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Live. Train. Remain.


Northwest NC is building a new generation of tech talent.  Nestled in the foothills and high country of the Blue Ridge Mountains, NC Tech Paths is blazing a trail to the digital economy, leveraging world-class broadband, natural beauty, and burgeoning talent.



Our Purpose

Building equitable pathways for our rural neighbors to participate in the digital economy.

NC Tech Paths Value Propositions

To solve a business objective for North Carolina employers – the gap in supply of tech talent

To solve a career objective for the emerging and existing workforce – accessing high-growth, high-pay jobs

To solve a community economic development objective of Northwest NC – revitalizing the local economy and downtowns 

To solve a social imperative – bridging demographic inequities, including the rural-urban divide, that limit inclusiveness in the digital economy

Why Northwest NC?

Five reasons employers should target Northwest NC when building their tech workforce of the future:

  1. World-Class Broadband: The region boasts gig-capable fiberoptic internet access to almost 90% of residences, meaning it has the strongest internet in North Carolina
  2. Versatile Talent: A network of training and education providers offers a diverse portfolio of tech specializations to match employer needs
  3. Labor Shed: The commutable radius around NC Tech Paths includes over 550,000 residents, with VA and TN border counties adding another 200,000 residents
  4. Quality of Life: In the post-pandemic world, top talent may be reluctant to relocate or slog through the urban commute – allowing employees to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains gives employers a leg up in the talent war
  5. Social Impact: Our state and nation have been plagued by a rural-urban divide – employers have an opportunity to bridge that divide by growing their rural tech workforce

Our Approach

Bridging the rural-urban divide in the digital economy requires optimizing four key components.

1. Talent

A birth-to-career educational pipeline and adult reskilling portfolio to prepare, mentor, and connect a new generation of rural tech talent.

2. Employers

A national network of employer partners to shape curricula, promote careers, and hire remote employees out of NC Tech Paths partner programs.

3. Infastructure

Remote Tech Outposts with walkability to local coffee shops to provide low-cost satellite “outposts” for remote employees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

4. Entrepreneurship

Accelerator-style training, capital, and mentoring for tech entrepreneurs looking to start, grow, or IPO their tech venture.



Meet The Leadership Team

Zach Barricklow is an award-winning entrepreneur and strategist whose work spans twenty years across Fortune 500 consulting, international development, non-profit, and higher education. Zach has a degree in management and philosophy from Hope College, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in organizational change at the University of Southern California. Zach is passionate about equitable community economic development. He is an advocate for leveraging education, employer partnerships, and entrepreneurship as tools to foster inclusive wealth.

Zach Barricklow

Executive Director

Kate brings 20 years’ experience in the administrative, training, and education fields. As director of student life at the University of South Carolina Beaufort for nearly 12 years, she advised students, trained them, unofficially counseled them, and mentored them as they grew into young adults. Since 2017, Kate has worked in the “Gig Economy,” as a virtual assistant. This has included project management in education, and both the non- and for-profit sectors. Her projects have included work in e-commerce, writing, editing, and maximizing efficiency for small businesses. She holds a Master of Education in college counseling and student affairs practice from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Art in art history from Ithaca College. Kate is energetic, passionate, and considers her work with NC Tech Paths a “heart project.” Providing education access to people in rural areas has been a focus for most of her professional career. The weaving of access to technology careers and learning is a natural fit for Kate.

Kate Vermilyea

Communications Manager

LeClair Boone, a former 15-year educator, made the career transition into tech through a Software Engineering Program by one of our partners, Per Scholas. LeClair has Master’s Degrees in Educational Leadership and Spanish, several years of business experience, and has found her niche in technical curriculum alignment to lay the groundwork for establishing a solid pipeline of technical talent. LeClair is passionate about introducing youth and adults to careers in technology and strengthening technical education connections from pre-K to industry.

LeClair Boone

Program Manager

Craig DeLucia has spent the last 25 years advising families, companies, and nonprofit organizations on matters of taxation, structure, governance and strategic planning. His formal education and professional background is in accounting, including undergraduate and graduate degrees from Clemson University, but his focus is more on problem-solving than number-crunching. Craig’s philanthropic goal is to address the inequities that exist when talent is more widely distributed than opportunities, counseling, training, and resources. He is particularly passionate about eliminating barriers that prohibit individuals from participating in fulfilling career paths, particularly bridging the urban/rural divide so that all of our neighbors can participate in the jobs of today. Separately, Craig is a passionate advocate for the arts and for arts education as a forgotten building block in developing well-rounded minds.

Craig DeLucia

President and CFO

Our Partners

NC Tech Paths is a non-profit corporation dedicated to establishing Northwest North Carolina as a national leader in fostering rural inclusion in the digital economy through a variety of workforce development, employer partnerships, and entrepreneurial support interventions, all of which allow our neighbors to live, train, and remain in the area.