Last year, the annual Edge Factor event was held in person at Gaston College, but this year the community can take part in this partnership with the Lincoln Economic Development Association virtually. 

“Last year, we bused about 800 eighth graders to the auditorium at Gaston College for the live event,” John Dancoff, LEDA business development manager said. “We weren’t able to do that this year. We’re pretty pleased with what we came up with. Each class watched a keynote presentation and then were assigned to go and watch career opportunities.”

There was also a scavenger hunt that students could take part in and after that was done, the students were able to offer feedback. Some of the comments included “After watching the video I realized how many options I had right here in my own county that I didn’t even know about. I also loved the fact that you can take certain courses and things while you’re still in high school, so you can already have a head start.” “The key message I took away was that there are a lot of opportunities in my community that can teach me how to work in certain fields, such as construction. Another message I got was that the industries we have are changing. A smaller message I learned was that there are a lot of different jobs for construction.” “Don’t shy away from pressure and fail so you can learn from it. I think the message means that we should not be afraid to do things in fear of failing because when you fail you come back ten times better.”

Of those students who attended, 96.1% of students said this event equipped them to explore career opportunities, 22% of students rated this virtual event a perfect 10 out of 10 - they loved the event, 56% of students rated this event 8+ out of 10, 67.6% of students said they loved the keynote presentation - rating it 8+ out of 10 and 38.1% of students said they were most interested in healthcare, 18.9% said manufacturing and 15.5% mentioned construction.

Now, the Edge Factor is open to anyone in Lincoln County who wants to go online and look at career opportunities available in the county. The link is https://edgefactor.com/kickstart-your-future

“LEDA’s goal is to get more kids to consider signing up for the advanced manufacturing courses when they pick their high school pathways,” Dancoff said. “We’re also interested in students throughout Lincoln County finding out what careers are available right here in the county.”

Participation in the Edge Factor is free to anyone in Lincoln County. There are videos about what programs Gaston College offers, career training opportunities in the county, local career opportunities and an exploration of different career paths, 

The purpose of the Edge Factor website is to build the community and strengthen local economy. It’s intended that communities use Edge Factor for everything from skill development, to career pathway planning, and connecting with local businesses.

For more information on Edge Factor, contact LEDA at (704) 732-1511 or via email at leda@lincolneda.org. The Edge Factor main website is https://www.edgefactor.com/lincolnnc

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