The MountainWest workforce is not unlike others in economic districts across the country of a similar size, population demographic, and mix of employment. We have a local workforce with a high level of specialization that has emerged in response to a growing tourism economy, a manufacturing presence, and emerging sectors that are yet to be tapped.

Understanding a local workforce is critical to understanding the true embedded capacity and potential of a local economy. Categorizing employment according to industry classification is a common means to assess an economy; however, knowing worker occupations and skills can often provide a deeper and more realistic understanding of the potential of a regional economy. Industries may expand or decline, whereas workers retain their learned occupational knowledge and skills.

While our workforce and their area of specialization has grown in the Food Preparation & Serving and Building and Grounds Maintenance groups, we remain strong in our skills and worker knowledge that will allow our region to be the home to new, more advanced industry sectors. In addition, our strong partnerships with Western Carolina University and community colleges within the MountainWest region allow us to facilitate customized workforce training to suit new employer needs.

When we compare the proportion of high-skilled workers in our region to those nationwide, we see that our workforce is strong in eight worker skills, six of which are in the Technical Skills group. Among individual skills, Operation and Control had the highest score, meaning the local proportion of workers highly skilled in Operation and Control is roughly 20 percent greater in our region than in the nation.

Specifically, there are 11,019 workers highly skilled in Operation and Control. To employers seeking workers with this skill, the SWC will offer a significant pool of candidates relative to the size of the economy.


In short, the MountainWest region has room for and welcomes growth in the broader categories of advanced services, manufacturing opportunities and forest and wood products cluster support. More importantly, we have a workforce that possesses the knowledge and skills to grow with your industry.

Get to know us. You’ll like the long view you see here.


The Southwestern Workforce Development Board
For workforce board, regional plan, initiatives, programs and services.

NC Department of Commerce
Division of Workforce Solutions
For job seeker and business customer programs and services.

NCWorks Online
For job seekers and business employment services and programs.(Locate Center, Job Search, Job Listings, LMI)

NC Department of Commerce - Labor and Economic Analysis Division
For labor market information.

Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Business hiring incentive.

NC Careers
Links to: Reality Check, NC Star Jobs, NC Career Clusters Guide, Occupational Profiles, Occupations Requiring a license, Staffing Patterns, NC Tower, Employment Projections

NCWorks Certified Work Ready Communities