Former tobacco workers to get help

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and its R3 Center will use a recent grant to help educate and train former tobacco industry workers for new jobs.

The center is trying to find and recruit workers and their families in Cabarrus and Rowan counties for its workplace readiness and career development workshops.

The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission recently awarded the center a $5,000 grant to help with the retraining.

Since 2008, RCCC has received three awards totaling $110,000 to provide career assistance to tobacco workers, their families and local businesses hurt by industry changes.

The R3 Center helps workers obtain career readiness certification, a national credential that helps them show proof of their basic skills to employers.

Thanks to the grant, center counselors will work one-on-one with clients to assess their training needs and develop an "individual employment plan."

With the plans, workers become eligible to apply for a Project Skill-UP scholarship to assist them with short-term training.

The N.C. General Assembly created the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in 2000 to help those in the tobacco community - including farmers, tobacco workers and those in related businesses - reduce the impact of declining tobacco production.

RCCC established the R3 Center, at 200 West Ave., Kannapolis, to help displaced, unemployed and underemployed workers with career development.

It helps adult workers assess their skills, aptitudes, training, academic credentials and career interests to develop an action plan for career growth. The center provides all its services free.

It also partners with other workforce development agencies, including the Centralina Workforce Development Board, JobLink Career Centers of Cabarrus and Rowan counties, N.C. Employment Security Commission and other community colleges.

Details: 704-216-7201;