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Piedmont Triad Wins Federal Workforce Grant Worth Up To $15M

Posted February 3, 2006

— The Piedmont Triad Region has been awarded a federal economic and workforce development grant worth up to $15 million over the next three years.

The U.S. Department of Labor awarded the WIRED (Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development) grant.

"We are delighted that the Piedmont Triad proposal was selected for this grant," said Don Kirkman, president and CEO of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. "The WIRED grant gives us both the financial and technical resources to develop an integrated strategy to restore the Piedmont Triad's global economic competitiveness."

The Piedmont Triad plan was one of 13 selected for funding; some 97 proposals from 42 states were considered. Its strategy was based on the Piedmont Triad Vision Plan already created by the Piedmont Triad partnership. The proposal had the support of N.C. Governor Mike Easley. The grant's fiscal agent will be the state's Department of Commerce.

"The project will help train workers in the region's high-growth, high-wage industry clusters, and it will establish the Piedmont Triad as a national model for a regional total systems approach to economic development, workforce development, education, and entrepreneurship," the Piedmont Triad Partnership said in a statement.

Key parts of the plan include:

1. Create a model regional organization

2. Cultivate employment opportunities in high-wage, high-skill, clusters

3. Align and leverage the Triad's K-12, community college, and 4-year university resources around the region's growth clusters

4. Extend economic prosperity to the Triad's rural counties and minority populations

5. Create a regional leadership development center in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership

6. Develop a marketing and communications strategy to promote intra-region awareness of the need for regional collaborations and an external awareness of the Piedmont Triad as a creative and innovative region.

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