May 2013

MAY 2013

Almost weekly, there are new opportunities for communities seeking to bolster jobs and the local community by increasing their manufacturing base. For example, the Federal Economic Development Administration is currently awarding grants to communities that demonstrate best practices in attracting manufacturing through workforce training. There are two phases of the grant in 2013 and 2014, with the 2013 grant deadline on June 13, 2013. Five or six communities in 2013 will be selected as pilots, with up to $25 million in funding from the EDA. Learn more here

Jeremy Silver

Now meet Jeremy Silver, a 2013 graduate of Isothermal Community College.  IEI met Jeremy during a recent community forum on manufacturing in Rutherford County. He knew all the right classes to take for a career in manufacturing – machining, information technology, and welding – but Jeremy thought he had to move from his hometown to find job opportunities. He does not.

“I’m not an expert in advanced manufacturing,” Jeremy told us, “But I’m learning everyday that rural areas like Rutherford County have a great chance to increase employment and help their economy by adapting to this mindset [of growing the local manufacturing base].”


Jeremy Silver is exactly the kind of person that IEI, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, North Carolina Community College System and North Carolina Cooperative Extension are reaching in community forums on manufacturing across the state.

These Forums are bringing together job seekers like Jeremy, local manufacturers, and educators to determine how we better ensure that we are training our students to have the necessary skill sets for a new generation of manufacturing jobs.

Rutherford, Stanly, and Lincoln Counties kicked off the manufacturing community forums earlier this month. Their county-level conversations on aligning education and manufacturing have identified the need for more apprenticeships, strengthening local industry-education partnerships, and rebranding local manufacturing.


“It was businesses and communities that started the community college, and businesses were connected with community colleges on a personal level,” Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President of Catawba Valley Community College, told the Hickory Record. “For some reason, they’ve gotten away from that relationship.”

Strengthening that relationship between educators – at all levels – and companies is key to bolstering local manufacturing and, in turn, increasing the wealth of local communities. I hope you plan to join this important effort. Click here to find when your county has planned its manufacturing community forum. We keep adding counties to the list as dates and venues are confirmed.  If you do not see your county, please send me an email and I will let you know once your community forum is scheduled.

Let’s make manufacturing work for North Carolina.








North Carolina ranks 45 out of the 50 states in the number of dentists per capita, and access to care is even more limited in rural areas. Research increasingly links oral health to overall health. It has been noted that initial signs of diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, immune disorders, hormone imbalances and drug issues show up in the gums, teeth and tongue—often before a patient knows anything is wrong.

IEI is partnering with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Bull City Forward to present the Oral Health Initiative, a competition to improve oral health in North Carolina.


We are seeking solutions that target three areas:

  • Increasing Access to Sealants – Ideas or methods to increase access to dental sealants for children at risk of dental disease.
  • Reducing Dental ER Visits – Ideas or methods to reduce dental ER visits. For many low-income children, emergency rooms are the first and last resort because their families struggle to find a dentist who either practices in their area or accepts Medicaid patients.
  • Improving Preschool Oral Health Education – Ideas or methods to improve preschool education for better oral health and the importance of oral health to overall health.

Winners will receive $20,000 to implement their program. Click here for more information or to enter the competition.



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