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The State Board meets this week

A note from Nation

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The State Board meets this week… Central Piedmont CC and Gaston College’s efforts to address medical staffing shortages are in the news… IEI’s 2022 Emerging Issues Forum will be focused on attainment… McDowell Tech received a $2 million federal grant…

The budget negotiations between legislative leaders and Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration continue this week. We will have full coverage on EdNC.org whenever news breaks on this front. Stay tuned.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s leadership team is currently traveling to all 100 of North Carolina’s counties in an effort they have dubbed the “Extra Miles Tour.” We have joined them for the majority of the tour stops so far as we also work to share stories from all 100 counties this year. Blue Cross NC has included a number of community colleges on the tour during their early visits, so look for that coverage this week.

Our story on their Buncombe and Henderson visit is full of information on what we saw that day, including A-B Tech hosting lunch with leaders from the Dogwood Health Trust (an important philanthropic engine for the western part of our state) and Blue Ridge Community College walking us through an innovative approach to partnerships and healthcare training:

Starting in high school, students can begin taking Allied Health classes through Blue Ridge. Once they graduate, students can transition into one of 15 programs offered by the community college. Students who choose to continue their studies may enter one of Wingate’s graduate programs.

The result is an entire educational journey completed without students ever leaving their community.

“Our high school students can matriculate from high school into our Allied Health programs and immediately go into a doctorate of pharmacy and never leave Hendersonville,” Leatherwood said.

As the tour continued, we heard from Blue Ridge students who had either just begun their program or were near the end. When asked if they planned to stay in the county, all but one student said yes, which is great news for Henderson County.

For the full piece, click here.

The State Board of Community Colleges will meet this Thursday and Friday in Raleigh. You may find the agenda here and the full package of materials is available by clicking here.

Several statewide organizations have upcoming events you may want to check out. Scroll down to the Around NC section for more!

Thank you for reading Awake58 this week. If you have tips or story recommendations, please respond directly to this email. We’re listening!

I’ll see you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Head of Growth — EdNC.org


EdNC reads

What would it mean for Western N.C. to have a whole-person approach to education and health care?

Blue Cross NC is on a quest to travel to all 100 of North Carolina’s counties. As part of the Extra Miles Tour mentioned above, Blue Cross NC has visited numerous community colleges. My colleagues Alli Lindenberg and Emily Thomas were part of the trip to Buncombe and Henderson Counties that included stops at A-B Tech and Blue Ridge Community College.

I thought you might find this perspective from Blue Cross CEO Tunde Sotunde interesting:

“I think it’s becoming more clear to us, over the years we’ve talked about disparities, but that these non-medical drivers of health are critical if you truly want to drive towards better overall health and well-being,” said Tunde Sotunde, president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

Sotunde’s message of a holistic approach aligns with the thoughts of community college leaders across the nation.

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article, Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and advisory board member of the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, discussed community colleges being a hub where they welcome students and all the support systems that come with them.

“So whether it’s education nonprofits, basic-needs providers, or community-activist organizations that provide identity and support for students, we need to open our doors and house them all. We can’t do everything ourselves,” Eddinger said. “Education is nothing if you can’t get health care, transportation, child care, and basic needs all woven together to support that student.”

Sotunde’s advice to the students of Blue Ridge highlighted this point.

“Always have a whole-person approach,” Sotunde said.

For the full details on the visit, click here.

Click here for the full story

Addressing the regional labor shortage in McDowell, Rutherford, and Polk counties

A collaborative workforce development initiative that will help address the regional labor shortage in McDowell, Rutherford, and Polk counties launched Monday, Oct. 11. EdNC’s Emily Thomas attended the press briefing at McDowell Tech. From Emily:

The project, “Foothills Forward,” is a partnership between McDowell Technical Community College (MTCC), Isothermal Community College (ICC), Foothills Workforce Development Board, and Centro Unido Latino Americano (CULA).

The initiative is funded by a $1.49 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunities in Rural Communities (WORC) program and will recruit and serve economically disadvantaged individuals. According to the press briefing, “both McDowell Tech and Isothermal will receive funds to add high-tech instructional simulation equipment in health care, manufacturing and construction trades programs.”

“By working collaboratively to systemically address the needs of our residents,” said Dr. Margaret Annunziata, president of ICC, “we look forward to seeing a significant increase in completion of valuable workforce credentials in health care, manufacturing and construction trades.”

Centro Unido Latino Americano, a nonprofit organization, will help connect Hispanic and Latino communities in the Foothills region to the training and education offered by MTCC and ICC.

“To boost economic prosperity – to increase workforce participation in our region – it’s going to require an increased collaboration and alignment of workforce training and service agencies in our region,” said Dr. Brian Merritt, president of MTCC.


Around NC

The Institute for Emerging Issues’ 2022 Emerging Issues Forum will focus on educational attainment. They invite you to save the date for Tuesday, February 8, 2022. According to their website: “The 2022 Emerging Issues Forum will bring together local, state and national leaders to call attention to this attainment gap and to the impact of the pandemic on efforts to close it. Because education is fundamentally local in character, a particular focus will be on spurring effective action at the community and regional levels across the state. The event will showcase promising practices that help all students—younger and older, White and non-White, richer and poorer—to get ready for, gain access to and to successfully complete postsecondary educational opportunities. The importance of effective collaboration will be highlighted, especially the role of the business community in promoting curriculum alignment, offering work-based learning and advocating for a competitive workforce.”

From myFutureNC: “We will host the kick-off 2021-22 myFutureNC FAFSA Network webinar on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 from 10-11 a.m. Registration is required to attend and limited to those serving students in the FAFSA Network.” To RSVP, click here.

Many thanks to the reader who pointed out the Dallas Herring Lecture with Broward College president Gregory Haile is actually on November 16. You may register by clicking here. We apologize for the error — and we hope to see you at the Herring Lecture!

Conversations around nursing shortages are unfolding across North Carolina and the country. Central Piedmont Community College, among others, is trying to play their role. Central Piedmont CC recently announced a fast-track nursing program.

Beaufort County Community College announced a 26% enrollment increase for the fall semester. The college credits the Beaufort Promise program.

The Gaston Early College of Medical Sciences enrolled 75 students on August 10 as part of Gaston County’s efforts to bolster their health care pipeline.

McDowell Technical Community College was awarded a $2 million U.S. Department of Education grant. According to McDowell News, “The funding is part of the department’s Title III Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP), which aims to help institutions boost their capacity to serve low-income students by providing funds that help them become self-sufficient, expand capacity to serve students, and improve and strengthen the institution.”

Pitt Community College’s efforts to bolster distance education were featured in the Daily Reflector. Pitt CC, like many other community colleges across the state, has worked to upgrade their classroom tech in an effort to provide for more synchronous educational offerings.

Sandhills Community College will launch a series of new programs in the next several years — and they are seeking community input and prioritization as they select the programs.

Awake58 reader Josh Howell passes along the following information and invitation:

“In preparation for the upcoming Call for Manuscripts, the NC Community College Journal of Teaching Innovation’s (NCCCJTI) editorial board is providing this information session for potential authors interested in submitting manuscripts to be reviewed for the Spring 2022 publication.

The information session will cover more details concerning mission, vision, scope, and submission policies/procedures. Please find the zoom link at the bottom of this invitation. Please feel free to forward the invitation to other interested parties on your campus.

The Journal is to be produced twice annually as a chronicle of North Carolina Community College teaching innovation with a vision to provide:

  • publishing opportunities for NC community college faculty, staff, and those interested in pedagogical practices within NC community colleges.
  • readers with pedagogical practice or research related to North Carolina Community Colleges.
  • trends and implications of research within NC Community Colleges and how they relate to instruction, retention, and/or engagement.

The Journal provides all North Carolina Community College faculty and staff with an outlet for publishing manuscripts of research and practice, as well as providing open access to readers or scholars interested in higher education topics surrounding North Carolina Community Colleges.

This information session is scheduled for Tuesday, October 19 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. via Zoom link here.”

Other higher education reads

The College Payoff: More Education Doesn’t Always Mean More Earnings

The Center on Education and the Workforce is out with a report looking at the connections between educational outcomes and lifetime earnings. According to a press release from the Center, “The College Payoff: More Education Doesn’t Always Mean More Earnings finds that 16% of high school graduates, 23% of workers with some college education, and 28% of associate degree holders earn more than half of workers with a bachelor’s degree.”

Is A Tuition-Free Community College Plan Enough?

Congress is still in the throes of debating the $3.5 billion infrastructure plan that includes America’s College Promise — a proposal to make community college tuition-free nationally.

This piece from Diverse Education includes multiple suggestions from higher education leaders and advocates on ways to make the proposal more equitable — including more funding for completion and retention, as well as expanding Pell Grants.

How the HBCU Experience Builds Leaders

Strada Education published a piece evaluating the HBCU role in building leaders. Give the piece a read and check out this key data point:

“HBCUs produce 20 percent of Black college graduates in the United States, even though they account for only 10 percent of all Black students who are enrolled… HBCUs also prepare graduates for notable roles in public service. More than 70 percent of Black doctors and dentists and 80 percent of Black judges earned their bachelor’s degrees at HBCUs. Forty percent of Black Americans who hold seats in the U.S. Congress are HBCU graduates. Half of Black public school teachers are, too.”

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.