Collaborative Community Program Puts Stokes Residents To Work

an electrical lineman on a telephone pole

Forsyth Tech in Stokes County received a $90,000 Rural Community Mobilization Grant through the NC Department of Commerce this past summer to provide short-term training to the unemployed and underemployed in Stokes County. The program started in September and runs through April 2015.

“Stokes Works” supports the economic and workforce development of Stokes County by connecting qualified Stokes County residents to full-time employment and new careers by offering training for in-demand jobs within the county. Participants can receive training in facility maintenance, welding, bank telling, electronic health records, electric linemen, phlebotomy, certified nursing assistant, medical office skills and office administration.

The grant pays for participants’ tuition, books and other supplies, as well as transportation costs, such as gas cards. The college hopes the program will help put up to 140 people back to work by April 2015.

“Stokes Works” represents a dynamic community partnership between Forsyth Tech, the Winston-Salem Urban League, Northwest Piedmont Workforce Development Board, Yadkin Valley Economic Development and other local agencies to provide participants with the services they need in order to complete the program and obtain employment. Participants receive support in resume development, interview preparation, connecting with employers and social media.

“This program is designed to help the unemployed and underemployed in Stokes County find meaningful and gainful employment,” says Ann Watts, director of Stokes County Operations and Off-Campus Centers for Forsyth Tech. “Connecting these people to employers who need skilled workers is a win-win for the program participants as well as the economic prosperity of employers in Stokes and surrounding counties.”