Best Practices

Centralina Builds Partnerships with Local Manufacturers through the E3 Program

The Centralina Workforce Development Board in partnership with NC State University-Industrial Extension Service and other economic development organizations have been working intensely with local manufacturers through the E3 program for over three years now.

The E3: North Carolina program for manufacturers was launched in December 2010. There has been E3 activity in the state for about a year before then through pilot programs. However, the statewide launch highlighted the rapidly growing support for this unique effort.

E3 is short for Economy, Energy, and Environment. Sustainability is the primary theme that serves as the foundation of commitment between E3 partners. The goal of E3 is to foster the concept of the triple bottom line with North Carolina manufacturers. This means helping companies move focus equally between their economic growth, environmental stewardship, and social equity (i.e. profit, planet, and people).

E3 communities are now sprouting up all across our great state, and E3 manufacturing partners are identifying opportunities to become more productive, reduce the use and cost of energy, and optimizing the management of their environmental waste streams. E3 involves a community coalition of local leaders in business and economic development, manufacturing partners and manufacturing contributors. The local coalition then leverages the many existing programs at the federal and state level along with incentives from regional groups including local utilities in a way that provides optimum targeted benefit to the manufacturing base of the E3 community. Best practices in manufacturing profitability, environmental responsibility, and workforce development are developed and shared through community E3 Sustainability Council meetings.

E3 helps manufacturers compete by streamlining processes to find gains in efficiency, production, and quality. These gains often result in cost savings, increased sales, and job growth. E3 helps manufacturers collaborate as communities, and the experts within them, understand the impact manufacturing has on their economy. By working together to address the needs and challenges faced by manufacturers, everyone benefits. E3 helps manufacturers improve by participating in a review of overall plant practices relative to international peer groups to truly understand how their operations stack up. And, E3 help manufacturers succeed as the incorporation of sustainable practices will inevitably lead to profitability and thus long-term success.

In the Centralina Workforce Development Board region, E3 efforts have been launched in three of our counties, with plans to reach all seven. We expect to have served ten companies by the end of 2013.

There is a lot of excitement around this initiative as we finally see a real commitment to refocus on strengthening our manufacturers through government policy. Look for many ways to learn of E3: North Carolina especially in those communities mentioned above, but a start would be to visit for more information.

If you would like more information on how you and your company or agency can get involved in the local E3 effort in the Centralina WDB region, please contact Vail Carter at the Centralina WDB at (704) 348-2710 or