Jody Blackwell, Director of Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Small Business Center and Customized Training Programs was selected earlier this year as the ACT College and Career Readiness Workforce Champion in North Carolina.

The Workforce Champion honor is given to an individual who has created or led a program that positively impacts their company and community through improved hiring practices, apprenticeships / internships, or community leadership. The program should be able to be replicated as a best practice at other levels.

“As the Director of the Piedmont Community College Customized Training Program, I am able to provide ACT WorkKeys® testing as a hiring tool for our industries. This testing ensures that our industries are hiring the most qualified and capable individuals to perform the required job duties,” shares Blackwell. “Piedmont Community College is blessed to have support from all of our local manufacturing industries who see the value in this testing and are requiring ACT WorkKeys® testing for all new hires.”

PCC’s Customized Training Program (CTP) serves as a catalysis for economic development by working with economic development on recruitment and by assisting business and industry with training.
Jody Blackwell, Director of Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center and Customized Training Programs
In an effort to ensure the presence of a well-trained workforce, this vital program is designed to react quickly to the training and educational needs of new and existing businesses while respecting the confidential nature of proprietary processes and information within those businesses. WorkKeys®, offered through CPT, is a comprehensive program that aligns, builds and certifies the skills needed for workplace success.

“As we focus on our growth, we understand how important it is to have qualified and trained employees”, comments Nikki Ward, HR Manager at US Flue-Cured Tobacco. “One area of need is and will continue to be industrial and machinery maintenance. Qualified talent is already difficult to recruit and retain. However, partnering with great schools such as Piedmont Community College it is our goal to attract and employ local students who have received a quality education and who can enter the workforce with the skills and confidence to not only help our business grow and succeed, but also experience personal success as well.”

To learn more about PCC’s Customized Training Program, visit and select Customized Training, or contact Jody directly at or (336)599-6622.

Photo: Jody Blackwell, Director of Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center and Customized Training Programs

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