News & Inspiration

Addressing Economic Injustice in Charlotte

May 30, 2018

    We are thrilled to announce that, through our Leap of Faith campaign, Christ Church has made a $500,000 commitment to fund the start-up of The ROC (Rebuilding Opportunities in Construction), a new non-profit which offers high school students a vocational path toward earning a living wage while completing their education.

    Christ Church has historically looked for new best-practice opportunities to address current needs in our community, and we believe this project, which partners with Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) and Goodwill Industries, is such an opportunity.

    Though Charlotte is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, we struggle with economic mobility, ranking last among the 50 largest cities in the nation. At the same time, Charlotte construction companies face a massive unmet need for skilled trade professionals. The ROC offers a creative solution to this dilemma and a concrete way to address economic injustice.

    Students participating in the ROC program (free of charge) will be trained and certified for high-demand trade skills, including advanced carpentry, electrical, HVAC, blueprint analysis, green building design, and computer-aided drafting.

    The Christ Church Vestry approved our commitment to the ROC in February, and the initiative was announced at a press conference on May 30.

    The ROC’s goal is to provide students valuable construction-related skills, while at the same time allowing them to obtain post-secondary college credits and industry certifications. Incorporated in The ROC program are direct relationships with employer mentors, industry-paid apprenticeships, and work-based learning opportunities with area construction companies.

    The ROC will open its doors this fall at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology. In January 2019 it will move into a facility that formerly served as a warehouse for Goodwill Industries’ retail operations. The existing 15,000 square foot building located at 1335 Alleghany Street will require $2.5 million for renovation, upfit and equipment, transforming it into a state-of-the-art training facility with laboratory bays filled with industry-specific equipment, allowing for hands-on training. There will also be “smart” classroom space for additional instruction.

    CPCC will provide all teacher instruction services via the Career & College Promise program utilizing industry-leading curriculums. Once their training programs are complete, students can choose to enter the workforce, apply for an apprenticeship, or transfer between 41 and 53 credit hours toward an associate’s degree at CPCC depending upon their area of concentration.

    Selected rising juniors from Harding and West Meck High Schools are already applying for admission to the ROC program. By 2020, 60 juniors and 60 seniors will participate each day.

    In the evening hours, CPCC and Goodwill Industries will offer similar construction-related training to adults and out-of-school youth, providing an additional path to family-sustaining wages.

    Please join us in celebrating this exciting news, made possible by your gifts to the Leap of Faith campaign. We look forward to watching this project unfold, and invite you to actively participate in supporting The ROC in the months and years to come. For more information, visit www.roccharlotte.org.

    A lot has happened through your extraordinary generosity. Our Leap of Faith began with two duplexes which became the first and only affordable housing units in Myers Park/Eastover, and will wrap up with this innovative approach to workforce development. This summer, watch for a full report on the many ways Leap of Faith is making a difference.

    Read more about this project:

    Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/latest-news/article212188984.html

    Business Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2018/05/30/goodwill-other-agencies-plan-to-rehab-warehouse-in.html

    CPCC.edu: https://www.cpcc.edu/news/leading-charlotte-organizations-partner-to-reinvigorate-construction-career-pipeline-with-new-trade-training-center