Originally published by the EDA Public Affairs Department. To read more, please visit https://www.eda.gov/news/press-releases/2020/02/03/clinton-nc.htm

[WASHINGTON] – On February 3, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.6 million grant to Sampson Community College of Clinton, North Carolina to increase the number of skilled workers available to meet regional trucking industry needs by expanding the college’s truck driving school. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act designated Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $647,345 in local funds and is expected to help create 291 jobs, retain 243 jobs, and generate more than $13.5 million in private investment.

“The truck driving industry in North Carolina is growing, and Sampson Community College is perfectly positioned to train drivers for in-demand jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The project’s location in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone will help increase job opportunities and support the expansion of businesses in an area hit hard by hurricanes Florence, Michael, and Matthew.”

“EDA is committed to ensuring that businesses have access to the skilled workforce they need to succeed,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Dr. John Fleming. “The expanded truck driving school at Sampson Community College will increase the supply of skilled workers available to meet regional industry needs and the school’s location in an Opportunity Zone will help attract additional private investment to the area.”

PHOTO/CREDIT: Frederick Stamey, Director of Transportation Programs at Sampson Community College. (Michael Blankenship)

“Today, there are more job openings than unemployed Americans,” said Senator Burr. “That’s thanks in part to historic tax reform and the creation of Opportunity Zones. It’s our responsibility to ensure Americans have the skills they need to work and compete in the 21st century. This $2.6 million grant will do just that, by better preparing students to meet the growing needs of today’s truck driving industry. I applaud the Department of Commerce for recognizing the benefits of investing in the Sampson Community College’s truck driving school and supporting greater economic development in the region.”

“Sampson Community College’s truck driving school is an important resource to train North Carolina’s workforce and ensure the growing truck-driving industry has qualified people for open positions,” said Senator Tillis. “This $2.6 million grant will allow the school to continue to grow and provide much needed funds in an designated Opportunity Zone through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017. I want to thank Secretary Ross and President Trump for continuing to prioritize workforce training and job growth that will help families in North Carolina.” The funding announced on Monday goes to a designated Opportunity Zone, created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas.

About Sampson Community College: Sampson Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, located in Clinton, NC in Sampson County. The college offers many programs to include two-year degrees, college transfer, continuing education and workforce development options, and early college education.