The City of New Bern and Craven Community College are working on a project that promises to boost job training and entrepreneurial business development, as well as transform landmark buildings and a gateway into the community. The city and the community college worked together to secure a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The grant will go toward the renovation of the city’s old electric generation plant and warehouse on First Street, as the city-owned buildings are transformed into a regional workforce development and training center. A separate building on the 4.6-acre site will house a start-up space for entrepreneurs.
At this site, students will receive training and certification in trades such as small engine repair, manufacturing and food services. Local entrepreneurs will have space to put their business ideas to work, with the ability to design and create products, and sell them to the public. Upon the award of the grant, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Jay Williams predicted the project would prove a success for the state’s economy by “allowing entrepreneurial companies to grow and providing workers with the skills they need to succeed.”
Although the grant conditions require further approvals by city and county officials, and a lease agreement between the parties must be finalized, renovation and site work is expected to begin this spring.