Guilford County, North Carolina, in the heart of the Piedmont region, was once a textile and furniture manufacturing hub. It remains the state’s largest manufacturing center, with nearly a half million residents, about half of whom live in the county seat, Greensboro. With two universities and Guilford Technical Community College, Guilford has been growing its advanced manufacturing sector.
In 2012, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, along with the Greensboro-High Point Guilford County Workforce Development Board, commissioned a survey of local employers and discovered that 79% were having difficulty hiring for specific positions. Of particular note was the challenge of finding workers with the technical skills needed to fill jobs in aviation and advanced manufacturing.
In 2014, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro worked with local partners and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions to launch the Triad Workforce Solutions Collaborative, a funding collaborative focused on addressing the region’s workforce needs. Among the key initiatives supported by the collaborative and the National Fund is the Guilford Apprenticeship Partners (GAP), a program that connects area youth with career opportunities using the Registered Apprenticeship model.