FOREST CITY — February 13 marks the kickoff of Edge Factor’s partnership with the Rutherford County Schools and Polk County Schools, as founder Jeremy Bout will give an interactive presentation to eighth grade students from both school systems detailing the innovative web video platform.

“As more businesses continue to discover our unique part of North Carolina, we need to make sure that we have a diverse and capable workforce to meet the needs of the current and prospective employers,” said Steve Lockett, director of economic, community and workforce development at Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC).

“Edge Factor takes our workforce development efforts to the next level as this platform will educate and train our young people for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and skilled trade jobs, thereby paving the way for the future career opportunities right here in Rutherford and Polk counties,” Lockett said.

IPDC obtained the grant funding for Edge Factor for use by the two school systems as well as Isothermal Community College (ICC). The kickoff event will be at the Foundation, on the campus of ICC beginning at 10 a.m. The event is geared toward eighth graders from Rutherford and Polk counties, and is also open to the public.

Patty Thompson of IPDC says Edge Factor offers comprehensive insight into what sort of manufacturing career options are available, and also trains students in “soft skills” employers are seeking.

“Edge Factor educates, and gets students excited about career options,” Thompson said.

By bringing Edge Factor’s innovative web platform of high-energy videos and interactive tools to local students, the community is building a connection between students, parents, teachers, counselors, and businesses that align the needs of each stakeholder with in-demand career pathways found across the region, officials said.

Edge Factor is already incorporated into the curriculum of Cleveland and McDowell school systems.

“The feedback has been very positive from those two counties,” Thompson added.