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Awake58: Staying alive in Raleigh

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.  Click here to subscribe.

Staying alive in Raleigh

Last week, I had a chance to visit McDowell Tech and John Gossett’s team. Mark Garrett, the superintendent of McDowell County schools, also joined us and spoke to what Garrett perceived as a “unique level of collaboration” between the K-12 system and McDowell Tech on career technical education, career and college promise, and other initiatives. Stay tuned for a story on our visit soon!

We had a long conversation about the legislative session as well. The budget has been a dominant topic of conversation, but my colleague Alex Granados has an update on the other bills that lasted through what is known as crossover. For those unfamiliar with the term Alex explains it well: “Crossover means that legislation has to either have a financial component or it must have passed at least one of the two chambers in the legislature. If it didn’t do one of those things, then it’s dead. Well, theoretically.”

A number of bills relevant to your local community college made it through, including both the Senate and the House bond proposals, the proposed fix for Residency Determination, a bill to allow local school districts to align their calendar with local community colleges, and more.

We will continue to track the legislative process throughout the session. Stay tuned!

396 graduates of Morehouse  College recently got exciting news: Their commencement speaker, Robert F. Smith, told the crowd he would pay off their student loans. What are your thoughts on student loans & student loan forgiveness? Share with us by clicking here.


EdNC Reads

Survivor: Crossover edition

The legislative process was hectic ahead of crossover. The remaining agenda for the session is now clearer for everyone, including a looming debate over competing bond proposals, calendar flexibility, and a proposed fix for residency determination. For more, check out our legislative tracker.

Community college board passes resolution on myFutureNC goal

The State Board of Community Colleges adopted a resolution supporting the myFutureNC goal that 2 million North Carolinians ages 25 to 44 should have a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by 2030. For more on the goal and process, check out our past coverage on myFutureNC.

Advancing Women in Trades event highlights need for women in the workforce

Industry leaders are focused on diversifying the workforce in the trades. My colleague Yasmin covered the inaugural Advancing Women in Trades event to gain a glimpse of the efforts that are underway to tackle the issue.

Launching success: Durham Tech builds high achievers

Robyn Tomlin, the executive editor of the News & Observer, started her academic career at Durham Tech as a young mother taking night classes. She spoke at the Durham Tech commencement ceremony last week and pointed to the confidence she gained there as an importance step for her academic and professional career. She also inspired an aspiring journalist in the crowd who just completed her degree at Durham Tech.

Surry Community College hosts discussion on opioids with author Beth Macy

Journalist and bestselling author Beth Macy presented on her book “DOPESICK: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America” on April 24 at Surry Community College. Macy spoke to the origins of the opioid epidemic and issued a call to discover solutions now.

Other Reads

Sometimes politicians’ lofty promises of free college are too good to be true

Hechinger Report explores free college: “Complexity over what free college really means is leading to confusion about whether students qualify. And, in fact, the fine print often excludes precisely the people who would benefit the most from free college, such as those who attend part time or students older than traditional age who want a second shot at a degree. In many cases the rhetoric of free college doesn’t match the reality of free-college programs.”

SAT to score students’ ‘disadvantages’ to try to even the playing field

The College Board is testing a new tool that would allow colleges to gain context on the background of test takers. The dashboard will score various factors, “including the rate of teens who receive free or reduced lunch, and their home life and neighborhoods, such as average family income, educational attainment, housing stability and crime.”

Most out-of-work young adults face bleak job prospects

Brookings Institute recently explored the career prospects of adults aged 18 to 24 years old. 5 million of those adults are out of work with only 36 percent of them having worked in the last year. Twenty percent of them left high school before completion. For more on the data, and proposed solutions , I would encourage you to read the piece. A good piece of companion reading is this analysis on non-degree credentials and their impact on social mobility.

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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.