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[Op Ed] Thinking big on workforce development

from North State Journal

We are fortunate in North Carolina to have an abundance of resources and blessings, which have brought accolades over the last few years.  

Of these accolades, one stood out to me: CNBC rated North Carolina number one in business in the country two years in a row. Among the metrics they measure to reach this conclusion, North Carolina scores well in the category that rates the strength of our workforce, but when you talk to North Carolina business owners, that is not matching the reality on the ground. They say retention of employees, and especially new hires, is tough.  

They say you can’t find people to work. And so, I want to use this accolade as a way to identify the disconnect and pursue solutions that will fix this problem: and one way to do that is to match our workforce development plans to each local economy. 

There has been a lot of focus on technical education recently across the country, and rightfully so ― these are good paying, high-quality jobs. However, it cannot be our only focus. To get the recipe for success right, we must think bigger, because we have workforce developments needs for everything from bricklayers to chemists.  

The North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) made progress in this area, which is part of what likely led to our strength in CNBC’s metric. We have some innovative programs that have worked to address our workforce development, but we also have room for improvement. For example, a shining example is an apprenticeship program that creates a pipeline to connect workers with businesses. Initially, this program was limited to 16-to-24-year-olds, but we have found that an even better demographic to target would be people in their 30s, who are interested in acquiring skills that will lead to higher-paying jobs. 

In another big win for workforce development, we created a nursing pipeline in conjunction with a local hospital. In collaboration with the local community college, they work with high schools and now even middle schools to show students the possibilities in the nursing field and begin to train them early, so they are ready to enter the workforce upon graduation. This “grow your own” has had enormous success keeping hospital workers in places where we need them the most — our rural areas. Replicating and expanding this program to other rural areas of the state could be a game-changer, as we have staffing challenges at rural hospitals and an aging population in those areas. 

But we also have challenges. I continue to hear from businesses that they have issues connecting the right workforce to highly specialized fields, especially in manufacturing. Manufacturing processes have changed through the decades, and these are often highly-skilled, technologically advanced positions. In some cases, a business may only need four or five people trained on a new process — not enough to justify creating a program at a community college or technical school, but these are high-quality jobs that we need to ensure we can fill. In these cases, a grant program that could be used to train workers on their specific process and technology could help fill this gap. 

Our corner of North Carolina contributes much to the agriculture sector in our region, but we have a shortage of workers for these jobs. I would create more agricultural programming and pipelines, like we’ve had success with in other sectors, to incentivize workers to remain in our rural areas and contribute to the agricultural industry.  

We know that statistically, there is a segment of the population that is not fully engaged in the workforce at all, and that is a problem. We need to do a better job of showcasing what jobs North Carolina has to offer — in all parts of our state, and in all sectors. In any program we consider, we should ask ourselves the most important question: “Are we connecting the workforce with what is in demand in the local economy?” We can make that match, and tackle that challenge. North Carolina’s best days are still ahead, and I want to be part of that economic success story.   

Jeffrey Elmore represents District 94 in the North Carolina House of Representatives.  

Jeffrey Elmore launches campaign for North Carolina Lieutenant Governor

“A conservative who gets things done”

NORTH WILKESBORO – State Representative Jeffrey Elmore (R-North Wilkesboro) today announced the launch of his campaign for North Carolina Lieutenant Governor. Elmore, a staunch conservative Republican, will be seeking his party’s nomination on March 5, 2024.

“North Carolina deserves a strong conservative voice in the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and I have a proven track record of being a conservative who can get things done,” said Elmore. “I was born and raised in Wilkes County, and my family has deep roots in North Carolina. I understand the needs of North Carolinians and will be a principled voice in Raleigh as we all work to build a bright future for our state.”

Conservative Republican Jeffrey Elmore grew up in Wilkes County, and was first elected as a Commissioner in the Town of North Wilkesboro in 2007. He is a distinguished North Carolina Teaching Fellow and an alumnus of Appalachian State University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Upon graduation, he started working in the classroom and is currently in his twenty-third year as a dedicated teacher in Wilkes County Schools.

Elmore is committed to protecting life and upholding our Second Amendment freedoms. As Lieutenant Governor, Elmore will be a fierce advocate for fiscal responsibility, working to lower taxes and cut wasteful spending, allowing hardworking North Carolinians to keep more of their hard-earned money.

A keen advocate for education, Elmore held the presidency of Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC). His commitment to moving North Carolina forward is echoed in his service on the board of the Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission (BROC), an organization that supervises the Head Start program and supports underprivileged citizens in Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties.

“Growing our economy, ensuring safer communities, strengthening our public schools, and upholding our traditional values will be priorities for me as Lieutenant Governor. When we remember our roots, remain true to our convictions, and serve with integrity, we can accomplish great things for all North Carolinians. You have my word that will always be my focus. I am excited to travel the state, meet with voters, and hear what is on their mind and how we can make the future of North Carolina bright,” said Elmore.

Jeffrey and his wife, Laura, live in North Wilkesboro with their children. For more information, please visit www.ElmoreForNC.com.

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North Carolina Republican Rep. Jeffrey Elmore to run for lieutenant governor

from Fox News

Rep. Elmore has guided legislation on public education and spending in NC

North Carolina state Rep. Jeffrey Elmore has added his name to the growing list of candidates for lieutenant governor in 2024.

Elmore, a Wilkes County Republican who has guided public education legislation and spending during his time in the General Assembly, announced his bid at a recent county GOP meeting, news outlets reported.

Elmore reiterated his plans last week in a video in which he said a more formal campaign kickoff would occur in the next couple of weeks.

A teacher in the Wilkes County Schools, Elmore was first elected to the House in 2012 after serving on the North Wilkesboro town board. Elmore has often been the point person on issues addressing K-12 teacher pay.

“I’m very excited. I feel with my background in education, I can help in this role moving forward,” Elmore told The Wilkes Record.

Current GOP Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson announced last month he was running for governor next year.

Other announced candidates for lieutenant governor include Democrats like Sen. Rachel Hunt of Charlotte — daughter of former Gov. Jim Hunt — and ex-Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey. Republicans include Hal Weatherman, a former aide to previous Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Primaries will be held in March.

The lieutenant governor, who runs separately from the governor on the ballot, presides over state Senate debate, voting only during ties. The lieutenant governor sits on a few governing boards, including the State Board of Education and the State Board of Community Colleges.