Sanford, NC – Governor Roy Cooper visited Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) last Wednesday to discuss workforce development training for VinFast – the Vietnamese auto manufacturer set to build a line of electric vehicles in North Carolina in the coming years.
Last year, Cooper announced VinFast’s selection of North Carolina as its first North American automotive assembly plant that would create 7,500 jobs. According to the March 2022 press release, this is the state’s first car manufacturing plant and the largest economic development announcement in North Carolina’s history.
Cooper was joined by Van Anh Nguyen, CEO of VinFast North America, Arun Venkataraman, assistant secretary of commerce for Global Markets and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, and North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Machelle Baker Sanders.
VinFast plans to produce 150,000 vehicles every year.
“Those vehicles, and a lot more models, will be built by the students who are going to be trained by Central Carolina,” Nguyen said.
The training is slated to take place at Central Carolina’s E. Eugene Moore Manufacturing and Biotech Solutions Center – a building that spans 220,000 square feet.
According to Central Carolina leaders, the building is the largest manufacturing facility in the state.
The governor remarked that those gathered at the Moore Solutions Center were at the epicenter and intersection of two great economic sectors in biotechnology and clean energy. Cooper noted that North Carolina has become the center of the country’s clean energy economy and expressed the importance of clean energy to future generations – not just because of carbon reduction, but because of what it means for the jobs that will come from the clean energy economy.
The jobs coming to the state, including those VinFast will create, requires an investment in the workforce, which means an investment in education, Cooper said.
“It means investing in childcare – which is the triple play – because, one, it gives the children a quality early childhood education which we know is so important. Two, it allows that parent to work to bring income into the family. And three, it gives that employer a great employee who might otherwise not be able to be in the workforce at a time when we need to be strengthening our workforce,” Cooper said.
Cooper went on to say that community colleges have a big role to play in this training.
Also critical to strengthening the state’s workforce – partnerships and collaboration.
During Wednesday’s visit, both local and state leaders were present to hear about the work underway. Additionally, presidents from seven North Carolina community colleges and leaders from two four year universities were in attendance.
“This is the example of how we collaborate … and how important it is to collaborate. And you will see that as we have transitioned to attracting some larger employers and some greater opportunities. We’re already set up to meet that need,” said Dr. Lisa Chapman, president of Central Carolina.
Cooper also recognized the collaboration during a Q&A, saying that community colleges work well with each other and with the state’s universities.
Working together is part of the solution to meet the state’s workforce needs. Dr. Margaret Robertson, Central Carolina’s vice president of workforce development emphasized the word solutions in the center’s name, adding that the Moore Center allows for a regional response to the workforce commitment that the state is making and that companies are expecting.
And those partnerships and collaboration extend beyond the state.
Venkataraman said partnerships help put America on solid footing for long-term economic growth and national security.
“First we’ve got the partnership with the federal government, state government, and local governments – all working together,” Venkataraman said.
But those partnerships also include collaboration between government and non-government agencies alike Venkataraman continued.
“All working together in service of the same issue – improving people’s economic life,” Venkataraman said.
He also discussed the collaboration between the U.S. and Vietnam, saying the VinFast investment reflects just another step forward on the growth of an incredibly important partnership.
In his closing remarks, Gov. Cooper expressed his appreciation for being at the facility and recognized the good that will be happening there.
“I am so glad to be here today to celebrate this facility, all the good things that are going to be happening here. The people who are going to learn things to help them get a good paying job, making more money than they thought that they would be able to make supporting their family. Helping our area grow and prosper. Once again, our community colleges come to the rescue. And we’re grateful for that,” he said.