Golden LEAF initiative to address workforce demands

Published 9:53 am Friday, January 31, 2020

Golden LEAF launched a $5 million strategic initiative on January 16 to help grow the state’s available skilled workforce to meet urgent industry needs.

Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work (GLOW) will help working-age adults with barriers to employment receive the skills needed to obtain high-demand jobs in communities served by the foundation. Applications are due at noon on Friday, March 6, 2020.

Even though North Carolina is seeing low unemployment and high job growth overall, certain skilled jobs are harder to fill because many available workers face barriers to employment.

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A limited supply of workers strains the economy, said Golden LEAF board chair Bo Biggs.

“This initiative is in response to employers need to grow the pool of qualified workers for high-demand, full-time jobs,” said Biggs.

Grant recipients will assist working-age adults who face significant barriers to employment, are underemployed or are experiencing long-term unemployment and will provide support and opportunities to these adults to increase skills or obtain post-secondary credentials that lead to work in their community.

“Golden LEAF’s vision is a North Carolina with opportunities for growth and prosperity for its people all across the state,” said Golden LEAF president and CEO Scott T. Hamilton. “This initiative will provide essential training for people looking for work, meet industry’s needs for more qualified workers and boost our economy.”

Golden LEAF seeks applications from established 501(c)(3) nonprofits or governmental entities with at least three years of experience helping this population obtain full-time work. Projects should show a comprehensive and collaborative approach to re-engaging people in the workforce and leverage existing federal, state and local workforce development resources.

By 2030 in North Carolina, a projected 67% of jobs will require a post-secondary degree or credential, according to information from the Golden LEAF Foundation. On its current trajectory, post-secondary educational attainment in the state will only reach 54%. Increasing the number of people in the workforce, especially for jobs requiring a post-secondary degree or credential, is necessary for North Carolina’s economic vitality.

“The majority of jobs require more than a high school diploma and less than half of North Carolinians ages 25-44, and even fewer from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, have postsecondary degrees or credentials,” said executive director of the NCWorks Commission Annie Izod. “Adult learning systems, especially for those working-age adults with barriers to employment, will need to be strengthened and adapted to provide all workers with adequate opportunities for retraining throughout their careers.”

For more information on the GLOW initiative and to access the application, visit

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding received from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. To learn more about the Golden LEAF Foundation, visit or call 888-684-8404.



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