Economic, Community, and Workforce Development

In the Spring of 2016, the Board of Directors of the Commission directed the merger of the Workforce Development Program and Economic and Community Development Program.  Also included in this will be a name change from WIOA and Community Development to Economic, Community and Workforce Development.

The staff of the two divisions now work closely together to advance the needs of their original programs as well as the overall goals of Economic, Community and Workforce Development across Region C.  In this way, we can best meet the needs of our membership.  We are well situated to carry out the Mission of the Commission to create a collaborative that serves as a regional brokerage of assets and talent development, which in turn improves the individual, household, and business prosperity of our region and local communities.

Isothermal Planning & Development Commission | Representing Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties in North Carolina


Dogwood Leverage Fund and COVID-19 Grants

Click here to view a list of COVID-focused funding opportunities that may be a fit for your organization. We encourage you to look through the list and search for grant options that would potentially align with the COVID-related work you’re doing now, your mission, and the Dogwood Leverage Fund. 

Contact the Dogwood Leverage Fund at leveragefund@dht.org.


Region C Workforce Development Board Labor Market Overview

Please click on the image above to see a higher resolution image

The Region C Workforce Development Board is pleased to share the latest regional labor market data with the public. While these data trends are disappointing, it is critical to maintain and share this information in order to best understand and respond to the needs of the region particularly during the COVID-19 Pandemic. To learn more about the region’s labor market data, please click here.


The Appalachian Region: A Data Overview from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey

This study examines state- and county-level data for the 13 Appalachian states from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey (ACS) and from U.S. Census Bureau population estimates on topics including population, age, race and ethnicity, housing occupancy and tenure, education, labor force, employment and unemployment, income and poverty, health insurance coverage, disability status, migration patterns, and veteran status.

To view the entire study, go to 2014-2018 American Community Survey.

Evaluation of the ARC’s Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Projects: FY 2009–FY 2016

A new analysis of ARC’s drinking water and wastewater investments has provided some exciting insights. From 2009 to 2016, $115+ million was invested in 379 water-related projects impacting 221 counties. Teams from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Environmental Finance Center and Virginia Tech found that investments successfully targeted the region’s most economically distressed areas, benefited 17,400 businesses and created nearly 11,700 jobs. As Appalachia deals with both economic transition and COVID-19, these types of insights help us better help communities recover, revitalize and thrive. Click here to learn more.

McDowell County purchased the Universal Building in 2012. It was formerly home to a furniture plant that had shut down over a decade before and was being used as a warehouse. This project provided public water to the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center, which is an extension of McDowell Technical Community College (MTCC), to be used as an industrial skills training center.

Region C Workforce Development Board Local Area Plan Available for Public Review

Region C Workforce Development Board Local Area Plan

The 4-year strategic Local Area Plan for the Region C Workforce Development Consortium’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs and services delivered for Cleveland, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford Counties is available for public review at this link:  https://regionc.org/RegionC-LocalPlan/

Questions or comments should be addressed to Steve Lockett by telephone  (828) 351 2373, or email at slockett@regionc.org


IPDC, Isothermal Community College, McDowell Tech, and Cleveland County Community College Host Apprenticeship Meeting

The Regional Commission and our three partner Community Colleges in the Isothermal Region hosted a luncheon with Maureen Little of the NC Community College System presented to a full house of practitioners and industry on the importance of Apprenticeships in the current and future workforce.  

From Isothermal Community College President Walter Dalton, who hosted the event at the Foundation Center at ICC in Spindale, a wonderful synopsis was sent to all who attended.  It reads as follows:

“I want to thank all who attended the apprenticeship luncheon on Tuesday and I think all there benefited from the presentation of Maureen Little, who is the Vice-President of the North Carolina Community College System and over Workforce Development and the Apprenticeship Program.  Maureen took over the program about three years ago when it was transferred from the Department of Commerce to the Community College System.   Since that time she has made great strides in growing the number of apprentices and qualified apprentice programs across the state.

As we all focus on closing the “skills gap” and meeting the legislative goal of having two million North Carolinians between the ages of 25 and 44 holding a post-secondary, high quality degree or credential by 2030, apprenticeships will be key.  It is a way to get real world experiences from the back door to the front door and also a way the business can observe the talent and judge the students potential for future employment.

One key will be establishing a registered apprenticeship program and there are discussions at the colleges and also at IPDC regarding this.  These apprenticeship programs are not only for manufacturing but also for governmental, medical, and educational entities. 

For those who attended, we hope you will be interested in becoming a registered business, and for those who did not, we hope you will learn more about it and also join in.  For more information, see the attached fact sheet and contacts referenced therein, entitled Apprenticeship Fact Sheet.  Also, you may contact Steve Lockett of the Isothermal Regional Commissions Region C Workforce Board, at slockett@regionc.org.

Thanks to IPDC, McDowell Technical Community College, Cleveland Community College, and Isothermal Community College for their sponsorship of the event.  Hopefully, it will pay dividends in creating a more robust and well trained pipeline for our future workforce.”  


Department Links:

The Isothermal Planning and Development Commission and Mountain BizWorks supported by USDA are collaborating to provide more opportunity to the Isothermal Region’s entrepreneurial community.  Together we aim to work with local business as they start, grow, and thrive in the foothills.

Click here for more information about Mountain BizWork’s Isothermal Project Expansion!

Click here to view the Mountain BizWorks press release describing the grant and project and click here to view the information handout shared at the 11/29 Foothills Launch event.