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A note from us

Welcome to Awake58!

EdNC is turning 8 next month — and we are thinking about our work and our impact in North Carolina. How are we doing? Do you have any recommended changes or improvements to how we do our work? How can we better serve you — and your community?

Please let us know what you think by taking this brief survey. As an added bonus, if you leave your name and email in the final question, there’s a chance to receive one of five $100 Amazon gift cards!

As you know, we are the only nonprofit news organization in North Carolina entirely focused on the whole educational continuum. Our work at EdNC goes beyond the news we publish, as we travel widely with key stakeholders, host community conversations on pressing issues, and encourage others to learn alongside us as we travel across the state.

In order for us to do this work well, we need to hear from you all. Are we meeting your information needs? What stories are we missing? Where do you consume information? You all help us serve your community by answering this survey each year. The survey will close on Friday, Dec. 2. You may fill it out by clicking here.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!

This week, we will be attending the 2022 Dallas Herring Lecture. We will also be covering the next step in the search for the next N.C. Community College System President. Check back next week for more — and follow us on Twitter for live updates.

I’ll see you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Head of Growth —

EdNC reads

A high school vocational test nearly derailed this entrepreneur, until he landed at Gaston College

Emily Thomas visited Gaston Community College as part of the Impact58 tour — and she had the chance to meet a successful entrepreneur who shared a compelling story on how Gaston changed his life:

Before graduating from Gaston College, before being called the “Startup Hero” by North Carolina Business Magazine, and before writing 10 books, Chris Elmore was a guy who spent his school days labeled a bad student. Teachers frequently told Elmore’s parents that he was witty and had a lot of friends but that he just wouldn’t focus and do the work.

In 1982, Elmore was a high school freshman staring down the results of a vocational test he’d just taken. They disappointed him.

Elmore had dreams of going to college and starting his own business, but when the battery of tests meant to guide his career path said otherwise, Elmore was crushed.

“I took this test and it comes back and…it says do not go to college – you will not be successful,” Elmore said.

To find out how Elmore went from this test result to a successful career, click here to read Emily’s full article.

Q&A | How are N.C. community colleges using virtual reality technology?

COVID-19 accelerated the ongoing adoption of online learning in the community college space statewide and nationally. One area that has built increasing buzz is virtual reality (VR). Our own Hannah McClellan stepped into the immersive learning world for a Q&A session with Lane Freeman, NCCCS Director of Online Learning, and Transfr VR employees Charlie Bradley and David Wilkinson, to learn more about the technology and its potential. From Wilkinson:

K-12, community colleges, and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety use VR right now for the purpose of exposing individuals to career opportunities in the skilled-trades world. The two important criteria for us are: are these in-demand jobs, and will they provide a sustainable lifestyle?

When we focus on areas to build content, we focus on areas like construction, advanced manufacturing, culinary, hospitality and tourism, aviation fundamentals, etc. At Transfr, we focus on two areas – career exploration and our virtual training facility. Career exploration is important because a lot of individuals don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to career opportunities. Through our very immersive and interactive simulation, an individual can experience up to 23 different skilled-trade jobs. Our virtual training facility gives an individual the ability to upskill and learn fundamental job or training skills. That training produces a much safer work environment and also drastically cuts down on consumables used up in programs.

Pamlico Community College is one of the community colleges that is going to be doing training in the correctional facilities. In correctional facilities, certain tools aren’t allowed, period. However, virtually, people can pick up wrenches and saws and hammers. It just gives them the ability to learn without actually handling the tools.

To read the full Q&A, click here.

Around NC

The 2022 Dallas Herring Lecture is today at 1 p.m. You may still register online. From the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research: “This year’s speaker will be Dr. Mike Flores, Chancellor of the Alamo Colleges District (TX). The title of his lecture is Community Colleges in Action: Advancing Equity and Enhancing Economic Mobility Using Local Collective Impact Strategies.”

The State Board of Community Colleges has a called board meeting today at 4 p.m. to discuss vendor selection of the search firm for the next system president.

The next five N.C. Reconnect schools were announced last week: Brunswick Community College, Catawba Valley Community College, College of the Albemarle, Davidson-Davie Community College, and Edgecombe Community College.

Johnston Community College has announced the five finalists for their next president — and they are hosting forums between now and the end of November to allow community input. The schedule is below:

Nov. 14: Dr. Irene Rios

Nov. 17: Dr. Patrice Davis

Nov. 21: Dr. John C. Boyd

Nov. 28: Dr. Vern Lindquist

Nov. 30: Dr. Camille Reese

Sandhills Community College announced a new scholarship: “A new ‘Sandhills Scholars’ scholarship will cover two years of tuition and fees for qualifying students who earn a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma at Sandhills and wish to continue their studies at the College… Made possible by generous Foundation donors, ‘Sandhills Scholars’ recognizes non-traditional students, and encourages them to pursue academic goals, no matter their starting point.”

On this Election Day, voters are considering bonds in numerous counties. The Technician profiles the bond in Wake County that would support Wake Technical Community College.

Other higher education reads

Fewer Affordable Options for Pell Grant Students

National data shows college affordability is moving in the wrong direction:

Nationally, 24 percent of public four-year colleges or universities were considered affordable for the average Pell Grant recipient, along with 40 percent of two-year public community colleges. The National College Attainment Network considers a college or university to be affordable if the total cost of attendance, plus $300 for emergency expenses, doesn’t exceed the sum of financial aid, family contributions and student wages.

For the full report, click here.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.