Archive for July, 2021

7-28-2021 – End of school jobs masks other growth

Posted on: July 28th, 2021 by admin


July 28, 2021



By Guy Lucas

July 28, 2021


Seasonal factors tied to the end of the school year pushed up local unemployment rates across the state in June, but employment in economic sectors other than government went up, a new state report shows.


Caldwell County’s unemployment rate increased by half a percentage point from May, to 5.1%, but a large majority of the state’s 100 counties saw a similar-sized increase, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported. The only county where the unemployment rate did not increase in June was coastal Dare County, where the end of the school year brings a surge in tourism-related business.


Local unemployment rates typically surge after the school year ends due to the number of jobs that run just from the start of the school year to its end.


The rates in neighboring Burke and Catawba counties increased by 0.4 of a percentage point, to 4.6% in Burke and 4.7% in Catawba.


But in its breakdown by economic sector, LEAD showed that jobs either held steady or increased in most parts of the overall Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area’s economy.


Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, said that if you look past the seasonal employment swing, the report is good news.


“This month’s report shows good growth in the labor force with an increase of 612 and good growth in the number of people employed with an increase of 416,” she said. “All in all this remains a decent report with incremental employment growth.”


Manufacturing jobs across the region increased by a half percentage point from May to June, continuing a long-running recovery from the spring 2020 job losses that followed the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing was the sector hardest hit locally by the pandemic.


Leisure and hospitality – the sector that was second-hardest hit locally and hardest hit overall statewide – gained about 1,000 jobs in the Hickory region, an increase of more than 7% from May, the report said.


Because the change in unemployment was similar across the state, the overall Hickory region maintained its standing as having among the lowest unemployment rates in the state. The area’s combined rate for June was 4.7%, tied with Charlotte for fifth-lowest of the state’s 15 metropolitan statistical areas.

7-16-2021 – CCC&TI offers new financial aid opportunities

Posted on: July 16th, 2021 by admin


July 16, 2021



By Carmen Boone

July 15, 2021


Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute will offer more financial aid options than ever before to students registering for classes in the fall.


Due to the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, many students struggled to pay tuition last year and are still trying to come back from financial losses this year, CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch said.


Aside from the regularly offered federal Pell Grant, Golden Leaf Scholarship, and several foundation based scholarships the college offers, two new aid funds have been put in place by order of Gov. Roy Cooper.


The first is called the Longleaf Commitment. It is specifically for 2021 high school graduates looking to continue their education and work toward an associate’s degree, Poarch said.


“It is to pave the way for college with no financial barriers,” he said. “It’s for students that went through the struggles of COVID, and to incentivize them to continue their education. … Students can get up to $5,600 for two years of college.”


The second new aid opportunity is called the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, or GEER. Students can get up to $750 for short-term workforce training programs. These include the electrical lineman program, clinical nurse aid training, “biowork” or pharmaceutical training and massage therapy training, among an array of programs, executive director of community relations Edward Terry said.


“This is the first time that there’s been so much help available,” he said.


In addition to the state funds available, Poarch said the college offers new scholarship opportunities each year.


“It’s a great year to go to college because there are so many financial resources,” he said. “All these resources combined tackle (financial) challenges. … It’s all about increasing access to higher education.”


To apply for scholarships or find out more visit or call 828-726-2200.


Reporter Carmen Boone can be reached at 828-610-8723

7-9-2021 – CCC&TI sees steady increase in enrollment numbers

Posted on: July 9th, 2021 by admin


July 9, 2021



By Carmen Boone

Jul 9, 2021 Updated 11 min ago



Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute continues to see steady increases in enrollment numbers since 2013.


In the past three years, there has been over an 8% increase in enrollment. This summer, there has been more than a 4% increase from last summer, going from 937 students to 978.


The continual increase in summer enrollment is due mainly to the change in start date, moving it to after Memorial Day, that happened a couple years ago, college President Mark Poarch said.


“We were seeing some university students that wanted to take classes with us but were unable to because the start date happened prior to when they arrived home,” he said. “Starting later has been helpful for increasing enrollment that way.”


Another reason is due to Career and College Promise, a program that allows high schools students to take classes at the college for free to work toward their associate’s degree. The number of students in the program went from 158 last summer to 176 this summer.


“We have motivated high schoolers trying to advance their studies,” he said.


Poarch also said that new programs and new technology on campus has drawn new students to the college as well.


“The carryover from this summer gives us great momentum going into the fall,” he said. “The increase in numbers we are seeing now, we hope, will indicate what the fall will look like.”


The main impact of having larger enrollment numbers should be felt in the local workforce, he said.


“More students are getting through programs and going into the workforce,” he said. “Preparing students for jobs after they leave here serves the needs of the community.”

7-1-2021 – Manufacturing shows gradual gains

Posted on: July 1st, 2021 by admin


July 1, 2021



By Guy Lucas

Jun 30, 2021 Updated 11 hrs ago


The Hickory region’s slow recovery of manufacturing jobs continued in May even as overall unemployment numbers here and statewide showed little change.


Caldwell County’s unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage point to 4.6% in May, but the labor force and the number of those who were unemployed barely changed, the N.C. Labor and Economic Analysis Division reported.


That reflected a statewide trend in May — local unemployment rates increased in 77 of the state’s 100 counties, and in most cases the change was the same as in Caldwell — that may simply reflect the seasonal end of jobs tied to the school calendar.


Burke County’s rate increased by 0.2 points to 4.3%, while Catawba County was among the 15 counties where the rate did not change from April.


More important is that the manufacturing sector in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metropolitan statistical area gained about 400 jobs since April’s report.


Manufacturing was the sector hardest hit in this region by the COVID-19-related shutdowns of spring 2020.


Two months ago LEAD reported that the number of people employed in manufacturing in the Hickory region was still more than 2,000 behind the number in early March 2020, and over the past two months manufacturing has gained about 700 jobs, according to the past two unemployment reports.


Many manufacturers in the region are among the numerous employers that have jobs available that they are struggling to fill, however.


The number of advertised job openings across all sectors in the Hickory region grew by more than 200 from April to May to a total of more than 5,000, according to LEAD figures cited by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

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