CastleBranch Announces Inaugural Professional Readiness Program for New NHHS Grads
Program Bridges Equity Gap, Strengthens Talent Pipeline, Provides Mentorship
June 8, 2021
WILMINGTON, NC—On June 7, CastleBranch, one of Wilmington’s premier employers, launched an important new education, mentorship and career exploration program after more than a year of laying its foundation. Known as the Professional Readiness Program, the initiative will provide 10 recent New Hanover High School graduates with an opportunity to begin their career journeys at CastleBranch, where they will explore different roles and opportunities within the company while completing a fully funded associate degree at Cape Fear Community College.
To Brett Martin, CastleBranch’s CEO, and Joe Finley, CastleBranch’s co-founder, creating a positive impact within the community has always been paramount, and the Professional Readiness Program is a significant and exciting avenue to pursue this goal.
“The Wilmington business community has a long–standing equity gap, and we must approach solutions to this disparity with honest vision and clarity of purpose,” Martin said. “Creating opportunities builds connections, networks and prosperity. When this foundation is strong, it empowers everyone in the community.”
The Professional Readiness Program is a collaboration between CastleBranch, New Hanover County, Cape Fear Community College and Cape Fear Future, an initiative of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. While the program lasts just over two years, the enrollees’ career opportunities at CastleBranch don’t end there. After receiving one–on–one mentorship and career guidance through CastleBranch and CFCC, and earning an associate degree, each individual is invited to retain employment, or to pursue another opportunity, continuing on their path to and through professional life.
The goal of the program is twofold. CastleBranch aims to nurture local talent and provide career discovery and support for all participants, while on a larger scale, create a program model that other Wilmington businesses can follow.
“I am excited about the opportunities that will come from this innovative program, how it will help students move ahead into successful careers, and provide CastleBranch with a direct talent pipeline to build their workforce,” said Julia Olson-Boseman, Chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. “Building a strong, diverse local talent pool is critical to attract and retain high–quality employers in our community, and I appreciate the collaboration across the public and private sectors to make this program possible.”
With a growing team of more than 500 professionals, CastleBranch’s people are accustomed to welcoming new faces through their doors and celebrating the diversity and creativity of their team. But the inaugural class of the Professional Readiness Program represents something unique. These students will have the unusual opportunity to work, earn money, explore career paths, gain experience and receive career mentorship while concurrently completing an associate degree. Poonam Kahlon, CastleBranch’s Director of Talent Development, emphasized that this will give the program participants a robust and early start to their transition to and through professional life.
“Many individuals in our community face systemic obstacles to obtaining career stability,” Kahlon said. “We are thrilled to be a part of a solution that will improve the talent pipeline in our community, create mentorship opportunities, and help students find and maintain a solid, guided pathway to a career they are passionate about.”
Media Contact: Daniel Schechtman, CastleBranch Director of Communications
Located in Wilmington, N.C., CastleBranch is a compliance management and infectious disease screening company serving over 17,700 healthcare programs, tens of millions of individuals, and tens of thousands of employers, schools and healthcare facilities nationwide by verifying identity, tracking over 35 million medical documents, and helping individuals transition to and through professional life. CastleBranch has 20+ years of experience, employs over 500 team members and has a long track record of providing innovative solutions for complex problems.