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Charlotte Area

A plan to bring back Charlotte's workforce

Charlotte's unemployment rate of nearly 12 percent is the focus of a broad workforce recovery initiative announced by Governor Bev Perdue. More than one-million federal stimulus dollars will be spent on the initiative. Perdue says the state's traditional methods for dealing with unemployment aren't enough this recession: "We're quite good at addressing an immediate hit like a Pillowtex," says Governor Perdue. "We can bring in emergency money and retrain manufacturing and textile workers very quickly. But when there are as many different people walking into our offices across the state from as many different backgrounds, the whole challenge becomes deeper and different." To help the thousands of white collar workers now out of a job, UNC-Charlotte and local community colleges will streamline certification programs to complete in six months rather than a year. Perdue says Bank of America and Wells Fargo have agreed to hold job training seminars for workers they lay off. The North Carolina Department of Commerce will form a team to recruit more financial services companies to Charlotte. The initiative will also offer coaching for entrepreneurs trying to start a business in Charlotte and others on the verge of collapse.