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The System Office Conference wraps today

A note from us

Welcome to Awake58 – your weekly round-up of the latest community college news from across North Carolina and the country. If you’re not signed up for Awake58’s weekly newsletter, click here to do so. Our last edition featured an update on FAFSA, using federal funds to close gaps, and more Impact 58 stories. You may read it by clicking here.

The North Carolina Community College System Conference… An update on the NCCCS presidential search… A change to Career and College Promise… More Impact58 stories from Central Carolina, Brunswick, Guilford Tech, Alamance, Beaufort, and Southeastern…

The North Carolina Community College System Conference kicked off Sunday and concludes today. It’s been a full agenda, with presentations and panel discussions covering a range of topics from adult learners to apprenticeships to high school programs. 

During his keynote address, System President Bill Carver discussed the role of community colleges. 

“They (students) trust us to change their lives,” he said. Carver went on to say that students are counting on the system to provide pathways to meaningful careers. Stay tuned for an article with key takeaways and highlights.

We have more updates on the search for the next system president. Here’s an update from EdNC’s Hannah McClellan on the search committee’s most recent meeting:

“Last week, the State Board of Community College’s 13-member presidential search committee met on Wednesday to draft survey questions and a presidential profile. The profile drafted at that time is a starting point for the search. The official profile for the search will include input from the surveys and expertise from the vendor hired for the search.

The search committee approved its Request for Approval (RFP) for a search firm before that meeting. At the full Board’s September meeting, Search Committee Co-chair Dr. Shirley Carraway said the Board hopes to consider the selected firm by its November meeting. The firm must then also be approved by the state Department of Administration. The search committee will meet next on Oct. 19, ahead of the full Board’s regular meeting on Oct. 20-21.”

The State Board of Education recently adopted a policy to strengthen the Career and College Promise program. During last week’s meeting, the Board moved to implement a policy requiring all districts in the state to develop formal agreements with their community college partners. 

Through this partnership, LEAs will intentionally integrate CCP program offerings as it aligns to regional, economic, and community needs and provide specifics on how these offerings will be communicated to students, schools, and parents,” according to a press release from DPI. You can read the full press release here. And check out the July report from a study that recommended strong and clearly defined partnerships between school districts and their community college partners.

EdNC is on the road again this week with more Impact58 tours at Wake Technical, Sandhills, Wilson, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical community colleges.

Stay tuned for more in the week ahead.

With gratitude,

Emily Thomas

Policy Analyst –

EdNC reads

Updates from Impact 58

Central Carolina Community College’s CAT welder pipeline is 10 years in the making

When Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) started its Caterpillar welding apprenticeship for high schoolers 10 years ago, welding technology director Charles Bell thought it would just be “another high school program.”

“We found out it’s way more than that,” Bell said. “Now at 10 years, over 30% of the welding workforce at Caterpillar (Sanford) is coming from this program.”

The Caterpillar (CAT) Apprenticeship Training in Welding Program lets high school juniors and seniors work and study at the same time. While completing high school, students also train at CAT’s Sanford fabrication facility and at the Innovation Center of Lee County. CCCC provides welding-related college courses to prepare students, who work 30-plus hours per week with CAT the summer before their senior year.

Guilford Tech’s aviation program helps students and industry take flight

North Carolina and aviation are inextricably linked with the Wright Brothers achieving the first-ever powered air flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. And while Kitty Hawk will always be home to the first flight, located some 300 miles west is what many consider to be the new home of aviation training.

Aviation is one of Guilford Technical Community College’s (GTCC) oldest programs. Starting first with aviation management in 1969, the college now has five aviation program pathways. From training pilots to technicians to mechanics, GTCC offers multiple opportunities for students looking to enter the aerospace industry.

“We have carefully constructed programs here that lead to very discrete jobs that are in high numbers,” Dr. Beth Pitonzo, GTCC’s senior vice president of instruction said. “One hundred percent employment. If people get through any of these [programs], they’re employable locally as well as regionally.”

Brunswick Community College’s customized training, apprenticeship help create jobs

It was the partnership with Brunswick Community College (BCC) that helped the leaders of Precision Swiss Products settle on Leland, North Carolina, for their second site.

Some of the company’s technology requires precision that “gets down to less than a strand of hair,” Dillon said. That requires complex machines — and people who can build and run them.

Bland and BCC President Gene Smith traveled to California to see the company’s original site to ensure that BCC could help replicate training and create a pipeline of employees. The college wrote and received a $200,000 grant from Golden LEAF Foundation to buy the kind of machine necessary (an eight-axis CNC machine, which is programmed for precision processing) to train students.

How a school system, community college, and private university are partnering to strengthen Alamance County’s teacher pipeline

Alamance Community College, Elon University, and the Alamance-Burlington School System are teaming up to strengthen the local community’s teacher pipeline.

The Alamance Scholars program, launched last year, provides a pathway for high school students to become teachers in the county. The goal is for them not only to become employed by the local school district but also to graduate with little to no college debt.

Educational services is one of the top industries in the county and one of the industries where Alamance Community College (ACC) has the largest impact. According to an economic impact study done last year, ACC adds $149.8 million in income to the Alamance County economy each year.

Cuts, color, and a college certificate helped an immigrant hairstylist thrive in Beaufort County

When Nidia Martinez began her career as a hairdresser at the age of 15 in Mexico, she didn’t imagine owning her own salon in Washington, North Carolina 30 years later. 

Now Martinez is not only the owner and operator of Nidia’s Salon, she’s a representative of small business owners in the Hispanic community, serving on the city’s Human Relations Council.

Martinez acknowledges the role her own hard work and determination have played throughout her journey to become a small business owner. But she also credits Beaufort County Community College (BCCC).

“Continuing education has been there for me all the time,” Martinez said.

Local partnerships are helping Southeastern Community College grow enrollment

Southeastern Community College reported that its summer enrollment jumped by 45% last week. Dr. Chris English, president of Southeastern Community College, said it is local partnerships that have allowed the college to thrive and grow.

English said he, the two local superintendents, the county manager, and the hospital CEO meet on a monthly or bi-monthly basis to ensure they are working together. 

“What we’re doing is – instead of trying to address the challenges individually — now we’ll bring them together,” English said.

Read more Impact 58 stories here

Around NC

A piece from Higher Ed Works on community college employee salaries, and a spotlight from Central Carolina’s President Dr. Lisa Chapman on the importance of funding for salaries. Hear from other community college presidents on funding and salaries in an article by EdNC last year. 

The second issue from North Carolina Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation. 

Richmond Community College and Hendrick Automotive Group announce plans to open the Hendrick Center for Automotive Training

Brunswick Community College hosts Manufacturing Day introducing students to new career possibilities. 

Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute announces new leadership team

Former James Sprunt Community College nursing student speaks about her journey. 

The Belk Center is hosting the annual Dallas Herring Lecture on Nov. 8 Click here to register

Other higher education reads

Postsecondary Pathways | Engines for Equity: The Role of Community Colleges in Access to Higher Education

Community colleges have had a long history as open access institutions, allowing learners from varying backgrounds to earn credentials and degrees. They have often been seen as engines for economic mobility and intergenerational wealth, especially since they disproportionately serve first-generation, low-income, and students of color. This session will feature a variety of resource experts to share best practices to ensure students are able to access higher education.

You can register for the event by clicking here.

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is a policy analyst for EducationNC.