Today, Governor Roy Cooper celebrated CNBC naming North Carolina as the Top State for Business in 2023 with business and education leaders at Central Piedmont Community College, kicking off a series of statewide events that will highlight North Carolina’s strong and diverse workforce and community colleges. The Governor also toured the Central Piedmont campus to learn more about apprenticeship and 3D printing programs currently offered at the community college.
“North Carolina is the best state for business for the second year in a row thanks to our well-trained, diverse, and dedicated workforce,” Governor Cooper said. “Our community colleges are our not-so-secret weapon when it comes to building a talented workforce, and it’s critical that we invest in our public schools, quality child care, our community colleges and the health of North Carolina working families in order to continue this amazing success.”
“Given that a world-class workforce is needed for businesses to thrive, I can’t think of a better place for Governor Cooper to tout our state’s consistently high rankings. Central Piedmont and our 57 sister colleges across the state have been preparing individuals to work in high-demand careers for 60 years now,” said Central Piedmont Community College President Kandi Deitemeyer. “Through the decades, North Carolina’s community colleges have responded to industry and employer needs, developing talent pipelines of well-trained, highly skilled workers who are ready to hit the ground running.”
“North Carolina community colleges have long been the difference maker for North Carolinians who want a better job, better pay, or new opportunities. Now, the North Carolina Community College System is proving to be the difference maker in how we recruit new businesses and build talent pipelines that make good on our commitments to prepare graduates for a dynamic workplace,” said North Carolina Community College System President Jeff Cox.
“I’m incredibly proud of the statewide collaboration, partnerships, and hard work responsible for positioning North Carolina as the top state for business for the second consecutive year,” said N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “But make no mistake – continued investments in our public education system, including our community colleges, are critical to ensuring we remain competitive with a skilled and ready workforce that can meet the demands of today and tomorrow.”
“North Carolina officials worked closely with us before, during, and after our relocation to the state, so I was hopeful about what this new location would mean for Honeywell. It has exceeded my expectations. We have found good people and a solid home for our company,” said Honeywell Executive Chairman Darius Adamczyk. “It seems the rest of the country is finally figuring this out – North Carolina is the best place to do business, and Honeywell is proud to call Charlotte our home.”
The Governor was joined by major business leaders from the Charlotte area as well as Mayor Vi Lyles and education leaders from North Carolina’s community college system and Central Piedmont Community College. Over the coming weeks, Governor Cooper will travel across the state to spotlight North Carolina’s strong community colleges and the skilled and diverse workforce they create that has made our state a standout for businesses across the country.
On July 11, CNBC named North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2023 for the second year in a row. The CNBC study looks at 86 metrics in ten categories of competitiveness. North Carolina ranked #1 in workforce and highly in the economy, technology and innovation, and access to capital categories. This is the second year in a row that CNBC has named North Carolina as America’s top state for business and only the second time in the ranking’s history that a state has received the top spot two years in a row. Since 2017, North Carolina has placed in the top five of state rankings four times.
Earlier this year, North Carolina also won Site Selection Magazine’s Prosperity Cup for the third year in a row, which recognizes the competitiveness of state-level economic development agencies and their success in landing capital investment projects. This year, North Carolina also won Area Development magazine’s 2023 Platinum Shovel Award which recognizes states that went above and beyond the gold standard for investment and job creation and received Business Facilities magazine’s State of the Year award after a historic year of economic development and job growth.
Since Governor Cooper took office in 2017, North Carolina has announced over 103,000 jobs including major jobs announcements from companies like Apple, Wolfspeed, Toyota, VinFast, and Boom Supersonic. North Carolina continues to recruit good-paying jobs to add to the advanced manufacturing, clean energy and technology industries already thriving in the rural and urban parts of the state.
Governor Cooper has also made major investments in North Carolina’s strong community college system and diverse workforce. In May 2021, using Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds, Governor Cooper announced the launch of the Longleaf Commitment program, a $31.5 million investment to guarantee that graduating class of 2021 high school seniors from low- and middle-income families receive up to $2,800 in federal and state grants to cover tuition and most fees at any of the state’s 58 community colleges. Over 27,600 students across the state have received Longleaf Commitment grants.
The Finish Line Grants Program, launched by the Governor in 2018 with federal funding from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), provides grants to community college students who face unexpected financial emergencies, including medical bills, car repairs, and loss of childcare, that might prevent them from finishing their coursework. In August 2022, the Governor infused an additional $7.5 million in GEER funding and transitioned management of the program from the Department of Commerce to the North Carolina Community College System. Since July 2018, over 10,700 Finish Line Grants have been awarded to community colleges students.
Using GEER funds, Governor Cooper also directed $20 million to create Workforce Resilience Grants for eligible community college students pursuing high-demand workforce training programs within ten workforce pathways leading to a state or industry recognized credential, including in advanced manufacturing, automotive, IT, construction, and education. To date more than 22,500 students across the state have received Workforce Resilience Grants.