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Past Projects: Employment

The South's historical dependence on disappearing agriculture and manufacturing industries has left the region with a disproportionate number of displaced, low-wage workers and high-poverty communities. Through Career Pathways for a Green South, MDC is helped low-wage and unemployed workers find work in emerging green industries. Through partnerships with four communities in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina that have suffered manufacturing job loss in recent years, MDC is bridged gaps between individuals and training that leads to credentials and employment in green jobs.
MDC worked with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) to help rural regions create better systems of employment and training. The NFWS approach sought to create innovative workforce partnerships by encouraging local philanthropy and other funding agencies to issue grants for demonstration projects and capacity building. MDC managed a rural affinity group that consisted of four NFWS funded rural sites and other communities that were interested in the method.
A Time of Reckoning was a report created for the Mississippi State Legislature's Special Task force for the Revitalization of the Delta Region. Over the last 40 years, the economic situation in the Mississippi Delta has been resistant to change, leaving it one of the poorest areas in the nation. Unemployment is high in the region even during the best of times: from 2001 until 2007, unemployment fluctuated between 8 percent and 10 percent.
Mississippi Workforce Development was an MDC policy research and analysis project designed to increase Mississippi's workforce and economic competitiveness. In 2003, Mississippi's major public workforce development resources were split between two different oversight entities: the State Workforce Investment Board handled federal WIA resources and the State Workforce Development Council handled state funding for a community and junior college system of one-stop workforce centers.
Latino Pathways was a demonstration project designed to increase job entry, retention, and advancement for Latino immigrants in two major North Carolina labor markets: Greensboro and Charlotte. Over the past decade, North Carolina has seen explosive growth of its Latino population, but segregation into dead-end jobs coupled with low educational attainment restrict opportunities for Latinos to contribute more fully to the state's economy and to improve their personal and family well-being and security.
MDC and the Center for Community Change collaborated to move low-skilled Southerners into skills training and better paying jobs at three sites in Virginia, West Virginia, and South Carolina. Supported by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the project had three sites: Charlottesville, VA; Charleston, WV; and Columbia, SC. At each site, a grassroots organization, a community college, and employers collaborated to help disadvantaged adults get and keep decent jobs. In Columbia, the program focused on occupational advancement for Latino workers.
Program for the Rural Carolinas was a five-year, $10.6 million rural development project in North Carolina and South Carolina, funded by The Duke Endowment. The program ended March 30, 2007.
The project was a community-building initiative for Franklin City/Southampton County, Virginia, designed to revitalize the region's economy and reduce poverty. The Camp Foundation and Franklin-Southampton Charities supported a major community-building initiative to improve the quality of life for all residents of the area by revitalizing the economy, reducing poverty, and building a more equitable and inclusive civic culture.
JobLink was an MDC workforce development systems research and analysis project to assess the progress and effectiveness of North Carolina's JobLink Career Center system of 83 one-stop workforce development centers and recommend steps for improvement. As North Carolina's one-stop workforce development system matured into a network of 83 Career Centers (JobLink), management of the JobLink centers fell to differing state agencies - most notably community colleges and local employment service offices.
In 2000, MDC and the Center for Community Change collaborated to move low-skilled Southerners into skills training and higher-wage employment. Charlottesville, VA; Charleston, WV; and Columbia, SC. Supported by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation , the project had three sites: At each site, a grassroots organization, a community college, and employers collaborated to help disadvantaged adults get and keep decent jobs. In Columbia, the program focused on occupational advancement for Latino workers.
From 1994 to 1996, as part of the Pew Delta Initiative, MDC built the capacity of leaders in seven Delta communities to redesign education and training systems to connect poor people to jobs.
In 1990, MDC consulted and provided staff support for the North Carolina Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Workforce Preparedness. The Commission report led to the creation of the Governor's Commission on Workforce Preparedness – a single state-level council to review, monitor, and develop workforce policies and initiatives for the state. 
MDC is assisting the Danville Regional Foundation in developing a new regional initiative aimed at improving the economic prosperity of citizens in three counties in southern Virginia and northern North Carolina.
In 2008, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, MDC set out to begin documenting mistakes and lessons learned through a series of interesting and provocative papers that focused on failures in community economic development (CED).
From 1982 to 1983, Women in Electronics was a program designed by MDC in partnership with private business to prepare unemployed women with limited prior education and training to enter and advance in jobs in the electronics industry in Research Triangle Park.
MDC is working with the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center (the Rural Center) to craft a new strategic vision for an organization that has provided support to and a voice for Rural North Carolinians for more than 30 years.  MDC helped craft the plan that created the Rural Center in the late 1980s and now the Center is at a critical point in its history and must make important decisions on how best to use its resources to meet the needs of those living in rural North Carolina.