by Jordan Green

Monitoring the economic pulse of the Triad


A job in this economy seems almost like a miracle. It might seem counterintuitive amidst stubbornly high unemployment rates in Forsyth, Guilford and surrounding counties, but there is actually a demand for aircraft manufacturing and machining workers in the Triad, and in many cases training can be hand at no cost to the applicant.

The state of North Carolina is funding two 14-week courses in aircraft manufacturing at GTCC, one during the day from Aug. 16 through late November and one at night from Sept. 12 through mid-December. Tuition and materials expenses will be covered by the grant.

Joel Leonard, a workforce development consultant and writer of “Maintenance Crisis Song,” told YES! Weekly he could not confirm or deny that the trainees would have the opportunity for placement in positions with HondaJet or Timco at Piedmont Triad International Airport.

Applications are available at, a website jointly maintained by several workforce development boards, including the Greensboro/High Point/ Guilford County Job Training Consortium in Greensboro and the Northwest Piedmont Job Training Consortium Workforce Development Board in Winston-Salem.

The website also advertises a 17-week course in machinist training at GTCC this fall. Scholarships are available.

GTCC student Valan Ellerbee sells it for the community college in a promotional video.

“I think people should come here because the teachers are very knowledgeable, you have all the equipment you need, and if you don’t know anything, they’re gonna get you to knowing everything,” he says.