SHELBY, NC -- The Cleveland County Family YMCA in North Carolina has started a wellness pilot program for designated North Carolina state employees, according to The Shelby (NC) Star. The program is in partnership with the State Health Plan of North Carolina, which provides health care coverage to more than 644,000 teachers, state employees, retirees, current and former lawmakers, state university and community college personnel, state hospital staff, and the dependents of each of these groups.

The pilot program began this month and is scheduled to run until June. One hundred selected state employees will participate in the six-month plan that encourages positive exercise and behavioral habits. Y wellness coaches work closely with program participants to ensure safety and maximum effectiveness.

If the pilot is successful, it may expand, Dover YMCA Associate Executive Director Jack Clevesy told the paper.

“This is the first in a series of parts,” Clevesy says. “We start in Cleveland and hopefully others will pick it up, too.”

Employers hope the pilot will eventually reduce insurance costs because of decreased health risks, according to the newspaper.