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Back to Work Program helps unemployed go back to school

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WINSTON-SALEM — Community colleges from the Sandhills to the mountains are receiving state funds to help re-train unemployed people for new jobs.

The NC Back to Work Program gave a total of $5 million to 10 community colleges around the state. Enrollment keeps increasing at Forsyth Technical Community College.

"We've grown about 45 percent in the last five years and much of that growth has been driven by people who have been laid off or maybe young people who've gotten out of school and are trying to find a job and just having a very tight job market," said Forsyth Tech President Dr. Gary Green.

Thanks to the Back to Work Program, Forsyth County will get more than $700,000 to help the long-term unemployed go back to school.

"There are over 6,000 individuals in our area that includes Stokes County and Forsyth County that qualify," said dean of community and economic development Sharon Anderson.

That is more than 6,000 people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits or who have been receiving benefits for 26 weeks or more.

"I think it's going to be a great help to the entire community and particularly those people who have been affected," said Green.

Officials have picked fields where people are most likely to find work, including electrical linemen, HVAC, maintenance and a variety of welding courses. Davidson County Community College and Guilford Technical Community College also are apart of the program.

Other schools in the state include Blue Ridge Community College, Caldwell Community College, Edgecombe Community College, Fayetteville Tech, Mitchell Community College, Southwestern Community College and Stanley Community College.

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