Centralina WDB and Partners Receive Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Workforce Development

Two local businesses in the Centralina region, Lincolnton Furniture Company in Lincoln County and Michelin North America in Stanly County, were recently recognized by North Carolina Governor Beverly E. Purdue as winners of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development - Outstanding Employers.  The Centralina Workforce Development Board applauds the outstanding efforts of these local business in helping North Carolina achieve its workforce development goals. 

The awards were presented on November 1, 2012, at the awards banquet held in Greensboro during the North Carolina Workforce Development Partnership Conference.

“Our hard-working and talented citizens are the capstone of our economic development efforts and they are helping us on the road to economic recovery,” said Governor Perdue.  “I congratulate these award recipients for their determination, innovation and commitment to helping make our employees the nation’s best.”

Below is information about each of the local businesses:.

Lincolnton Furniture Company is part of a small but growing trend called “reshoring” or bringing jobs back to America. The company is a specialty furniture maker that has re-started operations at a once vacant plant. Bruce Cochrane, the current owner and CEO, comes from a family that manufactured furniture in North Carolina. The family business was sold and the new owners moved manufacturing to China. Mr. Cochrane worked as a consultant in Asia in the furniture industry for several years and decided the time was right to start his own furniture company back in the United States, in North Carolina, in the same plant. Lincolnton Furniture opened its doors in December 2011 with a workforce of 60 workers and expects to expand to 130 workers by the end of 2012.

Lincolnton Furniture Company was nominated for this award by the Lincoln County JobLink Career Center and the Centralina Workforce Development Board.

Michelin North America , located in Norwood, manufactures bias ply and radial aircraft tires. They also produce Banded At Zero (BAZ), a component found in passenger and light truck tires exported to other Michelin facilities in the U.S. and Canada. They are the only Michelin Bias Aircraft Tire and Retread Plant in North America. Michelin is active in the workforce development system in Stanly County and has been working with Stanly Community College (SCC) to provide training through their SCC’s Customized Training Program.

Michelin was nominated for this award by the Stanly Community College Continuing Education Department and the Centralina Workforce Development Board.

This makes the fourth year in a row that a company from Stanly County has been a recipient of the Governor’s Award. In 2009, Storm Technologies was the award recipient, in 2010 Preformed Line Products won, and in 2011 Infastech Avdel USA, LLC received this prestigious award.

Additional recognition:

A new Governor’s Award for Innovative Partnerships was also awarded to a great workforce development model that started with company in the Centralina WDB region.

Apprenticeship 2000, which reaches across the region and state, received the 2012 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Workforce Development, Innovative Partnership. Apprenticeship 2000 is a model partnership developed by Blum Inc. (Lincoln County) in 1995, that demonstrates a working collaboration among employers, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, and the North Carolina Department of Labor. The mission of Apprenticeship 2000 is to train employees in order to guarantee they meet the skills needed by the companies. The goal is to close the skilled labor gap and reduce the shortage of skilled technicians. Joining Blum Inc. in the mid 1990’s was Max Daetwyler Corporation (Huntersville, NC), Sarstedt Group (Newton, NC), Ameritech Die and Mold (Mooresville, NC), and Timken Bearings (Lincolnton, NC). In 1996 the first apprentices were hired and slated for graduation in the year 2000, thus the name “Apprenticeship 2000”. Pfaff Molds joined the partnership in 2008, with Siemens Energy and Chiron USA joining in 2011-2012. At Blum Inc., the first four apprentices are still employed and enjoying the benefits of their hard work.

Apprenticeship 2000 was nominated for this award by the North Carolina Department of Labor.

The Centralina WDB and Council of Governments is extremely proud to have the winners of the 2012 Governor’s Award in its region. For more information on these awards please contact David Hollars at (704) 348-2717 or by e-mail at dhollars@centralina.org.


Photo 1: Representatives from Lincolnton Furniture Company accepting their Award along with representatives from the Lincoln County JobLink Career Center, Lincoln Economic Development Association, the NC Commission on Workforce Development and the Centralina Workforce Development Board.

Photo 2: Representatives from Michelin accepting their Award along with representatives from Stanly Community College and the Centralina Workforce Development Board.

Related Counties: AllCounties     
Related COG Areas: Workforce Development