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
- 17,000 net migration of workers into Catawba County each day
|Current Unadjusted Unemployment Rates - December, 2016|
|Catawba County||Hky-Len-Morg MSA||North Carolina|
Source: NC Division of Employment Security
Workforce Development and Training Programs
Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) lies at the heart of our region’s workforce training efforts. In partnership with the North Carolina Community College System, CVCC leads efforts around the Industrial Training Services program—which provides customized training to eligible new and expanding businesses -- often at little to no cost to the employer.
In addition to the customized training program highlighted above, there are a number of proactive workforce development programs in Catawba County. A few we’d like to highlight include:
- The Manufacturing Academy is an industry-driven training course designed by local manufacturers to prepare students for manufacturing positions that are in high demand by many of the region's largest employers. Students that complete this program will be fast-tracked for open positions with sponsoring companies.
- The Catawba Valley Furniture Academy is an industry-driven training program designed by local furniture manufacturers to prepare students for skilled positions that are in high demand by one of the region's largest employers.
- Located in Hickory, and managed by Appalachian State University, 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.
- Apprenticeship Catawba is an established and formalized apprenticeship program modeled after the German-style apprenticeship system created by local manufacturers and Catawba Valley Community College. Local manufacturers currently helping to guide the curriculum include Aptar, Continental, GKN, Sarstedt, Tenowo Nonwovens, Technibilt and ZF Chassis Components.
- The Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board provides oversight, coordination, guidance, planning, technical assistance and implementation of employment, and training activities. Additionally, the Workforce Development Board promotes and develops partnerships and linkages with human service and resource agencies and institutions to sustain coordinated approaches to developing workforce program design and delivery systems.
- NCWorks Online is a one-stop online resource for job seekers and employers in North Carolina. Job seekers can search for jobs, create resumes, and find education and training. Employers can find candidates, post jobs, and search labor market information.