FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville and Cumberland County are in the running for a few new corporate projects that could bring hundreds of jobs to the area.
Companies often evaluate multiple locations when looking to establish a new plant or office, so the project is not a guarantee. But the prospect of more jobs is exciting to many residents.
Nicolas Ramos is 18 years old, and has been looking for work for the past year. "I didn't pick up my diploma right away, and it took a few months to pick up my GED," he said. "That gap of not having anything, I definitely saw the challenge. Even the college degree itself, a lot of teenagers don't understand that."
According to the county's chamber of commerce, only 20 percent of Cumberland County's workers have a bachelor's degree or higher. Its unemployment rate is 10.4 percent, which ranks right in the middle of North Carolina's 100 counties.
Cumberland County's employment situation is also helped by its proximity to Ft. Bragg. Not only does the Army base employ many servicemen and women, but also many military defense contractors.
"Obviously our largest impact is the military and the military defense contractors. In fact, that's 40 percent of our GDP in this community," said Russell Rogerson, the executive vice president in charge of development for the Fayetteville-Cumberland Chamber of Commerce.
Sources in the economic community say there are some deals in the works that could bring more than 1,000 jobs to the county. The bids are highly competitive and have not yet been announced, so they are not a done deal.
For job seekers like Ramos, he'll have to keep looking until they become official. "Every day I wake up, I know exactly what my steps are, even if they're small throughout the day, at least I know I accomplished something by the time the sun sets," he said.