Because SchermCo tends to work in the education sector through the family empowerment and social impact work, many folks don’t realize those same skills are also used to foster workforce development programming for local governments.

The Renewable Energy and Efficiency Workforce (RENEW) Training Program in Charlotte is a recent example of this. A partnership between the City of Charlotte, Goodwill, the Urban League of the Carolinas and SchermCo, RENEW had a goal of placing 60 Charlotte residents into entry-level HVAC and related technical positions.


  • 106 total participants
  • 90 participants completed the training
  • 60 were employed upon completion
  • 47 were employed in the HVAC industry
  • 13 were employed in a HVAC-related industry
  • Average salary was $17.78


  • 164 total participants
  • 70 participants employed in the HVAC industry
  • 15 were employed in a comparable industry
  • Average salary was $17.78


Emily Cantrell, the previous program creator for the City of Charlotte, began conceiving of and forming the RENEW program in 2019, just a few months before the pandemic was to hit the U.S. in earnest. The massive job layoffs which resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic created an even greater sense of urgency to help folks find not only jobs, but long-term careers.

The city already had a successful construction skills training program and they wanted to expand the idea. “Because of the city’s movement toward sustainability and because we wanted to offer the opportunity for higher paying industry jobs, we looked to the HVAC industry as the occupational skillset that we wanted to base the program around,” Cantrell says.

Logistically, the HVAC industry made sense. Charlotte has a huge residential and commercial property base, all of which require HVACs. The demand is high and the jobs pay well. Cantrell found that within 5 years of an HVAC year in the Charlotte area, individuals can be making between $70-80,000, with or without a college degree.


Creating such a program required the collaboration of several businesses and organizations in Charlotte. Part of SchermCo’s role in the program was coordinating with each of the collaborators and managing the logistics of the project.

Trane Technologies, a manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and refrigeration systems headquartered in the city, signed on to be the employer sponsor of the program. They committed resources and jobs upon completion of the program.

Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont and The Urban League of the Carolinas were the second piece of the puzzle. The organizations came under contract with the city to provide the training for the participants. This included recruiting participants, providing support services – such as transportation, resume building and interview prep – and ensuring the curriculum being taught featured skills which were in demand.

Of course, another piece required for the program was funding, which came from the City of Charlotte. The City was committed not only to paying the instructors and for the equipment, but also to paying the participants $15 per hour for their time while they were in the training.

“We wanted to provide the equivalent of a minimum wage job or above so someone could take the time and do this,” Cantrell says.

In total, the City of Charlotte invested approximately $543,271 from CARES funds to support the RENEW initiative in the program’s first year in 2020. In addition to CARES funds, the City of Charlotte granted $433,984 in general funds to support this work.


The SchermCo team was brought on by Emily to play a project manager role for RENEW.

“These programs require a lot of coordination and collaboration to be successfully implemented, and I knew SchermCo would be the type of firm to successfully manage all those assets,” she says.

This role involved everything from tracking participant outcomes to career event coordination. This meant working alongside Goodwill and the Urban League of Charlotte to coordinate career fairs, Mentor Mondays, lunch and learn programs, hiring events and more.

Another large part of SchermCo’s role involved the management of the Corporate Advisory Council (CAC). This was a 150+ member council of industry, corporate and non-profit partners to connect employers directly with RENEW participants. SchermCo hosted meetings once a quarter with the CAC and helped connect participants to relevant CAC members for career opportunities.

Other duties for the SchermCo team involved handling many of the administrative tasks related to running a program of this size. This included invoicing, payment reconciliation, and generally keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes. It also included monthly and weekly check-ins with the City of Charlotte, United League of the Carolinas, and Goodwill to support outcomes tracking, coordinate CAC involvement, and troubleshoot any employment-related barriers.

SchermCo is proud to be a part of launching the RENEW program in Charlotte, and like Cantrell, believes this type of workforce development can and should be replicated elsewhere.
“I think it created a model for success in the community that I hope is replicated across other industries,” Cantrell says. “The model has a lot of potential and the blood, sweat, and tears in getting it off the ground has demonstrated this collaborative approach can make a difference.”

Workforce Development

City of Charlotte + Workforce Development Grant Distribution

  • Scope: Our team partnered with the City of Charlotte to provide complete implementation support for a critical workforce development grant administration project. Our team served as the project managers to ensure the program’s overall success. We led the process development, built related documents, created the 5-person review committee, and owned all other necessary actions required to ensure a clear and transparent process. 
  • Results: This project resulted in the distribution of $1.5M to six Charlotte-based workforce development organizations.
  • Time: June 2022 – November 2022
  • Location: Charlotte, NC

Goodwill – Service Model Prototypes & Earned Revenue Expansion

  • Scope: Our team partnered with Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont to provide a series of change management and earned revenue expansion facilitations. We leveraged our team members and skill sets to offer six tailored sessions for 8+ executive leaders of Goodwill as they sought to create new service models to support organizational growth. Additionally, our team conducted small group coaching sessions and stakeholder meetings to support the scope of work further. 
  • Results: This project resulted in Goodwill creating two new and distinct lines of service. Further, Goodwill submitted two proposals for revenue within four months of completing the project.  
  • Time: December 2021 – July 2022 
  • Location: Charlotte, NC

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