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RCCC sharing experiences in retraining displaced workers

Jeanie Moore, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s vice president of continuing education programs, will share the college’s experiences and what it has learned from assisting and retraining displaced workers with a U.S. House panel in Washington.
The panel is being held by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. The subcommittee is chaired by U.S. Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina.
The hearing, titled “American Decline or Renewal? Part 2 ń The Past and Future of Skilled Work,” will focus on the impact of job losses to other nations on Americans and their communities, explore successful models of community redevelopment and examine the effectiveness of current programs that serve displaced workers.
On June 13, Moore met with representatives of the U.S. Department of Labor to discuss RCCC’s successful work in assisting former Pillowtex employees. Shortly after the Kannapolis Pillowtex plant closed in 2003, leaving approximately 2,000 workers unemployed, RCCC secured a $2.5 million National Emergency Grant (NEG) to provide education and job-training programs for the displaced workers.
RCCC’s effective use of the grant and its work to retrain former Pillowtex workers earned the college a prestigious Outstanding Workforce Development Provider Award from the Department of Labor (USDOL) in 2005.
Now the USDOL is compiling a record of the best practices that have emerged out of NEG funding. Moore, David Hollars of the Centralina Workforce Development board, and Tim Beam and Linda Burton, of the regional JobLink Career Centers, met with the USDOL representatives at RCCC’s South Campus to discuss the Pillowtex experience and which efforts worked best.
“The size of the Pillowtex closing, the level of cooperation between multiple institutions and agencies and the overall effectiveness of our combined efforts, made the Pillowtex experience unique in the view of the Department of Labor,” Moore explained. “As a group, we were delighted and proud to discuss how the NEG funding enabled us to serve citizens in Cabarrus and Rowan counties.”
One outgrowth of RCCC’s work with former Pillowtex employers is the college’s creation of the R3 Center. Located in Kannapolis, the R3 Center is a career development center established by RCCC to assist workers who are unemployed or under-employed.
The center’s mission is built on three Rs ó a refocus on individual skills and interests, retraining and further education, and partnering with other workforce development agencies to secure career-oriented re-employment.
The R3 Center helps adult workers assess and profile their skills, aptitudes, training and academic credentials, and future career interests to develop a plan for career growth.
The center also provides Work Keys® assessment and instruction. Completion of this program will give clients Career Readiness Certification, a nationally recognized credential, validating preparedness for specific career fields. All R3 Center services are offered free of charge.
The R3 Center partners with other workforce development agencies, including the Centralina Workforce Development Board, JobLink Career Centers of Cabarrus and Rowan counties, N.C. Employment Security Commission and other area community colleges.
“The R3 Center bridges the gap many citizens in Rowan and Cabarrus counties have felt as they attempt to restart or redirect their careers,” Moore explained. “In addition to providing the job-training and education programs needed by displaced and under-employed workers, RCCC, through the R3 Center, is helping local residents better understand today’s job market and become more sophisticated in their job-searching skills.”
For more information about the R3 Center and its services and programs, call 704-216-7201, or visit the center’s Web site at http://www.rowancabarrus.edu/r3center/.

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