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Awake58: Developing the workforce of tomorrow

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

Developing the workforce of tomorrow

The legislature continues to explore various bills that will have an impact on community colleges… We used video to look at three different workforce development programs across North Carolina… My colleague Analisa writes about Single Stop and recent research on the effectiveness of the program…

The House community college committee gave favorable support last week to House Bill 487. HB 487 would fund short-term workforce training at an equivalent level to curriculum programs. During the same week, my colleague Ellen dove deep on the funding formula for short-term workforce development that explains how we got here and why it matters. I would encourage you to read her explainer.

Last August during our Awake58 blitz, I had a chance to visit my hometown of Lenoir to see the work of CCC&TI’s truck driving program. As a kid, I was obsessed with transfer trucks. In fact, my parents tell me that my first words were “big truck.” While I was interested in trucks as a kid, I am fascinated by the future of the trucking industry today, and CCC&TI is working across the state to create the next generation of truck drivers. Check out our video on their program today.  The rest of our videos on workforce development programs are below.

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EdNC Reads

Community college, K-12 bills make their way through House committees

“Short-term workforce training has, up to this point, only been funded at two-thirds the level of traditional academic training. This bill would provide that extra funding.  ‘This is a top priority for our community college system,’ said Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, a sponsor of the bill. ‘We have a disparity right now between our workforce training and the curriculum … we really need to focus on that because it’s what our industry needs.’”

Developing North Carolina’s workforce: Why community colleges want equal funding for short-term workforce development

Why is the system seeking a change in the funding formula? Ellen explores: “Under the old calculation, colleges were forced to use tactics that are counterintuitive and inefficient to simply chase funding. ‘A lot of times, […] we would have to run con ed courses [as] curriculum, which means students would have to take a placement test; they would have to do reading skills, math skills to get into the curriculum degree-seeking program, and all they wanted to learn was a welding skill,’ David Shockley explained. He argues that closing the gap gives them the freedom to run courses in a way that best fits the student population and the skill set of the faculty.”

Video: Developing truck drivers at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute

“The trucking industry is the industry to be in right now,” said Laura Livingston, a truck driver for Hardy Brothers. “Everything you wear, everything you eat, is brought to you by a truck — so they’re hiring, and they want qualified drivers, and that’s what Caldwell turns out.”

Video: Developing winemakers at Surry Community College

“This program directly reflects the needs of the wine industry and the viticulture industry in growing the grapes and producing the wine,” said David Shockley, president of Surry Community College. “It’s an example of what community colleges do best and better than anybody else, which is the workforce development.”

Video: Developing electrical linemen at Cape Fear Community College

Electrical employers in North Carolina need at least 800 entry-level linemen per year. Cape Fear Community College is one of the schools attempting to close the gap. Check out the video for more.

Improving community college student success through a ‘Single Stop’

Several colleges across North Carolina have adopted Single Stop over the last several years. Single Stop recently released findings from a study which evaluated their impact on academic outcomes at the Community College of Philadelphia. The results were fascinating.


Other Reads

Free community college? Wake County leaders debate $1 million for blue-collar programs

Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria recently proposed a $1,000,000 annual investment from Wake County in scholarships for seven different trade programs.

Meet the millions of young adults who are out of work

Brookings evaluates the millions of young adults who are out of work even during the current economic boom. They put the numbers in context explaining, “17 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 are out of work in mid to large cities in the U.S., totaling 2.3 million young people.” Take a look at their groupings. I’d be curious to know what your community’s experience has been with unemployment among young adults.

Next50: Lifelong Learning

The Urban Institute explores what it would take to have a culture of lifelong learning. One thing I heard over and over again during myFutureNC site visits over the past year was the need to evaluate a new model for education focused on lifelong learning with a particular emphasis around short-term credentialing, apprenticeships, and other programs that directly connect careers and course offerings.



EducationNC ( believes a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future. If you have any questions about our mission and vision, feel free to email me.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.