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BDI Proud to Announce Continuation of Project RENEW

For Immediate Release 

Burke Development Proud to Announce Continuation of Project RENEW

Grant from Department of Commerce will Fund Program for Next Two Years

BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (December 10, 2012) – Burke Development, Inc. is proud to announce the continuation of Project RENEW through 2013 and 2014 thanks to a grant from the Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions. This will allow BDI to continue its innovative, workforce development program, which provides advanced manufacturing training to unemployed and underemployed Burke citizens. “This is great news for people seeking a job and especially for our manufacturers,” said BDI Chairman John Branstrom. “The metrics for RENEW have been great. It has been a successful program and I’m glad we’ll be able to continue to provide skilled employees to our local companies.” Over 15 companies are now actively involved in the project. When Burke Development launched RENEW in early 2012 the organization based the program structure and topics around what local companies wanted in future employees. Much of RENEW’s success has been attributed to this unique approach of incorporating company feedback and input. Many companies that are committed to the program have agreed to consider RENEW graduates above others when hiring. The Division of Workforce Solutions awarded the grant, which was provided through Workforce Investment Act funds. Roger Shackleford, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, said about the program, “We feel that it is this type of community collaborative that will spur solutions to skill gap issues in North Carolina.” “We’re thankful for all of the partners that have helped make this possible,” added Branstrom. “We especially want to thank Roger Shackleford, Assistant Secretary of Commerce; the NC Rural Center, which helped us launch RENEW; also Rep. Hugh Blackwell and Sen. Warren Daniel, who have assisted with the project.” BDI President Scott Darnell plans for up to three hundred additional Burke citizens to participate in Project RENEW in the next two years. The program, which is free for participants and operated through Western Piedmont Community College, provides 96 hours of training across various topics. The two classes held in 2012 resulted in 68 graduates, most of which have found full time employment since completion of the program. “RENEW has shown great success in quickly training new employees to be successful in manufacturing positions,” said Senator Warren Daniel. “RENEW will continue to play an important role in training employees to meet the needs of our community’s employers, and has the potential to become a model for job training programs across our state.” “It’s exciting to see this example of finding ways to make vocational education and preparation more meaningful and valuable,” said Representative Hugh Blackwell. “Project RENEW seems well designed to both help individuals have the right preparation they need to get an actual job and to help our local employers hire qualified workers. The grant enables a ‘win-win’ for us all.” For more information on Project RENEW visit the BDI website at www.burkedevinc.com. About Burke Development, Inc. Burke Development, Inc. (BDI) is a nonprofit organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, government agencies and other entities to facilitate expansion strategies for existing businesses and recruit target industries to Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.


Sara Chester Burke Development, Inc. 828.674.3141

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