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Commissioners receive presentation about CCOG, its benefits to the county

The Stanly County commissioners recently listened to a presentation from Geraldine Gardner, executive director of Centralina Council of Governments, about the services and programs it provides.

According to its website, CCOG was formed in 1968 and is one of 16 regional councils in North Carolina established by the General Assembly to meet the region’s needs on government issues. The organization leads regional collaboration and works to expand opportunities and improve quality of life for each of the nine counties it serves: Stanly, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Anson, Gaston, Lincoln, Iredell and Rowan.

Gardner, who has served as the executive director since January of last year, said she met with County Manager Andy Lucas and Commissioner Zach Almond, who is a delegate on the CCOG board, during her first month on the job to learn more about what was happening in the county.

CCOG helps deliver senior services to each of the counties, thanks to its Centralina Area Agency on Aging. The organization collaborates with service providers across the counties on a host of needs, including delivering home meals to providing transportation services to older adults.

The organization has seven regional priorities across its nine-county jurisdiction — growth, mobility, health, economy, talent, innovations and operations.

Gardner mentioned that Stanly County “has a rich tradition of volunteerism and support for older adults,” adding CCOG would love to work more with the county on how to continue to provide support for senior services.

CCOG also operates the N.C. Career Work Center in Albemarle as part of its Centralina Workforce Development Board. Gardner said last year the center served almost 4,000 community members and worked with about 475 businesses.

“I’m really excited to report that our team there had much success, with over 80 percent of the individuals who engaged with our services receiving full-time employment as a result of their engagement with us,” she said.

CCOG partners with local governments and provides services to them, including trainings. Gardner and another CCOG officials recently facilitated a strategic planning session with the City of Albemarle staff and council members as they discussed several investment priorities for the upcoming budget.

Gardner said her organization has also collaborated with Stanly around economic development grants from the federal government to support infrastructure and economic development objectives, such as a major employer moving to the county or an expansion of Stanly Community College.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned spending probably about 15,000 miles on the road this past year out and about in our region is that every local community and elected official sees a different value proposition as part of this organization,” she said. “So it’s really important to us that we are meeting people where they are and responding to those local needs.”

For more information about the organization and the many services it provides, visit centralina.org.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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