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Vance, Warren Counties Look To Buck High Unemployment Rates

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In five North Carolina counties, at least one out of 10 people is out of work. According to numbers from the

state's Employment Security Commission

, three of those counties are in the Triangle area.

The unemployment rate in Edgecombe and Vance counties is 11 percent and the unemployment rate in Warren County is 10 percent. While the economy remains sluggish, officials said the rebound in those counties will take even longer unless they get help.

Demian Aycock is among the many hard at work, looking for work at Vance County's Job Link Center.

"Just looking for a decent paying job 40 hours a week," he said. "Truck driving and nursing is all I see pretty much."

Aycock is trained as a mechanic and many others have experience in agriculture or manufacturing, but most of those employers are gone.

Sarah Wester, director of the Vance-Warren Employment Security Commission, said some good news comes in the form of federal dollars to help job hunters go back to school, so they can fill jobs that are in demand like nursing.

Officials said Maria Parham Hospital is about to go through a $48 million expansion and the hospital will need more qualified workers.

"There is money out there for re-training right now. If they're willing to go for that, then the opportunities are greater," Wester said.

Officials want to use Triangle North Corporate Park, an empty 80,000-square-foot facility that was built by private developers to attract technology-based businesses, to create a trained workforce at Vance-Granville Community College.

"So we have an available job force and we have available buildings and we have available training programs," said Gregg Griggs, president of the Henderson-Vance Chamber of Commerce.

Griggs said the area is making a transition from tobacco and textiles to transportation and technology, and it all hinges on training.

Officials said Vance County's jobless rate took a dramatic jump this past summer when J.P. Taylor tobacco processing plant closed. It added up to 600 seasonal workers to the jobless rolls.


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