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Awake58: Finish First

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Monday, November 5, 2018. Click here to subscribe. 

Finish First

Hello everyone, Nation here. We visited Wake Tech and explored Finish First… We need your thoughts on work-based learning… You all gave us a lot to consider on the Residency Determination System… A new report shows *gasp* community colleges are underfunded… and we’re hosting a webinar.

You all sent us a significant amount of thoughts on the Residency Determination System. Your responses indicated a widely varying set of perspectives on the program, and I am going to be responding to each of you individually. If you have thoughts on the system and have not shared them yet, please send them my way. My colleagues and I plan to go deeper on the system in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned for that coverage and please keep the conversation going.

On another note, we visited the Research Triangle Park campus of Wake Tech Community College on Friday. The building is a stunning testament to innovation. One of the smart elements of design is the way the building showcases the infrastructure such as the internet backbone of the building. Newer buildings across the state seem to be adopting this important “show, not tell” mentality to show the world how stuff works. It is really compelling.

We also had a chance to learn more about Finish First. Finish First is a combination data project and computer program focused on increasing the number of students who complete a two-year degree or a high-quality credential. In 2016-17, Wake Technical Community College awarded a combined 8,208 certificates, diplomas, and associate’s degrees, up from 4,344 the year before.

For more on Finish First, check out our first article on the program.

We also have content from our visit on Twitter. Join us in the Twittersphere for real-time content as we travel the state.

Finally, we’re partnering with the Hope Street Group to understand North Carolinians perspective on work-based learning. The results from the survey will be used by Hope Street Group, the North Carolina Business Committee for Education, and other local and state decision-makers to explore support for career pathways.

Will you take the survey now? Click here to do so.

Thank you!


EdNC Reads

Life after Hurricane Florence in the eyes of James Sprunt student, Amelia Bridges

This paragraph stuck with me long after I finished reading the piece: “Many like Amelia Bridges, a nursing student at James Sprunt Community College, are without a home and are preparing to live in tents, even as colder temperatures are starting to set in. As she says, ‘it is better than just being out on the street, although at times, that is what this feels like.’”

Students find their niche at Southwestern Community College

Analisa Sorrells visited Southwestern Community College recently. In this piece she documents students, such as Elliott Jacques, who are finding their niche through the college’s programs.

Supporting first generation students at Cleveland Community College

In this perspective, Sarah Thomas, a Success Coach with TRIO Talent Search through Cleveland Community College, shares her experience and work with first gen college students who attend Cleveland Community College. We appreciate her sharing her story.

Finding the helpers: Fire and rescue at rural community colleges

Yasmin Bendaas writes about fire and rescue programs at McDowell Technical Community College, Cleveland Community College, and Surry Community College, all of whom serve areas experiencing a shortage of volunteer firefighters.


Worth a click

Bright spots: Innovative efforts to accelerate attainment

Through listening sessions across the state, the myFutureNC Commission heard from communities engaged in impressive efforts to give residents the education and skills needed to thrive in today’s economy. Join us for a webinar on local innovations across the state that are playing a role in accelerating educational attainment. No need to register, just join us on November 6 at 10:00 a.m. EST via this Zoom link.

Century Foundation Releases First Report on Community Colleges

Our thanks to Kerri Glover from Asheville-Buncombe Tech who shared this report with us. A key paragraph from the report states plainly, “Community colleges are often the only higher education available to many individuals, most notably students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet, most of these institutions are woefully underfunded, which makes it almost impossible for community colleges to give students the help and support they need to reach their potential, according to the findings.”


By the numbers: The value of being a resident

$5,603 in savings

According to Community College Review, the average difference in tuition from in-state to out-of-state students for North Carolina community colleges is $5,603 per year.

$8.10 in benefits

According to a report from Economic Modeling Specialists International, every dollar spent on North Carolina community colleges in 2012-2013 school year will generate a cumulative value of $8.10 in benefits, for as long as the 2012-13 students of North Carolina community colleges remain active in the state workforce.

730,000 North Carolinians 

In the 2014-2015 school year, the system offered educational programs and classes to more than 730,000 North Carolinians.


Perspectives needed

Do you have a story to share? Do you want to elaborate on your thoughts around the Residency Determination System in a longer piece? We need your voice to tell the stories of our state’s 58 community colleges. We are now accepting first-person perspectives from community college faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders.

To learn more about submitting an article, click here. If you respond to this email, I am happy to help you think about how to frame your perspective and story.


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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.