Lincoln County, NC

One word comes to mind when we think about Lincoln: Trailblazers. The team at LEDA have strategized, dreamed, and learned alongside the Edge Factor team, as together, we have partnered on groundbreaking workforce development initiatives.


Meet the Team

It all started in July 2015, when Kara Brown from the Lincoln Economic Development Association saw Edge Factor’s Rock MFG DAY Kit and asked, “How can we get Jeremy Bout to present?” Since then, we have partnered closely in many different ways, to impact the Lincoln County community and inspire students to pursue local career pathways!

Key Challenges

Lincoln County’s unemployment rate is ranked the 6th lowest in the state, which is awesome, but it means that LEDA needs to build the future workforce pipeline and inspire students to pursue local career pathways after graduation. Their #1 need: To encourage the next generation of manufacturers.

Industry Painpoints:

1. Build the manufacturing workforce pipeline

2.  Instill Soft Skills

2.  Raise awareness of career opportunities

Education Challenges:

1.  Recruit new CTE students

2.  Inspire students towards local careers

3.  Reach parents + change perceptions

"Jeremy Bout of Edge Factor emphasizes to his audience that things are still made in the USA with innovation and technology."
Kara Brown
Business Development Manager / LEDA
"Bosch is proud to sponsor the Edge Factor program, which challenges our students and prepares them for the future. On behalf of Bosch, we are delighted to be part of this exciting opportunity."
David Lee
Director of Lincolnton Converting / Customizing & Packaging Center, Bosch
"Our community needs to do whatever is needed to keep our talent and attract other talent to Lincoln County."
Pete Oakes
Division Manager / Hydac
"The 8th grade presentations and the student-parent presentation provided by Edge Factor made more students aware of our local industries and future career possibilities!"
Dr. Cale Sain
CTE Director & Principal / School of Technology, Lincoln County Schools
"Edge Factors criteria and structure can drive change in our school system and in our community to retain more young, intelligent and dedicated people in our county and within the state."
Pete Oakes
Division Manager / Hydac

Solutions & Results

We started in 2016 by hosting a BIG Live event to kickoff the 10 schools’ Edge Factor for Education memberships and get students excited about local manufacturing careers! Thousands of students and parents attended and in the afternoon, we hosted an Interactive Workshop for educators to learn best practices on how to implement the tools in their classrooms. Today, 8 businesses have signed up for the Edge Factor for Business platform and are working to create short videos, called TouchPoints, to highlight the careers and STEAM that come alive in their companies.

  • 2015-18: LEDA hosted 2 Edge Factor Live Events for 300+ parents
  • 2015-18: LEDA hosted 3 Edge Factor Live Events for 2500+ students
  • 2018: LEDA hosted an Edge Factor Live Event in Spanish
  • 2017-18: 500+ new CTE students enrolled in CTE programs
  • 2018 8 businesses signed up for Edge Factor for Business memberships

What's Next?

Edge Factor continues to partner with community stakeholders to move this integrated workforce development initiative forward! Here’s what’s coming up next:

Feb 11-15, 2019   –   Edge Factor Live event hosted by Gaston College for local Students and Parents.

Ongoing   –   Help businesses create TouchPoints (videos) of their team members and the STEAM topics that come alive in their company, for students and parents to watch.


Special Thanks

First and foremost, thank you to the LEDA team! Thank you to our trailblazer, Kara Brown for sharing in our many strategic sessions and for walking this road with us. Your vision for Lincoln County and desire for groundbreaking solutions empowers us to create a lasting impact together and course correct as needed. Thank you to Cliff Brumfield for your leadership to the LEDA team and John Dancoff for being the feet on the ground – you are fundamental to acheiving success. And of course, thank you to Dr. Cale Sain from Lincoln School of Technology and your team for the voice and feedback you have provided on behalf of educators and for being such a critical component in the rollout.

In the News

Lincoln Herald / February 2016

This article, “SPARK Session At Citizen Center Draws Big Crowd” talks about the impact of an Edge Factor Live event for students and parents, hosted by LEDA!  (learn more)

LEDA / February 2016

LEDA announces new partnership with Edge Factor in the article “Inspiring the Next Generation of Makers in North Carolina” and their sponsorship of Edge Factor resources for Lincoln County Middle and High Schools. (learn more)

LinkedIn / 2017

Lincoln County students fight for donuts and in the process learn about career pathways in technical education. (learn more)

Get in Touch

Looking to get your community on board? Drop us a line and we’ll help you identify solutions and map out what implementation would look like.

Community Contact: Larissa Hofman



(716) 805-3343 ext 406