By Alexandra Forter Sirota
Director, Budget & Tax Center
- The North Carolina Back to Work program is a skills training program designed to provide credential attainment in high-growth industries to people facing long-term unemployment that was funded by the General Assembly with $5 million in one-time money. That funding was subsequently supplemented by $2.5 million in Workforce Investment Act funds through the Commission on Workforce Development.
- This training program was designed to target people who have been unemployed for 26 weeks or more and those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits. In 2011, 46 percent of the state’s unemployed have been out of work for 26 weeks or more.
- Sixteen community colleges applied to be Back to Work sites and met the criteria for acceptance. The criteria included the following: 1) the number of long-term unemployed individuals in the college’s service area, 2) the percentage of long-term unemployed individuals in the college’s service area, 3) the availability of jobs for which the NC Back to Work program could prepare students, and 4) the college’s demonstrated willingness and ability to successfully implement the program.