Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

Survey: We want to hear from you

A note from us

Hi, Nation here with this week’s edition of Awake58. If you missed our last newsletter discussing First in Talent and Pillowtex, you may find it by clicking here.

Gov. Roy Cooper kicked off a tour of North Carolina’s community colleges… We are launching a survey to hear more from you… The USDA gave a significant grant to N.C. A&T for continued food system research… Cape Fear Community College will offer drop-in child care for all enrolled students… Robeson Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College are launching a landmark regional collaboration…

We are continuing to track the budget process. Legislative leaders have assured the media and other stakeholders in recent weeks that they have made progress, but to expect a budget after Sept. 1. Stay tuned to for the latest.

Each year, we try to collect your feedback so that we can continue to improve this newsletter and our community college coverage. It is our hope that Awake58 is an important tool that helps keep you informed and engaged when it comes to activities across the community college system.

Your feedback will help inform the continued development of this newsletter, along with our content plan for the year ahead.

Please take our survey by clicking this link.

And as a thank you for your time, we will pick three recipients at random to win a $25 gift card.

We’d also like to make sure an important event in the community college world is on your radar – the 2023 Dallas Herring Lecture. We hope to see you there on Nov. 14. Several of our team members will be present to document the day. You can register on the Belk Center’s website.

In other important news, Robeson Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College recently unveiled a new regional collaboration. Here’s more from Robeson Community College’s website:

Robeson Community College signed a Strategic Regional Partnership agreement with Fayetteville Technical Community College on Tuesday (Aug. 1). The agreement will allow RCC students an opportunity to compete for seats in the Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, and Funeral Service Education programs at FTCC. Each program at Fayetteville Tech is highly sought after and very competitive.

“This is an unprecedented signing today,” RCC President Melissa Singler stated. “We are partnering with one of our sister institutions, Fayetteville Technical Community College. We are just really excited for this opportunity. We know this is going to be a perfect fit for our college and provide many opportunities for our students.”

Collaborations have always been critical for our community colleges — but we anticipate more announcements of this sort in the years ahead. You can read our coverage about prior collaboration efforts from May 2022 at this link. As the system kicks off an evaluation of the funding tiers, we anticipate bolstering collaboration through incentives and FTE funding will be part of the conversation.

I’ll see you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Head of Growth —

P.S. — Please take five minutes to take our survey so we can better serve you by improving Awake58!

EdNC reads

Press release: Governor Cooper kicks off tour highlighting our community colleges and strong workforce

Gov. Roy Cooper and N.C. Community College System President Jeff Cox gathered alongside other stakeholders at Central Piedmont Community College last week to celebrate North Carolina once again being named “First in Business.” Cooper’s team also announced an upcoming community college tour. Read more from the release:

Last Tuesday, Governor Roy Cooper celebrated CNBC naming North Carolina as the Top State for Business in 2023 with business and education leaders at Central Piedmont Community College, kicking off a series of statewide events that will highlight North Carolina’s strong and diverse workforce and community colleges.

The Governor also toured the campus to learn more about apprenticeship and 3D printing programs currently offered at the community college.

“North Carolina is the best state for business for the second year in a row thanks to our well-trained, diverse, and dedicated workforce,” Governor Cooper said. “Our community colleges are our not-so-secret weapon when it comes to building a talented workforce, and it’s critical that we invest in our public schools, quality child care, our community colleges and the health of North Carolina working families in order to continue this amazing success.”

“Given that a world-class workforce is needed for businesses to thrive, I can’t think of a better place for Governor Cooper to tout our state’s consistently high rankings. Central Piedmont and our 57 sister colleges across the state have been preparing individuals to work in high-demand careers for 60 years now,” said Central Piedmont Community College President Kandi Deitemeyer. “Through the decades, North Carolina’s community colleges have responded to industry and employer needs, developing talent pipelines of well-trained, highly skilled workers who are ready to hit the ground running.”

“North Carolina community colleges have long been the difference maker for North Carolinians who want a better job, better pay, or new opportunities. Now, the North Carolina Community College System is proving to be the difference maker in how we recruit new businesses and build talent pipelines that make good on our commitments to prepare graduates for a dynamic workplace,” said North Carolina Community College System President Jeff Cox.

The rest of the release documents other business leaders speaking about the importance of the system. The rest of the release can be found by clicking this link.

From Early Bird: Alexander County child care access has dwindled, with many providers uncertain what’s next

Community colleges touch the entire educational continuum, as you well know. Our Early Bird newsletter comes out every other week to showcase early childhood work. This week the newsletter is looking specifically at Alexander County. Here is an excerpt:

Alexander County, just north of I-40 between Asheville and Winston-Salem, has lost two of its larger child care providers, including Small Hands, since the pandemic. And as government pandemic relief funds, which are keeping many programs afloat, run out at the end of this year, big questions remain about how many more will close — and where those families and children will go.

“I’m not sure how long we could survive,” said Angela Adams, director of Calling Kids Child Development Center in Hiddenite, when asked what the fiscal cliff will mean for her program. Adams was one of several Alexander County providers who echoed this sentiment to EdNC.

Advocates have pushed for $300 million this legislative session to continue the stabilization funds through the next two years, but no state funds have showed up in budget proposals so far.

The stabilization funds are “the best thing that’s ever happened to child care,” said Bonnie Canter, who has worked in Alexander County child care for 51 years. For the past 23 years, Canter has run Millersville Child Development Center in Taylorsville.

“I will tell you this, also,” she said. “If they stop it, it will be the worst thing they’ve ever done for child care.”

Dawn Curtin, program director for child and family services with The Enola Group, which runs an Early Head Start center in the county, said intervention is needed.

“It’s a wake-up call,” Curtin said. “We really need to have people figure out what’s a sustainable plan that will meet the needs of the families who are really going to be the driving force of our economy.”

Liz’s article is part of a statewide tour of the early education and child care landscape. I encourage you to give all of her articles a read.

Around NC

Cape Fear Community College has announced it will provide drop-in child care for all enrolled students beginning this fall.

“We are thrilled to introduce this initiative and break down obstacles that often prevent student-parents from pursuing their educational aspirations,” said Jim Morton, CFCC President. “We firmly believe that everyone should have equal opportunities to succeed, and by offering free drop-in childcare, we are helping to remove any of the significant obstacles our students face.”

North Carolina A&T announced a major grant from the USDA last week:

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES) will receive nearly $2 million to test environmentally friendly growing techniques, improve educational training on food allergies, strengthen nutritional science programs and more – six projects in all – as part of a competitive grant program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Pitt Community College received a grant for the “Building Careers Alignment Project” from the State Board of Community Colleges:

The North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges has approved Pitt Community College’s Building Careers Alignment Project as well as funding for its implementation.

According to the college’s Grants Management Office, PCC has been tasked with leading a statewide effort to ensure construction education offered by North Carolina community colleges corresponds with industry-recognized credentials and workforce demands. Pitt was awarded a $60,000-grant to get the project off and running, with funding coming through the State Fiscal Recovery Fund.

Robeson Community College hosted myFutureNC and other regional stakeholders to discuss how the college could improve attainment in their service area as part of their strategic plan.

Employability was the top choice for how community stakeholders define student success at Robeson Community College, which resonated with the purpose of the meeting, to get more people back in the workforce and more credentials in the hands of people to become gainfully employed.

“We all know there is a labor shortage and there is a skills gap that we are tasked with making up and everyone in this room, whether you are in business and industry, government, we all have a part to play in that,” Singler said. “If you’re non-profit, with an agency, your involvement in this is critical, we cannot do this without you.”

South Piedmont Community College has flagged several news releases for us. The college recently announced the graduation of their latest EMS class. They offered EMT courses this summer to serve interested students — including pre-med students from four-year universities who are looking to grow their skillset. The college also spotlighted a graduate story from their “Associate in a Year” program.

Other higher education reads

Making headway in nursing apprenticeships

Health care workforce development is a critical conversation across the state right now — particularly as it relates to nursing. Community College Daily recently spotlighted one approach from Texas:

South Texas College (STC), with its five campuses and two learning centers dotting the map along the Rio Grande in the rural southern tip of the state, has become the first college in the country to be certified by the U.S Department of Labor (DOL) for its nursing apprenticeship program.

The program, part of the college’s thriving Division of Nursing and Allied Health, which enrolls 1,100 largely first-generation students, will allow about 20 students next fall to earn at least $14 an hour while they get one-on-one rotations with nurse mentors in clinical experiences as part of their two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN).

“This partner apprenticeship program is a practical, sustainable solution to address the nursing shortage in our community, but, hopefully, this also will be an example and a national model for others to follow,” said Jayson Valerio, dean of the division, who noted that there is a critical, growing shortage of nurses nationally and in his region, where STC estimates that 11% of nursing positions now are unfilled.

Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the chief of growth for EducationNC.