NCTO President and CEO Kim Glas was at Gaston College earlier this week to voice support for a Memorandum of Understanding signed between North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, Gaston College and Catawba Valley Community College and Honduran-based Central American Technological University (UNITEC).
“The intention of this MOU is to help develop the next generation workforce both here in the Unites States and in Honduras with the hope of expanding this to other parts of Central America with the necessary funding,” Glas says in this clip.
The groundbreaking initiative will launch a series of educational workforce development programs, ranging from training and certificate programs to undergraduate and graduate degrees in textile-related areas of study.
Notably, the MOU has the support of the U.S. Department of State, which issued a statement of support on Monday in conjunction with a visit by Jose W. Fernandez, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment.
Jennifer Knight, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Textiles, Consumer Goods and Materials at the U.S. Department of Commerce and Hector Zelaya, private secretary to Honduran President Xiomara Castro also traveled to the event in support of the new initiative.
The partnership will benefit businesses and workers in North Carolina, Honduras and Central America, and enhance the industry’s ability to compete in the global marketplace.
A co-production chain has been forged between Central America and the U.S. Those links are due to the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which allows textiles and apparel from Central America to enter the U.S. duty free. It has generated $12.6 billion in two-way trade in the textile sector and now supports more than 1 million jobs in the U.S. and the region – and 36,000 in North Carolina alone.
North Carolina businesses and higher education institutions are partnering with their counterparts in Honduras and Central America and showing how to expand their reach. The next generation of textile workers – and the communities that prosper from a thriving textile industry – will be the beneficiaries.