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Golden LEAF awards HCC $1.45 Million to Support Economic Growth


The Golden LEAF Foundation recently awarded Haywood Community College $1.45 million to upgrade facilities to prepare individuals for high-demand infrastructure and construction fields, including energy, communication, transportation, and construction industries. Since early 2021, Golden LEAF has been working in the Western Prosperity Zone through the Community-Based Grants Initiative.

This initiative is a competitive process that focuses on a region and is designed to identify projects aligned with Golden LEAF’s priority areas of job creation and economic investment, workforce preparedness, and agriculture that are ready for implementation and have the potential to provide a significant impact.

At HCC, the funds will be used to begin programs for electrical lineworker, truck driving and broadband technicians. Each of these programs will provide short-term training that will lead to careers that are in high demand and provide a solid career, all while supporting our local communities. 

“The development of a skilled and ready workforce is critical to the economic wellbeing of a community,” said Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton. “Golden LEAF is pleased to partner with Haywood Community College to develop programs that will lead directly to employment opportunities.”

The Electrical Lineworker course will give students the skills and knowledge to join the workforce after completion of a 16-week course. Participants will learn the knowledge and skills to install, maintain, and repair power transmission lines.

This career has many opportunities for employment locally and across our region. Salaries are very competitive, with lineworker salaries at double the average household income.

The new Truck Driver Training Program will start in late summer of 2023. In this 9-week course, students can earn Class A and B commercial driver licenses and will find ready employment to help to address the shortage in our region and across the nation. 

As the facilities are updated, HCC will be positioned to offer broadband technician training. This course will be especially useful in helping to bring broadband to rural communities.

Funds from Golden LEAF will be used to redesign space to allow for these new programs to accommodate large trucks and an outdoor climbing lab for hands-on training.

Over two decades, Golden LEAF has funded 1,989 projects totaling $1.18 billion. The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For more than 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

For more information about these new programs at HCC, visit or call 828-627-2821.




Haywood Community College (HCC) is part of the North Carolina Community College System and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Founded in 1965, it is an open-door institution with the mission of serving the educational needs and economic growth of our community by promoting lifelong student learning and success. This includes programs for Haywood County high school students through Career and College Promise and Haywood Early College. The college campus, a designated arboretum, boasts one of the most beautiful college campuses in the state with an iconic mill pond, seasonal dahlia and rhododendron gardens, an 18-hole disc golf course and a walking trail.