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Economic & Workforce Development

The Economic & Workforce Development Division of Forsyth Tech promotes the personal and professional development of individuals and employee groups by offering non-credit courses and seminars. Courses and seminars vary from a few hours in length to several hundred hours, depending on their purpose and content. Courses for the general public are developed and routinely advertised. Others are developed and customized for the employee groups of client companies, and as a result, are not advertised to the general public. Economic & Workforce Development instruction generally includes a combination of lecture, demonstration and application and may be delivered in either a classroom or distance learning environment.

Economic & Workforce Development offers a broad range of educational services: basic skill and developmental assessments, GED testing, testing for professional licenses and certifications, career assessments, training needs assessments and job task analyses. Some specialized programs include the small business center, WorkKeys testing, customized training programs, human resource development, workplace literacy and English as a second language.

The Economic & Workforce Development Customer Service Center provides information about courses and how to register for them. The Center is open for registration Monday through Friday and is located on the West Campus at 1300 Bolton Street, Winston-Salem. Call the Customer Service Center at 336.761.1002 or access its services online at:

Economic & Workforce Development offers courses at the 4th Street Small Business Center, 5th Street Library Center, Main Campus, Northwest Forsyth Center, Grady P. Swisher Center, Stokes County Center, West Campus, Transportation Center and Mazie S. Woodruff Center. Courses are also conducted at other facilities throughout Forsyth and Stokes Counties.


The mission of the Economic & Workforce Development Division is to work in partnership with the community to identify and meet adult education and training needs for lifelong learning, economic development and improved quality of life.

The general program objectives are:

  • To provide expanded educational opportunities for adults who would not otherwise continue their education,
  • To provide relatively inexpensive, convenient educational opportunities for adults regardless of educational background,
  • To provide programs of vocational/technical education for employed and unemployed adults who need training or retraining,
  • To provide short courses that meet general adult and community needs,
  • To provide requested vocational and technical training programs for new and expanding industry in the Forsyth Tech service area and
  • To provide small business development, educational programs and services for establishing prospective businesses.

Admissions Requirements

Economic & Workforce Development courses and seminars are generally for adults 18 years of age and older. However, individuals 16 and 17 years of age may enroll in some courses if they first obtain approval from the public school system. Some courses require a student application, and prospective students should inquire about admission requirements for specific programs of interest. Inquiries can be made at the Economic & Workforce Development Customer Service Center at 336.761.1002.

Course Fees

Most Economic & Workforce Development courses have associated fees; such as registration, technology, specific fee and insurance; some do not. Registration fee and fee refund policies are publicized in the Schedule of Courses and on the College web site. It is important to note that in accordance with state policy, the advertised registration fee may not pertain to a course that a student wishes to take more than twice in a five-year period. If this is the case, an adjusted registration fee will be determined, and it will be the responsibility of the student to pay the adjusted fee. In addition, students attending classes on any of the College’s campuses are required to purchase a College parking decal.

Some students are exempt from paying registration fees.  For example, courses requested by the following entities that support the organizations' training needs and are on a specialized course list approved by the State Board of Community Colleges may have their registration fees waived: volunteer fire departments; municipal, county or State fire departments; volunteer EMS or rescue and lifesaving departments; municipal, county, or State EMS or rescue and lifesaving departments; and municipal, county, or State law enforcement agencies.  Individuals 65 years of age and older are also exempt from paying some registration fees.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

Economic & Workforce Development occupational extension courses are approved for continuing education units (CEUs). An occupational extension course is one that provides instruction on specific occupational skills.  CEU credit is based upon the number of hours a course is scheduled to meet. One CEU is awarded for every 10 hours, and any portion thereof, a person attends class. (For example, a course that meets for 22 hours awards 2.2 CEUs.)

Educational Programs

Adult Basic Skills

This program provides education in basic reading, writing and math skills through the Department of Adult Literacy.

The primary objectives of the program are:

  • To enable individuals to achieve greater independence in their personal lives,
  • To enhance their ability to benefit from occupational training,
  • To increase their opportunities for better and more rewarding jobs,
  • To make them better able to meet their family and community responsibilities and
  • To help business and industry use the full capabilities of their work force.

Adult basic education classes are held at various locations throughout Forsyth and Stokes counties during day and evening hours. No registration fees are charged, and some books and materials may be supplied free of charge.

Adult High School Diploma

Forsyth Tech, in cooperation with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System and the Stokes County School System, offers courses to adult students who have dropped out of high school and wish to obtain an adult high school diploma.

Adults take courses needed to satisfy North Carolina high school graduation requirements. A passing score on the high school competency test is required for graduation. The program is designed for adults 16 years old or older. Students must be officially withdrawn from their previous school for four (4) months.

There is no registration fee; however, students must purchase their own books and supplies.

Apprenticeship Programs

Economic & Workforce Development offers an electrical apprenticeship program in cooperation with the Forsyth County Electrical Contractors Association.

Apprentices are required to complete a minimum of 144 hours of instruction each year, and classes are offered during the fall and spring semesters. In addition, indentured apprentices must complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year. At the conclusion of the program, apprentices receive a journeyman’s card through the North Carolina Department of Labor.

JobsNOW! Vocational Programs

The JobsNOW! program is uniquely set up to assist those who are unemployed, seeking advancement in their current field or starting second careers.  Its purpose is to provide educational career planning and cost-effective occupational training to prepare individuals for entry-level positions or to take advantage of career advancement opportunities.

Programs are conducted Monday through Thursday, day and evening. For information, call 336.761.1002.

Community Service

Community service courses and activities are designed to contribute to a community’s overall cultural, civic and intellectual growth. Some of the more popular courses include foreign languages, quilting, dance, yoga, art, painting, crafts, photography and retirement planning; almost any course can be offered in response to community interest.

Compensatory Education

The compensatory education program provides educational opportunities that enable persons with mental disabilities to function in society at a level that will allow them to reach their full potential and maintain mastered skills. No fees are charged to the student and books and materials are supplied free of charge. Program information can be obtained by calling 336.761.1002.

Computer Applications

A wide variety of computer courses are offered online and in the classroom. Computer courses can also be customized to meet specific content and scheduling requirements of company employee groups.

Continuing Education Distance Learning

Ed2go: Affordable, convenient learning from your home or office. Continuing Education Ed2go courses are 6 weeks in length (24 hours) offering 2.4 Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) with successful completion. For a full course listing including price and date of courses, please go to A wide range of courses are available.

Customized Spanish

In a customized Spanish course, participants learn work-related phrases, questions and commands needed for them to communicate with native Spanish-speaking customers. They do not learn comprehensive Spanish but learn the vocabulary unique to specific work situations.

Customized Training Program for Business and Industry

The Customized Training Program supports the economic development efforts of the State by providing education and training opportunities for eligible businesses and industries. This program combines the New and Expanding Industry Training Program and the Customized Industry Training Program to more effectively respond to business and industry needs. The Customized Training Program also includes the former Focused Industry Training Program and offers programs and training services to assist new and existing business and industry to remain productive, profitable, and within the State.

The purpose of the Customized Training Program is to provide customized training assistance in support of full-time production and direct customer service positions created in the State of North Carolina enhancing the growth potential of companies located in the state while simultaneously preparing North Carolina’s workforce with the skills essential to successful employment in emerging industries. The program is designed to react quickly to the needs of businesses and to respect the confidential nature of proprietary processes and information within those businesses.

Emergency Services

Emergency Medical Services: Forsyth Tech offers certification courses in all levels of emergency medical services (EMS), ranging from the emergency medical technician (EMT) to the paramedic. For individuals with an EMS certification, the College offers continuing education and refresher courses and has the capability of conducting specialty courses for rescue squads.

Fire Services: In addition to offering fire and safety-related courses for business and industry, Forsyth Tech also conducts advanced firefighter and rescue training for fire departments in Forsyth and Stokes counties. A wide range of continuing education fire services and specialty courses are also available.

Law Enforcement Training: To prepare individuals for careers in law enforcement, Forsyth Tech offers certification courses ranging from detention officer training to basic law enforcement training. The College also conducts law enforcement specialty and continuing education courses for private security agencies and city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Employee Health and Safety

Forsyth Tech offers several courses in employee health and safety. Several courses are developed to specifically meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and/or occupational credentialing requirements.

Employee Training Programs

Each employee training program is client-driven; that is, course content, schedule, methodology and location are based on client needs and preferences. Training programs can be developed to upgrade the skills of existing employees or to recruit and train participants for potential employment with specific companies. Forsyth Tech’s employee training programs are developed to make a longlasting contribution to company growth and productivity. Contact 336.734.7738 to request a customized employee training program.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

The ESL program provides instruction for foreign-born adults who have limited English proficiency. Students may attend seven levels of classes to acquire skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing and comprehension of the English language and acculturation to the society of the United States. No registration fee is required.

General Education Development (GED)

The tests of general education development (GED), developed by the American Council of Education for persons who have not graduated from high school, are designed to measure, as nearly as possible, the skills and concepts generally associated with four years of regular high school instruction. A small fee is charged for taking the GED test. The test is offered in English and Spanish.

Upon successful completion of the GED tests, a high school diploma equivalency is issued by the North Carolina Community College System. Forsyth Tech is one of the 83 official GED testing centers in the state and is the only one in Forsyth County. Forsyth Tech offers GED preparation classes at selected sites in Forsyth and Stokes counties.

Health Occupations

Forsyth Tech Continuing Education offers courses to prepare individuals for entry-level positions in the health fields. All courses are conducted according to the guidelines of the appropriate state agency and meet the requirements for employment training and recertification or licensing. Popular courses include Certified Nursing Assistant I and II, Personal Care Assistant, Activity Director, Massage Therapy, Medical Office Coding, Medical Accounting, Phlebotomy and Medication Aide.

Human Resources Development (HRD)

The mission of Forsyth Tech’s human resources development program is to strengthen the employment and educational opportunities of the county’s residents who are unemployed or underemployed. The primary goal is to help these individuals develop the essential skills needed for securing and maintaining employment.

Industrial Technology

Industrial technology courses are continually updated to enable employees to learn the use of new equipment and processes. Courses are conducted according to certification, federal or state guidelines to train company employees in specialized techniques, OSHA and/or systems operations.

Institute for Human Resource Management Education

Forsyth Tech’s Institute for Human Resource Management Education offers several options for human resource management training: HR management certificate; SHRM Exam Prep; and Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) recertification courses.

The International Center of Forsyth Tech

The International Center of Forsyth Tech is located at the Forsyth County Public Library, 660 West 5th Street in Winston-Salem. This Center serves those who live in Forsyth and Stokes Counties, but whose native country is not the USA. It is a center for education, orientation, guidance, and support for new immigrants while emphasizing English as a Second Language, Adult Basic Education and entrepreneurship classes.

Languages and Cultures

A variety of language courses including occupational Spanish, English as a Second Language (ESL) and conversational French, German, Italian, Arabic and Spanish are offered to meet both professional and personal needs. Language courses can be customized to suit the special needs of a company or organization. Course content, schedule, methodology, class location and length of study are based on client needs and preferences.

Licensure and Certification Courses

Forsyth Tech is authorized to conduct certain licensing and certification courses required in North Carolina. In addition, state and national exam preparation courses are available as well as annual recertifying courses and continuing education courses to meet requirements for maintaining licensure.

Pre-Employment Training

Forsyth Tech conducts pre-employment training programs for client companies to train a pool of qualified applicants for specific job vacancies. Companies can take applications and conduct interviews near the completion of the pre-employment program.

Small Business Center

The Small Business Center (SBC) provides counseling, information resources and educational programs to help current and prospective business owners begin or maintain a business.

Educational Services

Basic Skill Assessments

It is often useful to determine the basic skill levels of employees prior to developing a customized training program. Validated assessment instruments are used to identify the math, reading, language and spelling competence of employees. The information gained can be used to determine if the basic skill levels of employees need to be upgraded for them to become fully job functional. The basic skill assessments can be done in either English or Spanish, and classes to help employees improve their basic skills can be conducted on site.

Educational Career Center - JobLink Affiliate

The Educational Career Center - JobLink Affiliate helps continuing education students and the general public to:

  • Develop a personalized educational career plan
  • Select Economic & Workforce Development courses and certification programs
  • Attain information about credit certificate, diploma and degree programs
  • Review college admission and financial aid applications
  • Apply for training vouchers and other special services
  • Conduct a job search
  • Prepare a resume
  • Enroll in education and career preparation workshops
  • Utilize on-site services of the Employment Security Commission, Experiment in Self Reliance, Goodwill Industries and Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Administer WorkKeys Assessments

The center is open Monday through Friday and is located in Room 111, West Campus at 1300 Bolton Street, Winston-Salem. Call the center at 336.734.7748. Services are free of charge.

Job Task Analyses

A multi-step process, job task analyses are conducted to identify the tasks associated with specific jobs and the knowledge and skills needed for employees to perform the tasks adequately. Job task analyses provide insight into why some employees perform adequately while others perform inadequately and provide sound data for developing customized training programs.

Training Needs Assessments

Obtaining input from managers and different employee groups about what they perceive as their training needs is an important first step in developing customized training programs. The primary purpose of conducting a training needs assessment is to identify gaps between the current and desired levels of employee performance, knowledge and skills. The secondary purpose is to gain an understanding of strategies that can be used to close the gap.