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Fayetteville Technical Community College has received $296,535 from the Golden LEAF Foundation to provide job training and job placement assistance to individuals considered hard to employ because of previous incarceration for non-violent crimes or long-term unemployment and to young adults aging out of foster care. The funding was provided through the Foundation’s Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work initiative.

“Quality jobs provide hope, opportunity and dignity,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President and Chief Executive Officer. “These funds will support short-term training programs for those facing a barrier to employment to fill high-demand jobs in and around Cumberland County.”

FTCC will partner with a number of local agencies, employers and nonprofits to identify prospective trainees, support individuals while in training, and place them into employment. Candidates for the program will undergo case-management screening and career assessment to determine fit.

Individuals who enter the program will receive ongoing counseling and employment coaching by a success coach and will be enrolled in a 15-week FTCC course that will provide them with basic skills in electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and carpentry trades.

Those who complete the course will be certified to operate forklifts, will receive a card indicating completion of OSHA’s 10-hour safety training course, and will be awarded NCCER’s Core Credential. The credential, from the National Center for Construction Education and Research, indicates successful completion of an introductory course in craft skills.

Throughout the training, participants will be supported by mentoring and wraparound services. Participants will receive paid internships and those who complete the course will receive job placement assistance from their success coach and FTCC’s Job Center.

The Golden LEAF grant will support the program for two years. If successful, FTCC will work to sustain the program in future years. The program is expected to serve 105 people in its first two years, with 50 percent completing the training and obtaining industry credentials by the end of that period.

“Fayetteville Tech is delighted to receive the Golden LEAF Foundation’s support on this important project,” said FTCC President J. Larry Keen. “Our College is dedicated to helping students from all walks of life achieve their educational goals and to serving our community by strengthening its workforce.”

FTCC was supported in its grant application by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayetteville Police Department, the Spring Lake Police Department, the Hope Mills Police Department, the Town of Spring Lake and the Salvation Army.

A partner in the effort will be Life Is Worth Living-Project Fresh Start Inc., a nonprofit organization which helps people with criminal records and homeless people obtain employment and improve their lives. The program was founded more than a decade ago by Charles Evans after he was incarcerated for non-violent crimes and then struggled with the transition back into society.

Evans eventually achieved success. He went on to serve two terms on the Fayetteville City Council and is now in his third term on the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. Evans said he is excited about the new FTCC program.

“People who have been convicted of felonies and incarcerated find it terribly hard to find employment and housing after serving their time,” he said. “By helping them become productive members of the community, all of society benefits.”

Fayetteville Technical Community College was established in 1961 and serves over 35,000 students annually with over 280 occupational, technical, general education, college transfer and continuing education programs.

The nonprofit Golden LEAF Foundation uses funding from the 1998 settlement with cigarette manufacturers to support economic and workforce development in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities.