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Awake58: Giving thanks and looking ahead

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Monday, November 19, 2018. Click here to subscribe. 

Giving thanks and looking ahead

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. This week, we want to keep the conversation going around residency determination, spotlight some innovative programs, and stop to consider those who are hungry across NC. Thank you for reading.

We are actively working on an analysis of the residency determination system, evaluating possible paths forward and looking at the impacts of the system on students. I would love for you to take a few minutes to share your thoughts by clicking here.

Your answers will have an impact on our series.

As you read this email, I am sitting in my hometown of Lenoir as I spend time with my family during the week of Thanksgiving. As a kid I was not a fan of turkey or ham or even football, so I was not big on this holiday. All of that has changed now. I feel fortunate to be with my family, happy to find the time to rest, and grateful to visit with some community colleges here in the Unifour region of our great state.

As we celebrate family (and chosen family) and practice gratitude, we must also remember those in need. My colleague Molly had a chance to visit Durham Tech and their food pantry recently.

This paragraph stuck with me:

Food pantries on college campuses are becoming more common. When Durham Tech opened their food pantry in 2013, they were one of few colleges and universities with campus food pantries, according to Erin Riney, director of the Center for College and Community Service at Durham Tech. Now, however, they are part of the College and University Food Bank Alliance, an organization started to support food pantries on college campuses that now has 641 members.

Even in an economy that has been growing for years, food pantries are increasing on campuses across the country. It is worth our time to ask ourselves why, what we can do better, and, finally, how we can better build wrap-around supports for all of the students who walk through the doors. As we celebrate, let’s also pause to consider these questions.

Finally, I wanted to let you know that Giving Tuesday is coming up on November 28. EdNC is a nonprofit newsroom, and we rely on supporters like you to continue to make sure our content remains free and accessible to everyone. It takes resources to travel the state and to live in community. We couldn’t do this work without you and others who have so generously supported our work. If you enjoy this newsletter, and our coverage, please consider making a donation today by clicking here.

Thank you for reading over these past few months. It means a lot to me to hear from so many of you each week. This week I am particularly grateful for the chance to be part of this conversation.

All the best,


EdNC Reads

First in Future: President of the NC Community College System Peter Hans

Hear directly from system president Peter Hans on this podcast from our friends at the Institute for Emerging Issues. Hans shares his vision for the system moving forward and the role community colleges will play in North Carolina’s future.

Bright Spots: Project SEARCH

Three years ago, Mission Health brought Project SEARCH to Asheville. Project SEARCH, an international model for developing employment opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is now in its third cohort of interns. Given a nearly 50 percent unemployment rate for people with disabilities, this program is filling an urgent need.

Bright Spots: Alamance Career Accelerator Program

Alamance Community College, local companies, and the K-12 district are collaborating closely on a unique apprenticeship program. Click through for the video and the brief.

Bright Spots: Made in Durham

Made in Durham is a collaboration between education, business, youth-serving nonprofits, and young people across Durham. The ultimate goal is for Durham youth to graduate high school, earn a postsecondary degree or credential, and begin a rewarding career by 25.

Bright Spots: K-64 in Catawba County

How do you prepare residents from pre-kindergarten to retirement to compete in the global economy? Catawba County is striving to build a model.

A seed without soil: Hydroponics at Surry Community College

Yasmin Bendaas spotlights the unique hydroponics program at Surry Community College. We are curious to know more about agriculture programs in community colleges. Reply to this email if you have an idea of a program to spotlight.

Selfie time: Introducting the NC Community College Hispanic/Latinx initiative team

Join us for the W. Dallas Herring Lecture at NC State


Worth a click

One state uses data about job needs to help decide what colleges should teach

Montana is attempting to connect supply to demand when it comes to course development. I’ve heard of individual schools doing the same. Let me know if your school is one of them. We may wish to spotlight your efforts.

More high school grads than ever are going to college, but 1 in 5 will quit

This is damning: “Fifty-five percent who started in 2015 were gone by the following year, the most recent period for which the figures are available, according to U.S. Department of Education data analyzed by The Hechinger Report.”

Two years of school and then a job: Students get a hands-on look at career opportunities that do not demand a four-year degree

The Hickory Daily Record spotlights the CVCC 10th Grade Extravaganza where the college showcases career opportunities which require a two-year degree or high quality credential.

By the numbers: Thanksgiving in North Carolina

We decided to focus on the important stuff this week — Thanksgiving.

2nd in Turkeys

North Carolina ranks second in the nation in Turkey productions, trailing only Minnesota.

14% of total productions

As of 2016, 14% of turkey production in the country came from North Carolina, making it a billion dollar industry for the state.

One of four in Turkey, NC

Turkey, NC, located in Sampson County, is one of four places in the United States named after the Thanksgiving bird. The other three belong to Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona.


EducationNC ( works to expand educational opportunities for all children in North Carolina, and increase their academic attainment. We believe a more informed, connected, and engaged North Carolina is a better North Carolina. Our work takes many forms including storytelling, research, data, and community engagement. Thank you so much for joining us in the conversation around our students, our state, and our future.

Perspectives needed

Do you have a story to share about a bright spot in your local community? We need your voice to tell the stories of our state’s 58 community colleges. We are now accepting first-person perspectives from anyone who wants to lift up their voice.

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.