Growing Outdoors will address workforce development needs and help connect talented individuals to jobs through four key programs:

Establishing New Outdoor Industry Degree and Certificate Programs

Western Carolina University (WCU) will establish multiple new degree and certificate programs to address industry-identified talent needs. These constitute a strong pathway for industry growth at every level, and will be built working closely with industry representatives and workforce development professionals. WCU has also established two faculty “industry liaison” positions to work closely with regional and national industry leaders to ensure the new programs are responsive to evolving industry needs.

Promoting Outdoor Industry Career Pathways with Community Colleges

Through the project, the partners will improve alignment and marketing of existing applicable programs to ensure that they provide the skills and connections needed to connect talented people with good jobs. Partners will also conduct a thorough assessment of industry needs to ensure that training programs are giving students the skills needed for future workforce requirements, and create a video series helping potential employees understand what working at an outdoor gear manufacturer looks like today.

Outdoor Industry Job Board to Connect Talent with Open Industry Positions

The Outdoor Gear Builders will establish a specialized online job board to connect outdoor companies with talent. Creation of the job board will greatly increase the visibility of available jobs, and help both job-seekers and employers alike.

Trainings and Content Creation for a Rural Renaissance in Technical Sewing

According to a recent industry survey by the Carolina Textile District, there is increased demand for US-made goods, but our region (and the industry nationally) is short on both workers and new business owners. This project will help address this by offering a limited, high-profile set of scholarships to rural manufacturers and entrepreneurs to work with the Carolina Textile District and grow WNC’s next crop of sewn goods success stories.

Want to know more?

We’ve got you covered. The project was officially announced on October 11, 2018. Many more details on the project’s resources and programs will be released over the next few months. Sign up for the email newsletter below to stay posted on the latest developments and opportunities.

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