House candidate Coleman hosts job skills roundtable

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ROCKY MOUNT — Linda Coleman, a Democratic congressional candidate challenging Republican U.S. Rep. George Holding, held a roundtable discussion Thursday centered on closing North Carolina’s skills gap.

“North Carolina’s economy is quickly changing, and I believe it’s time to send leaders to Washington who understand the importance of ensuring our workers are trained for the jobs of tomorrow,” Coleman said in a statement.

Participants in the discussion included Nash County Commissioner Fred Belfield; Bronson Williams, a Rocky Mount businessman; Ivana Stevens, Nash Community College career pathways and transitions coordinator and vice chairwoman of the Nash County Democratic Party; and Kevin Jones, a transportation consultant and Nash County Democratic Party vice chairman.

The skills gap refers to a lack of qualified candidates for vacant jobs that require specialized education and training.

Coleman said she wanted to start a conversation on “how North Carolina can close our skills gap and give the workforce and our businesses the tools they will need in order to thrive in our new economy.”

Coleman’s career in human resources spans more than 30 years and includes leadership positions in the North Carolina Community College System and state agriculture and administration departments. Former Gov. Bev Perdue appointed her the director of state personnel.

She was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2016, losing to second-term Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest.

The 2nd Congressional District stretches from western Wilson County to suburban Wake County.

Holding, a prosecutor who previously served as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina, was first elected to Congress in 2012 and is running for his fourth term. He faces a primary challenge from Republican candidate Allen Chesser.

Both U.S. House seats representing Wilson County will be contested in November. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-Wilson, faces a challenge in the 1st Congressional District from Durham businessman Roger Allison, a Republican.