Good Jobs, Great Cities Spotlight: Monroe, NC


  • McKinzie McGuire
March 29, 2024 - (3 min read)

In May of 2023, Monroe, North Carolina, was selected for the inaugural Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy, a first-of-its-kind national technical assistance initiative and partnership between NLC and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.  The Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy is designed to support city leaders and their local partners as they build and scale equitable pathways to quality, high-demand jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing. Along with 15 other cities, Monroe has participated in monthly coaching sessions and peer learning calls as well as hosted the NLC and DOL for a two-day workshop and Mayor’s Symposium.

Prior to Monroe’s participation in the Academy, the city had never convened its local manufacturing employers to understand the workforce development challenges they were experiencing. Teresa Campo, Community Development Manager for the City of Monroe, noted that the Good Jobs, Great Cities framework “is a crucial component that we have been missing in bringing collaborative services and job/training opportunities to our residents.”

Less than a year after the Academy began, the city of Monroe announced the launch of MonroeWorks, a campaign, and microsite that connects residents and job seekers to quality manufacturing pathways and community partners offering wraparound supports, which could include assistance with childcare, transportation, business etiquette, adult literacy, housing, medical or dental care, clothing, and other related services. serves as the cornerstone of this initiative, offering a centralized platform designed to empower residents, employers, and community providers. Via the MonroeWorks website, individuals can explore the transformative power of training programs and access vital resources such as local job boards and networking opportunities.

Ron Mahle, Existing Industry Manager at the Monroe-Union County Economic Development Commission, noted that the Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy, “This initiative has the potential to change the lives of job seekers who are overcoming various challenges by connecting those individuals with myriad resources within our community’s ‘caring economy’.”  The city of Monroe, leveraging the Good Jobs, Great Cities framework (pictured below), is strengthening policy and practice by intentionally building connections to supportive services for local job seekers and workers as well as connecting to the care economy, which includes childcare, healthcare, and mental health.

Chris Rivera, the Vice President of Business and Workforce Solutions at South Piedmont Community College, shared that his college has “witnessed the community’s commitment to equipping individuals with essential skills and resources, fostering economic resilience, and promoting inclusivity.  Looking ahead, South Piedmont remains committed to further expanding access to education opportunities that lead to meaningful waged occupations, empowering even more individuals to thrive in the workforce and contribute to the enduring prosperity of our community.”

The launch of MonroeWorks marks a significant step toward the city of Monroe’s goals for their participation in the Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy.

About the Author

McKinzie McGuire

About the Author

McKinzie McGuire is a Postsecondary and Workforce Success Senior Program Specialist at the National League of Cities.