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Awake58: The art of welding

This is a copy of the Awake58 newsletter originally sent on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Click here to subscribe. 

The art of welding

Welcome to Awake58. If you were forwarded this email from a friend, click here to subscribe. And if you know of anyone who would like to receive the newsletter, please forward this email to them.

Stay tuned this week as we look ahead to the next legislative session with a series of previews…. We visited Stanly Community College last week and discussed the challenges facing a variety of trades… and a lot of conversation is bubbling around Real College…

Last week, we had the chance to visit Stanly Community College. President John Enamait and his staff were kind enough to host us on a busy Friday. We were able to visit numerous interesting projects hosted in their Advanced Manufacturing & Industrial Technology Center. We began the day in the Heavy Equipment Classroom on their simulators, and I quickly learned that no one should trust me with heavy equipment.

One aspect of any good community college visit from my perspective is often the energy and enthusiasm of the faculty. William Beaver who leads welding at Stanly was no different. He led us through an energetic history lesson before he showcased the technology they have invested in as a college.

Beaver poignantly spoke to our country, “skipping two generations in the technical business and trades which left us to trying to make up for that gap now.”

The question before all of us is how we close the gap. Beaver told us the country is in need of over 700,000 more welders, and that isn’t the only vocation facing a tremendous cliff as the older generation ages out.

I encourage everyone to watch a story on welding we published a few months ago which still inspires me: The art of welding at Pitt Community College

As Robert wrote in his piece that accompanied the video, “Every day that you rely on our world’s infrastructure, you rely on welders.” Our thanks to Stanly Community College for showing us what one college is doing to make sure we have enough welders to build the infrastructure of the future.

All the best,



EdNC Reads

School choice continues to evolve in North Carolina, and an update on community colleges

My colleague Alex showcases the news coming out of the State Board of Community Colleges meeting last week. The Board “approved $554,046 to go to Wake Technical Community College (WTCC) for the Finish First tool. This is a tool developed by Wake Tech that uses an automated process to check student transcripts to see if they are missing credentials that may help them complete their degree.”

Reach NC Voices: Our toolkit and playbook for listening, connecting, and engaging audiences

Reach NC Voices is the hub of our efforts to engage and connect our state around the important issues defining our state today and moving forward. Please spend some time with our playbook and let us know if you are interested in Reach being utilized on your campus.

ICYMI: The impact of early colleges: What does the research say?

I want to make sure you all saw this article which showcases the research around the impact of early colleges. My colleague Liz opens her article with the following questions before showcasing some of the answers from the research to date: “What kind of student succeeds at early colleges? Why? Do early colleges really make a difference?”


What we’re reading

Dr. Lisa Chapman approved as Central Carolina Community College President

Lisa M. Chapman, who served most recently as Senior Vice President/Chief Academic Officer of the North Carolina Community College System Office in Raleigh, was officially approved as Central Carolina Community College President by the State Board last week. Dr. Chapman will succeed President Marchant.

UNC board tells Chancellor Folt to leave her job in 2 weeks — earlier than expected

Shortly after we pressed send on Awake58 last week, Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation as Chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill. The News and Observer has the latest update.

Student debt and food insecurity town hall calls on students to advocate for change

The Hope Center at Temple hosted a discussion last week that described student living standards as a “national crisis.” Make note of the mention of for-profit colleges and their role in student debt. If you want more information, Sara Goldrick-Rab also gave a lecture last year on the affordability crisis facing students you may watch here.

Homelessness on campus

CBS takes a look at the scale of homelessness among college students. This passage stood out: “Some of those struggling with housing responded to a recent survey… It was the largest of its kind ever done, involving more than 43,000 students at 66 institutions. The result: Nearly one in ten college students said they were homeless in the last year, meaning they had at least one night where they didn’t know where they were going to sleep.”


Join the People’s Session to tell Raleigh what matters to you

What issues matter most to you? What are your priorities for education in North Carolina? When the legislature reconvenes at the end of January, EdNC and Reach NC Voices will be launching a special project called the People’s Session to understand your education agenda for the upcoming legislative session.

When the legislature reconvenes at the end of January, the People’s Session will allow you to weigh in on education issues and ideas, add your own ideas, and surface the issues you care about most for 2019. Then, we will publish your top priorities and share them with leaders across the state.

Signing up now for the People’s Session will allow you to participate when the legislative session launches. Click here to do so today!


Do you have a story to share?

We need your voice to tell the stories of our state’s 58 community colleges. We are now accepting first-person perspectives for We want to know about your bright spots, challenges, and the opportunities ahead. And we believe you are best positioned to tell those stories.

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.



EducationNC ( works to expand educational opportunities for all students 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.


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Policy research, trends, and analysis matters. If you agree you might like the Center’s weekly policy email, Friday@Five. You can subscribe here.

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.