Centralina Workforce Development Board (WDB) Executive Director, David Hollars, began Centralina Day of Giving in 2017. Since its inception, Centralina WDB and NCWorks Career Center staff in the region have dedicated the Friday before Thanksgiving to volunteer at different local agencies and organizations. Staff members provide helping hands in soup kitchens, senior centers, crisis ministries and housing authorities to allow the community to see NCWorks staff as more than just people assisting customers with employment or employers with talent. It also helps show that NCWorks staff is invested in local communities.
Centralina Year of Giving is Born
Unfortunately, due to the unforeseen circumstances that surrounded the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional in-person Centralina Day of Giving was not an option. Centralina WDB understood the impact of this very special day to local communities and knew it needed to find another way to give back. As a result, this annual staff volunteer day turned into a series of events, known as Centralina Year of Giving, that provided an opportunity to serve communities throughout the year in a virtual format.
Taking a Stand Against Domestic Violence
After researching regional needs, the local NCWorks Career Center leaders decided to focus on domestic violence and how it impacts the region’s employers and job seekers. They discovered that the number of domestic violence cases increased by 50% throughout the United States during the pandemic while families worked and learned from home together. This increase breaks down to 10 million people per year or approximately 20 people per minute being abused.
Educating our Region’s Employers
Domestic violence directly affects our region’s employers through increased employment absences, healthcare expenses and risk level for other staff. Since employers are the primary customer for Centralina WDB, there was an immediate need to educate businesses and bring awareness to the issues surrounding domestic violence.
“This year’s Year of Giving events focusing on domestic violence is so important because of the increase that our communities are seeing in this very destructive behavior as a result of COVID-19. It impacts the ability of our current workforce to remain on the job, to be productive and focused while on the job and their ability to keep their jobs,” said Kim Carpenter, NCWorks Centralina Project Director. “As the leaders in workforce development, it is important that we are aware of the issues in our communities and work as a team with our partners to resolve these issues,” added Carpenter.
Every NCWorks Career Center in Centralina WDB’s seven-county area hosted unique virtual events from November 2020 to May 2021 that focused on domestic violence topics. These events were attended by employers, NCWorks and Centralina WDB staff, community partners and domestic abuse survivors. Presentations included stories from domestic violence survivors and speakers from within the community, as well as information on how to identify and support victims inside of the workplace, how to access resources for the victims and how to support agencies who help domestic violence victims.
Survivor Kim Foster brought tears to the eyes of attendees at the grand finale event in May 2021 with her recounts of violent attacks from her abuser and her ability to overcome what was the scariest moments of her life. “I survived and I’m [now] married and I have beautiful kids who have gone to school and now I am purchasing my first home,” Foster stated. “Thank you NCWorks for giving me the platform to share my story.”
Although the pandemic prevented Centralina WDB’s original volunteer day from taking place, it did not stop the spirit behind caring for the community. With resilience and intentionality, not only was Centralina WDB able to support and give back to the community in the way it needed the most, but it also turned one day into a year of giving. “Centralina Workforce Development Board is proud to work with our NCWorks Career Centers in adapting to a changing environment and transform our annual Centralina Day of Giving into a Centralina Year of Giving. This year’s focus on the important social and workforce issue of domestic violence allowed our NCWorks Career Centers to bring together community partners in a virtual format to receive information about domestic violence, access resources and learn new techniques in working with customers,” said Hollars.
Centralina Workforce Development Board would like to thank the NCWorks Career Center leaders, their staff, our community partners and all those involved with the Centralina Year of Giving. Centralina WDB could not ask for a better effort in connecting with and serving our communities!
If you or anybody you know is being affected by domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 800.799.SAFE (7233). To learn more about domestic violence, please visit https://www.thehotline.org/. For additional information on how Centralina Workforce Development Board and our local NCWorks Career Centers can help you, your business and your community, please visit https://centralinaworks.com/.