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Pender County Career Center Business Plan

The Workforce Development Board, Inc. and the leadership of eight major workforce agencies (Cape Fear Community College, Cape Fear Partners, Council of Governments Region A0″, Department of Social Services, Employment Security Commission, Pender County Board of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation, YWCA,) have formed a collaborative partnership to improve the county=s workforce service delivery system and to solicit the involvement of the broad community. The partnership grew out of a shared vision and commitment to plan and start a customer-driven service system aimed at helping individuals and employers. A common focus upon the “customer” unifies the agency providers, the customer being both the individual job seeker needing services and preparation, and the employer seeking a job ready labor pool. The primary advantage of these efforts is that for the first time Pender County will have a comprehensive workforce development effort involving all major agency providers and employers in the county.

General Description

The principal business of the Pender County Center is to be an information and resource center for people looking for training and employment, and for employers looking for qualified applicants.

The Pender County Career Center is a dynamic system designed to accommodate all employment and training services for all customers, including job seekers, job changers, and employers. The system is moving from separate agency efforts to a integrated system.

Guiding Principles

A unified approach between public workforce agencies, business and industry will champion new alliances and promote new ways of delivering needed education, employment and training. The development of a comprehensive workforce service delivery system has incorporated the following four guiding principles:


  • Provide access to high quality information and services for
    job seekers, workers, employers and students
  • Provide a common menu of services characterized as user friendly
  • Responsive to all customers – individuals needing to improve
    their job situation and employers

Customer Choice

  • Choice of access
  • Customer-driven
  • Customer determines range and level of service


  • Shared vision
  • Resource sharing/team work
  • Shared information<
  • Co-location and/or effective linkage of services
  • Crossed trained staff
  • New ways of thinking about services and customers

Performance Driven/Outcome Based

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Number of individuals finding/keeping jobs
  • Skilled workforce
  • Improved job situations
  • Economic independence


The Pender County Career Center partners are committed to serving
both employers and residents of the County as reflected in the
leadership’s basic mission:

We provide our citizens and employers with the highest quality
of customer focused and user friendly career planning,
training, and placement services. Each customer receives prompt
and courteous attention from a dedicated team of Pender County
staff. Continuous improvement, planning, teamwork, and open communication
are the keys to success.


The Objectives are:

  • Identify services needed by employers and the available workforce
  • Facilitate education and/or training to meet the ever-changing
    needs of employers.
  • Provide high quality cost-effective programs that produce
    a labor efficient workforce.
  • Operate a fiscally sound system.
  • Meet objectives through customer-focused and customer-driven

Strategic Direction

  • Give Pender County a comprehensive and accessible service
    system that addresses the employment needs of job seekers and
  • Enhance and broaden collaboration and partnerships between
    service providers and employers in Pender County, thus improving
    the quality of life in the county and meeting workforce needs.

Partners and Service Providers

The Pender County Career Center is a unique collaboration of agencies uniting to provide employment opportunities, training and support for people in Pender County. The agencies providing services for the Pender County Career Center include:

Cape Fear Community College

Employment Security Commission

The Council of Governments Region “0″

Department of Social Services

Vocational Rehabilitation

Cape Fear Partners, Inc.


Pender County Board of Education

Cape Fear Workforce Development Board

The partnership of agencies in Pender County began collaborative efforts related to workforce development prior to the State=s formal implementation of JobLink Centers. Formal partnership with additional service providers is a future goal of the Pender County Career Center.

Geographic and Demographic Description

While services in the Pender County Career Center are available to all customers, the primary customer base is the residents of Pender County, a total population of 34,671(1995).
Recognizing the importance of the Pender County Career Center as an informational resource for the public schools and post-secondary schools including University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the over 6000 public school students, the county=s post-secondary students and the more than1,083 public school employees are also recognized as a major customer base.
According to the 1995 North Carolina Labor Force Estimates Pender county area has a labor force of 13,992, of which 2,300 (16.44%) are unemployed. (There are 20 employers in the county qualifying as small businesses with less than 50 employees. There are 7 employers with more than 50 employees.)

The (1994) average wage per worker is $16,432 and the per capita income in 1994 was $15,497. In 1989 only 17.2% of the county lived at the poverty level. In 1990, 64.6% of the adults had high school diplomas. The high school dropout rate in 1994 was 4.2%. In 1995, 58.4 of each 1000 adults enrolled for study at Burgaw campus of Cape Fear Community College.

Pender County has a population of 5,212 residents over the age of 65 according to 1996 figures.

The geographic area of Pender county is predominately rural with a fast-growing suburban area because of the proximity to urban New Hanover county. Through continuing successful efforts by area Chambers of Commerce and the Wilmington Development Board which is the Economic Development organization for Pender and surrounding counties, the area has an expanding manufacturing and retail base with a growing base of technology companies moving in.

There is a commercial carrier airport nearby in New Hanover County and Interstate-40 travels through the county and terminates near the county line. Highway 17 is the major highway.

The Pender County provides customers with options and choices of where to get the services that best meet their needs. The Pender County Career Center provides a seamless delivery of services under existing unemployment, employment, and job training programs. The Center is set up in a customer friendly, highly professional manner to provide high quality customer service. The basic principles for the Center are universality, customer choice, integrated system, and performance driven outcomes. The principle business of the Pender County Career Center is to provide customers with information and resources for employment and job training. The customers are defined as employers and individuals.

For employers the Career Center will:

  • respond to the changing needs of employers;
  • work aggressively to expand the number of employers being
    provided workforce development services;
  • develop a comprehensive menu of workforce services;
  • encourage participation in the Career Center through networking
    with established industry groups;
  • measure the employer responses as to the value of services received;

For individuals, Career Resources will provide:

  • extensive listing of jobs that are available locally, across
    the state and nation;
  • comprehensive information about career planning, financial
    aid and program funding, career transition, education/training
  • professional career advising to assist customers in managing
    their employment transition into an initial job, or from one job
    to another.

Core Services

Job Seekers Employers
Common intake Recruitment assistance
Eligibility/sponsorship determination Clearinghouse for training information
Evaluation/Assessment Apprenticeship programs
Career information Customized training
Case management(based on need for the service) Upgrade training
Labor market information Workforce literacy
Job placement Information on unemployment insurance
Post-placement follow-up Information on tax credits and other hiring incentives
Customer rating guides A team approach to filing job orders
Special services to persons with disabilities Labor market information services
Support services information and connections Rapid response information services
Training Information Employer interview
Resume preparation Outreach
Unemployment insurance information 1. Marketing Pender County
Filing for single UI claims 2. Job Development
Job Readiness training
Information on upgrading skills
Information Access (Internet)
Job Club


Customer Benefits

Through the co-location and the teaming of service delivery, customers
will have access to a range of services and information based
on customers’ needs
and service preferences.

The Pender County Career Center provides a new and comprehensive service delivery approach to workforce development by pooling and blending the resources and talents of the communities= major workforce agencies and by building a stronger working partnership with local employers and other community organizations. The Career Center customer driven approach to service delivery provides the following benefits to the customers:

  • A single portal of entry to multiple workforce services and
  • Access to a tier of services ranging from self-help service
    options to a comprehensive and intense level of services
  • Comprehensive services that are responsive to the changing
    needs of employers and local labor market demands
  • an increased job ready applicant pool
  • customer satisfaction ratings and service outcomes are the
  • comprehensive career and labor market information available
    to all customers


Through the collaborative efforts of the Pender County Career Center, employers and residents will derive benefits that have both an immediate and long-range impact. The Career Center is an evolving “work in progress” for Pender County. The partnership is developing a system designed to accommodate change and to meet the needs of a diverse customer base. The partners realize that no single group can secure good jobs for a diverse workforce, a self-sufficient population, and a growing economy. The Pender County Career Center will contribute significantly to achieving the following results:

  • Increased numbers of job ready individuals
  • improved workforce skills
  • Increased tax base
  • Reduced dependency on public assistance programs
  • Improved quality of life through self-sufficiency and job
  • Enhanced economic development recruitment efforts
  • Increased diversity of employment opportunities
  • Improved worker productivity
  • Improved effectiveness, efficiency and management of employment
    and training services

Range of Services

The customer will receive a full range of services in a high quality, fully integrated manner, dependent on the individuals interests and needs. The customer can choose an independent/minimal assistance level of service or access intensive, multi-level, professional services. For example, the customer will have the opportunity to browse through the Resource Room with a minimal assistance or receive guidance that would involve the development of a comprehensive plan to provide specific strategies for reaching employment and education goals.


The customers will determine the flow based on their needs and interests. Entry and exit points will be customized in response to customer’s needs. For example, a customer may not initially utilize Assessment (evaluation of Skills and Abilities) but later ask for an assisted assessment. The customer could elect to enter through Case Management Services or might decide to browse through the Resource Room asking only for minimal assistance.

Delivery of Services

The services will be provided by a team of professionals, who
have general and service specific expertise. The staff will provide
a seamless system of services designed around the customer’s
needs. The customers may work with several staff, but will not
need to be concerned with the agency affiliation, rather with
the service provided.

All staff will provide access to independent (minimally assisted)
services. Team members will be cross trained to maximized their

How are things different?

The customer intake process is streamlined, and asks for minimal

Basic customer information is available to all partners.

Customer need is the entry into the JobLink system, with eligibility
being only one of the determining factors for specific services.

Assessment needs are determined by the customer and facilitated
by the staff.

Unique services will be tried, such as a clothes closet to provide
appropriate interview clothes.

All customers may receive Case Management, if desired.

The JobLink system will have employer service representative(s)
who are liaisons between multiple agency services, job seekers
and employers. The employer representative will be responsive
to the employer’s needs
and create a bridge for seamless service delivery.

The Pender County Career Center’s purpose is:

  • to provide a user friendly informational and resource system
    about employment
  • to provide training services to the general public and to

Employers state the need for employees who have good transferable
skills as well as good skills to understand the nuances of their
new job requirements; employees who are focused, ambitious and
exhibit a good work ethic.

Our goal is to meet these needs so customers will be better informed
and will have opportunities for continuous growth and enrichment.

The marketing strategy is:

  • to create awareness
  • to educate market segments through consistent and regular
  • to design marketing toward targeted customer groups
  • to coordinate efforts with those of other groups, such as
    the Workforce Development Board and JobReady

Advertisements will be via regional and local news media (radio,
TV, and newspapers), brochures, fliers and newsletters(to other
agencies and employers), job development, presentations to civic
groups and signage.

The Pender County Career Center will also be promoted to the public
by distribution of incentive items, such as pencils, pens, notepads,
and rulers. Pender County Career Center name tags,
T-shirts and sweatshirts for staff will increase visibility.

All services will be provided at no charge or at a fee that is
based on cost.

Labor market information and other agency data, as well as anticipating
local economic factors and responding appropriately to factors
such as layoffs, natural disasters, etc., will help the Pender
County Career Center respond quickly and effectively to customer
needs. Customer satisfaction for employers and individuals will
be measured via customer surveys, evaluations and focus groups
at regular intervals. Information about financial aid and funding
supporting education, training, and career transition will be
made available by the Career Center to its customers.

With a total county labor force of XXXX, the Pender County Career
Center can collect data on customers by type to measure growth:
Those job seekers types are:

  • those who utilize self-help mechanisms
  • those who need intermediate assistance
  • those who require intensive assistance

Growth for employers will be determined by:

  • initial contacts
  • repeat calls for service
  • types of services requested

Employee and employer feedback will be sought regularly to manage
and modify service delivery and to insure informed decisions and
improvements concerning services.

Management Principles


  • Pender County is a collaborative venture involving partners
    with a common vision.
  • Pender County is a new paradigm that requires new ways of
    thinking and doing work.
  • Experimentation and risk taking are necessary and desirable
    elements of Pender County’s
  • The customer is the central focus that drives management
    decisions about organizational structure and services.
  • The cross-functional work team is an effective strategy for
    developing and delivering services to customers.

Career Center Structure

Workforce Development Board 
Pender County Management Team
President, Cape Fear Community CollegeDirector, Department of Social ServicesManager, Employment Security CommissionUnit Manager, Division of Vocational RehabilitationSuperintendent, Pender County Schools
Steering Committee
Cape Fear Community CollegeEmployment Security CommissionYWCAVocational RehabilitationDepartment of Social ServicesCape Fear Partners for SuccessPender County SchoolsLocal Employers
Partner Agencies
Cape Fear Community CollegeEmployment Security CommissionYWCAVocational RehabilitationDepartment of Social ServicesCape Fear Partners for SuccessPender County SchoolsWorkforce Development Board Members
Career Center Team
YEP Project Supervisor, Cape Fear Community CollegeABLE/HRD Counselor, Cape Fear Community CollegeABLE/HRD Eligibility Specialist, Cape Fear Community CollegeJTPA Coordinator, YWCABranch Manager, Employment Security CommissionRehabilitation Counselor, Vocational RehabilitationWorkFirst Case Manager, Department of Social Services

Managerial and Operational Responsibility

The Pender County Career Center is a cooperative effort involving local, regional and state agencies who have a vested interest in employment and training activities. The first collaborative meeting of the participating partner agencies was held on June 17, 1997. It was agreed that Cape Fear Community College would serve as host agency and that the Burgaw Campus would house the Career Center. A steering committee was created from this initial meeting and has continued to meet monthly to plan and implement strategies to design and operate a JobLink Career Center.

Membership on the steering committee is open to all interested individuals from both the private and public sectors. Representation includes key partner agencies, community based organizations, county workforce development board representatives, public schools, and employers. Members representing the Management Team have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to participate in the Pender County Career Center.

Cape Fear Community College serves as the host agency with one full time and five part time staff members working in the center. Staff from the Employment Security Commission, Human Resource Development Program, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Department of Social Services are located in the Center on a part time basis. The YWCA is an active partner and plans to place part time staff in the Career Center. The Pender County Public Schools and Cape Fear Partner for Success are active partners and plans to closely coordinate student needs with the Center Staff. The CFCC Business, Industry and Governmental Division will serve as a partner with scheduled activities for employers and customers through the Career Center.

Employees hired for the Career Center will be selected by Cape Fear Community College in accordance with mandated hiring process which follows all state and federal guidelines. All candidates for consideration will meet the minimum requirements for employment. Salaries are determined by the college’s salary formula, which is commensurate with education, previous and work related experience. Benefits for full time employees include a benefit package designated for North Carolina state employees to include medical insurance, state retirement and earned leave. Salary increases will be determined by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Management Team

  • Oversight Accountability

Steering Committee

  • Communication Between Management Team and Center Team
  • Information and Coordination with State Level Activity
  • Coordination of day-to-day operations
  • Support/advise Career Center Team in the development of services
    and processes.

Career Center Team

  • Develop and deliver basic customer services within the Career
  • Recommend changes that promote continuous improvement in products
    and services


The goal of the staff training component of the Career Center is to insure that Pender County’s key product and service production delivery processes are managed in such a way that design requirements are met and that both quality and operational performance are continually improved. The Career Center utilizes a multi-faceted approach for the professional and support staff. Staff will meet to respond to customer needs, staff will have access to center information and technology for use in daily work and decision making. The staff is empowered to make all appropriate decisions in undertaking customer service.

Type of Training Content

Cross-functional Orientation/training on services, information,
policies and procedures of partner agencies
Systems and Technology Training on Computer-based network
skills such as Microsoft Office, Netscape, etc. and guidance
technology such as career choice software, assessment methodologies,
labor market data, etc.
Professional Development Conferences and workshops related
to services and customers served by Pender County. Also includes
appropriate graduate and undergraduate studies.
State/Pender County Training Specializing training developed
by the State One-Stop Implementation Training Team, State-level
Partner agencies or the North Carolina Workforce Development

While the site of the Pender County Career Center is at the Cape Fear Community College
in Burgaw, information is available at the various sites throughout the county. This allows for a wide service mix and customer flow.

Pender County Career Center Steering Committee consisting of employers, individuals, county school systems, community service agencies, and WDB members was established for the purpose of guiding the development of the center. Currently several organizations participate in this joint venture. The center plans to establish a management team to include the managers of key partner agencies. The steering committee will meet regularly and be responsible for day-to-day management. Customer surveys, evaluations and focus groups will assist in the development of training and support services needed by customers.

Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Thursday only. Once chartered however, hours will expand to reflect customer needs, preferably Mon-Fri 9:00 to 5:00 and Tue & Thur from 6-8 pm. Good signage, adequate and convenient parking, and safety lighting have all been examined and addressed to help customers feel safe and comfortable.

As customers arrive at the Pender County Career Center, they may use the self-help Resource Center (previously described) or see an intake counselor for more intensive assistance. Counselors see customer either as walk-ins or by appointment as the customer chooses. Pending the state computerized intake system, customers complete a brief informational form. Telephone inquires are handled immediately either directly or by connecting to a more appropriate person. Job developers respond to employers within 24 hours. Operations have been designed to stress speed, flexibility, and adaptability to meet customer needs by the person closest to the solution-the front line staff. It is a goal of the center that customers visiting the center shall wait no more than fifteen minutes before receiving services.

Service delivery will be enhanced once on-site access to assessment tools, Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS), and One-Stop Client Application and Repository (OSCAR) are in place. (A local area network provides communication via e-mail.) A Career Center home page for the World Wide Web is located at A tracking mechanism to measure customer satisfaction has been developed.

Information will be gathered from individuals and employers consistently and at regular intervals to assess performance requirements, with the Workforce Development Board receiving quarterly reports. A system to track customer flow activities and satisfaction; then, use the information to improve processes, customer services and programmatic results.

In many areas baseline data will be established:

  • Customer satisfaction as measured by surveys, evaluations
    and focus groups.
  • Appropriate assessment measures of employability readiness,
    literacy, skill attainment, etc.
  • Training referrals resulting in enrollment and completion.
  • Placement of customers actively looking for work who find

Tracking of program reporting requirements will continue or all funding sources as will gathering information necessary to assess performance requirements, reporting quarterly to the WDB. The Center is prepared to acquire and track customer feedback, some participant follow up is currently in place; JTPA requires 30, 60, and 90 days follow up data. The HRD Program tracks customer feedback up to one year from program exit.

For every job order received in the center, a major milestone will be to match a job seeker with a position at least 50% of the time and have job seekers who are successful in acquiring a position retain it at least six months. Another milestone will be to help fill a hiring or training need for 50% of the employers who contact the center. These milestones will require baseline data to be gathered through an in-house MIS system, which should be in place by 12/31/97. Data will be gathered during the next year with milestones to be met by 12/31/98.

The time line for implementation goes back to December 1995, when
sixteen people from New Hanover and Pender agencies got together
and assessed available services of each agency.

January 1996 A session was held on “Who are our Customers?”

February 1996 We were informed that we had been awarded an implementation
grant of $25,000 to plan the New Hanover and Pender Career Centers.

March 1996 Roger Shackleford, from the Governor’s Commission
of Workforce Development, met with the group and further strengthened the concept
for the career centers.

April 1996 Partner agencies were encouraged to prepare for services
to begin 8/1/96.

August 1996 Further brain-storming was held to identify and refine needed
services for the area customers.

September 1996 DSS, JTPA, COG, and ESC representatives developed
program descriptions to serve identified needs in
the two counties.

October 1996 Met with Larry Goode, consultant, for
training in chartering, developing business plan and a service
plan for New Hanover and Pender Counties.
November 1996 Focus group of customers held by ESC facilitator.

December 1996 Larry Goode, consultant, for session on
customer flow, chartering, and discussion of cost allocation.

February 1997 Began to develop business plan

April 1997 Met to view tapes on One Stop Career
Centers visits in Michigan and Wisconsin.

June 1997 Pender begins plans for independent
Career Center.

June 1997 Met with Larry Goode to discuss progress
so far. Identified need of

Commitment by partner agencies.

July 1997 JTPA Funds awarded to YWCA for Career

July 1997 Began work in sub committees to develop
business plan

August 1997 Refined sections of business plan

October 1997 Complete business plan

December 1997 Present business plan to Workforce Development

January 1998 Workforce Development Board site visit

January 1998 Chartering!!!!!

Pender County’s Career
Center was developed under the following assumptions related to
financial planning:

The Pender County Career Center is a partnership of agencies committed
to collaborative efforts to improve the workforce of the county.

State grants for JobLink implementation, Computer automation and
supplemental activities are providing initial “seed”
money to develop Pender County. Future funding will be based
on resource sharing agreements, funding streams to partner agencies,
and potential grant sources.

The Center is primarily funded by grants received through the Workforce Development Board to operate Job Training Partnership Act Programs: Titles IIA and IIC and North Carolina Employment and Training Grant Funds (3590). CFCC/JTPA funding for the 1997-98 year total $192,062.81. Cape Fear Community College supplements staff salary costs to insure that a universal population can be served. The Center will receive an additional $5,000.00 to purchase an additional computer for customer use.

Continued funding for the Center is based on assumptions relative to workforce development:

  • State government policies will continue to support the JobLink Career Center concept and will emphasize workforce development and stress program integration.
  • JobReady funding will continue and may increase.
  • Work First funding and emphasis will increase.
  • Training needs of current workforce will continue to change
  • Pressure from employers to provide a highly trained workforce will increase.

Career Center staff and committee members will continue to seek out additional funding sources through grant applications, private sector contributions and public sector contributions and public service donations. A fee for some services may be implemented to cover the cost of the service. A cost sharing plan for partner agencies may need to be developed in the future as an emergency funding source.

Operational costs currently provided on an “in-kind” basis, such as Career Center staff salaries, will need to be included in resource sharing agreements. Once chartered all financial activities will be tracked monthly with the majority of funding received on a cost reimbursement basis. A cost sharing plan for partner agencies may need to be developed in the future as an emergency funding source. Baseline data for cost effectiveness will be collected during the first year of chartered operation.

Financial Management

Fiscal Agent: Cape Fear Community College

Fiscal Accounting: CFCC Business Office

Operational approval of Expenditures: CFCC Dean of Continuing

Financial Planning: Pender County Management Team

Financial Oversight: Cape Fear Workforce Development Board

Budget Resources

The following resources have been awarded or allocated to the
Pender County Center as of August 1, 1997.


Source of Funding

Implementation Grant (1996 & 1997) $5,000.00
JTPA Joblink Grant (1997) $63,246.00



Wilmington Campus
411 North Front Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

North Campus
4500 Blue Clay Road
Castle Hayne, NC 28429

Burgaw Center
100 East Industrial Drive
Burgaw, NC 28425

Hours of Operation
Monday-Friday: 8:00am to 5:00pm

Accessibility Services

Cape Fear Community College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, political affiliation or age.