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Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at the North Carolina Good Jobs Challenge Announcement


Thank you, Governor Cooper, for the kind introduction. And thank you to our host, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. I am thrilled to be here with you to celebrate our 32 Good Jobs Challenge awardees.

Funded by President Biden’s America Rescue Plan, the half billion dollar Good Jobs Challenge is making once-in-a-generation investments aimed at creating high-quality workforce systems to dramatically transform America’s communities. With this program, we’re bringing employers to the table as partners to make sure we’re building pipelines that lead to real, high-quality jobs. And we’re engaging with labor – 50% of our grantees have unions involved.

The Good Jobs Challenge will prepare people for and then place them into good jobs that exist today – and give them the wraparound services like childcare and transportation that make it possible for them to complete the training.

Our awardees are laser-focused on serving underserved communities that represent the fabric of America – working parents, communities of color, veterans, formerly incarcerated individuals, those in recovery, individuals with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, rural communities, and communities facing high and persistent rates of poverty.

I’m honored to be here at North Carolina A&T – our nation’s largest historically Black university – who is rolling out their STEPs4GROWTH initiative in partnership with Advanced Energy, the North Carolina State University Clean Tech Center, the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association and UNC Charlotte.

The STEPs4GROWTH partnership received over $23 million from the Good Jobs Challenge to create quality, demand-driven training for the region’s growing clean energy sector and help propel the state into a clean energy future.

It will bring together more than 40 employers to achieve up to 3,000 job placements over four years, with the intention to place 1,500 participants each year thereafter. The project will span 17 distressed counties, including ten that encompass “Black Belt” rural communities.

And this is just one example of an impressive portfolio of awardees. The Good Jobs Challenge is building a first-of-its-kind talent pipeline that will address the labor shortage and place 50,000 American workers in good jobs. 

If we – the government, the private sector, educational institutions, and local organizations – work together to make these investments, we can ensure long-term prosperity for all Americans and build a healthy, vibrant, inclusive, and competitive economy.

Thank you all again for being here. I’m looking forward from hearing about what your project entails, and how you are helping to shape the workforce of tomorrow.