 hours)
  • Problem Solving (9 hours)
  • Math and Measurements (24 hours)
  • Teamwork and Communication (9 hours)
  • Safety (12 hours)
  • Introduction to Lean/Continuous Improvement/TQM/Six Sigma Overview and ISO Certifications (9 hours)

 


http://www.cvcc.edu/CCE/Workforce_Development/index.cfm

Offers in-depth customizable pre-employment screening assessment & training including:

  • Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) mapping, assessment and matching
  • Behavioral assessments
  • Skills assessment (including classroom instruction)

Company may access students for recruitment in on-going classes:

  • Mechanical Engineering Technology
  • Industrial Systems Technology
  • Mechatronics Engineering Technology
  • Electronic Engineering Technology
  • Computer Integrated Machining Technology
  • Welding

 

Provides customized training directed by the company including:

  • Safety, OSHA training, Lean, ISO, Six Sigma
  • Training at the company on company equipment
  • Training at the college on the following equipment:
  • Mechatronics- Advanced Manufacturing Lab (Corporate Development Center)
    • Fanuc LR Mate 200iC robot
    • ABB IRB 120 robot
    • Siemens PLC Lab
    • Festo MPS (Modular Production System) Mechatronics Assembly System
    • Festo PA (Process Automation) Compact Work Station
  • Mechatronics (Curriculum Lab)
    • Arburg Injection Molding Machine
    • Allen Bradley PLC Lab
    • Various mechanical, motor controls, hydraulic and pneumatic trainers
  • Metallurgy Lab
    • Scanning Electron Microscope
    • Instron Tensile Tester
    • Zeiss O-Inspect 543 Coordinate and Optical Measuring Machine
  • Computer Integrated Machining
    • Mazak 3-Axis and 5-Axis CNC Mills
    • Haas 3-Axis CNC Turning Stations and Mills 
  Medium Term: 6-12 months


www.welcome-hky-metro.org

"Welcome Home, Hickory Metro" is a local public-private partnership formed to proactively recruit from the 15,000 skilled veterans with in-demand technical and soft skills transitioning out of North Carolina's military installations each year. The program matches highly skilled veterans with great jobs at Catawba County companies.

The bi-annual event brings 100+ veterans and their families to the Hickory Metro for a weekend of events that blend pre-matched job interviews with local companies with a series of community tours and fun excursions that highlight Catawba County’s ideal quality of life for veterans and their families.


Attracting, retaining and developing talent is the top issue for the Catawba County business community. Through this conference, leaders in business and human resources come together to share best practices and spotlight recruitment and retention strategies that are “outside of the box.”


Talent Jam is the perfect combo of job fair, connection event and speed matchmaking in the Hickory Metro area. It’s a modern take on the classic job fair, where both companies and local job seekers can present 
one-minute pitches of their professional needs or talents followed by casual networking, while enjoying great local food and drink.

Long Term: 1-4 years

http://www.cvcc.edu/CCE/Workforce_
Development/Industrial/Apprenticeship_
Catawba_Information.cfm

1 to 4 year program combining formal education at CVCC and on-the-job training with sponsor employers

Apprenticeship in skilled trades like:

  • Mechanical maintenance
  • Electrical maintenance
  • Tool & die
  • Mechatronics
  • CNC machinist
  • Machine Operator

High school students are dual enrolled at CVCC in advanced manufacturing courses. 

If a student is employed by a company prior to graduation, the cost for remaining courses may be funded by NC. 

Catawba County Schools:
www.k12careerconnection.com

Hickory Public Schools:
www.hickoryschools.net/
departments
/
curriculum_and_instruction/
career_technical_education

Newton-Conover Schools:
nhs.newton-conover.org/apps/
pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=
347404&
type=d&pREC_ID=756239


www.k-64learning.com

K-64 is a unique community-wide partnership between public K-12 schools, colleges, workforce development and business to provide a skilled workforce pipeline for our businesses by aligning courses of study and training with workforce needs.

K-64 will identify, facilitate and streamline programs and initiatives that are in-place and have been proven to be best practices in improving education as it relates workforce development. If a specific educational or employer training need is not being met, K-64 will develop new programs and partnerships to insure a future-ready workforce. 

 Catawba County's Commitment to Manufacturing

http://www.cvcc.edu/
Business_Industry_Technology/
Industrial_Programs/Workforce-Solutions-Complex.cfm

Catawba County is a community committed to the future of manufacturing and ensuring our manufacturers have a workforce pipeline for the future.  This is evident by the county’s investment in a new state-of-the-art Workforce Solutions Complex on the campus of CVCC.  A culmination of many years of planning and collaboration with the three public school systems, this $23 million dollar, 86,000 square foot facility will house technology and engineering programs for junior and senior high school students from all schools in Catawba County.  Business-driven programs will include:  Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Computer Integrated Machining, Electronics Engineering Technology, Welding, Mechanical Engineering Technology, Mechatronics, and Robotics.

Who can we turn to for support?

Manufacturing Solutions Center NC Center for Engineering Technologies

www.manufacturingsolutionscenter.org

Bringing manufacturing into the NEW ERA of changing technologies, global marketing and production innovations, the mission of the Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) is to help US manufacturers increase sales, improve quality & efficiency, & create or retain jobs.

 This is accomplished by:

  • Enhancing and improving products through research and development
  • Assisting in creating prototypes for new, innovative offerings
  • Analyzing new materials to enhance structure and programs
  • Testing products for reliable content and quality
  • Training personnel for lean manufacturing processes and supply chain efficiencies
  • Providing a forum for rollout of new 21st century technologies
  • Providing hands-on guidance for international marketing, sales and military procurement
  • Providing photo-realistic renderings and visualizations
  • Creating 3D rapid prototypes in a variety of materials
  • Industry advocacy

 Services include, testing services, training, product development, marketing, engineering, inventors & entrepreneurs

nccet.appstate.edu

The North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies provides facilities for applied research in engineering related fields and serves as a conduit to baccalaureate education delivered by the University of North Carolina system schools. Conceived as a community-supported higher education effort in technical and engineering disciplines, this Center was established through a collaboration of business, government and higher education.

Labs include:

  • Rapid Product Realization Laboratory
  • Engineering Design Laboratory
  • Metrology & Reverse Engineering Laboratory
  • Distance Educaton Lab
  • Polymers Lab
  • Patternmaking Laboratory

Degree programs include:

  • Building Sciences (Appalachian State University)
  • Engineering Technology (Western Carolina University)
  • Industrial Technology (East Carolina University)
  • Electrical Engineering Technology (UNC-Charlotte)
  • Fire Safety Engineering Technology (UNC-Charlotte)
  • Engineering Management (UNC-Charlotte) 
Catawba County EDC

The Catawba County EDC serves as a clearinghouse for business information to existing industries and can usually provide information or assistance to help you minimize time spent in solving any business problem you may encounter.  For assistance, please contact Nathan Huret, Director of Existing Industries at 828-267-1564 or nhuret@catawbacountync.gov

Human Resource Associations


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For The Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management.  Catawba Valley SHRM is an  affiliate of the Society for Human Resource Management.  Catawba Valley SHRM is the local starting point for networking, information, professional development, and the continued support of excellence in Human Resources. Learn more at https://catawbavalley.shrm.org


The goal of the Piedmont Human Resource Association (PHRA) is to provide a means of networking and educational tools for HR leaders in the Catawba Valley region. The PHRA has endeavored to develop and offer training and seminars to meet the continually evolving organizational and professional needs of the membership. PHRA meets monthly, featuring a guest speaker focusing on cutting-edge issues in areas such as human resources, benefits and compensation, safety, labor and employment law, as well as many other industry-related topics. Learn more at www.piedmonthra.com.