It’s no surprise the COVID pandemic has caused a major upheaval in the world of work. Business closures, unprecedented levels of lay-offs, furloughs, and unemployment claims have all created financial strain and uncertainty for many local residents.

Submitted by Goodwill.


In a small community like ours, chances are you know someone who has struggled. Maybe you have struggled yourself. Even those who remained employed faced a host of new challenges like new safety protocols, learning new technology, working from home, and sharing space with school-aged children who were learning remotely. Especially in the early months, it certainly felt like a crisis. In my own personal navigation of that uncertainty I kept coming back to the modern proverb – “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste.”

For workers, there is a silver lining to the pandemic: Now is the time to enroll in short-term training to jumpstart the next phase of your career.
Money for training, up-skilling, and career development comes from federal, state, and local grant sources. Thanks to the pandemic, fewer people than normal came to NCWorks and Goodwill during spring and summer of last year. Because of that drop in program participants, we saw a surplus of
funding available in the fall and winter months of 2020. Think of it like having a Christmas present that was lost in shipping finally arriving at Halloween. To add to that, the COVID stimulus relief packages included funds for several federal and state programs aimed at helping people get back to work.

What this means for us in the High Country is that there are many well-funded programs available for people who were negatively impacted by the pandemic to receive low- to no-cost training to increase their skills and employability just in time for what may be a massive upswing in the number of job seekers.

As businesses reopen and the job market becomes competitive again, it is even more important to set yourself apart from the competition. NCWorks and Goodwill are here to help you look into how training programs might benefit you. Here are a few examples:
- Maybe you are a single parent and had to leave your last job to assist your kids with virtual learning at home – you may qualify to learn a new skill or trade to give you the upper hand in reentering the workforce.
- Perhaps you have a graduating high school student who wants to consider career opportunities before choosing an educational path – with a paid work experience program, they can explore careers and make a well-informed decision on their future education.
- Have you always wanted to learn a new skill such as welding, electrical, or HVAC? Maybe you’ve thought about earning a commercial driver’s license, or just brushing up your computer skills.

There are many short-term programs for these and other skills.

So many training opportunities exist, and right now funding is available to help the workforce spring back from this pandemic. From multi-week focused trainings offered in conjunction with local community colleges, to simple online hour-long certification courses to make your resume stand out, we are your one-stop center to help you return to work.

Scott Hinkson – Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina
April 19, 2021

Employers are hiring! The local job market is in desperate need of qualified applicants, and many businesses are offering higher starting wages than before the pandemic. Now is the perfect time to reach out to a career advisor, get enrolled in the perfect training program for your unique situation, and make steps towards putting the challenges and worry of the pandemic in the rear-view mirror. We are here to help.
Learn more at ncworks.gov or by calling 828-265-5385