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Going to college as a parent is tough. The cost of child care makes it tougher.

Welcome to Awake58! If you missed last week’s edition looking at the work of myFutureNC and the attainment goal, click here. 

5,000 new AI apprenticeships coming to NC … We spotlight the work of the Land of Sky Collaborative as it tries to launch localized attainment work … Child care remains a persistent issue for community college students … Western Piedmont has released its list of finalists for college president  … 

U.S.  Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia visited NC State University last week to announce a four-year, $6 million “closing the skills gap” grant, which will fund the Artificial Intelligence Academy: NC Apprenticeships for Innovation. The grant will be matched with $2.7 million in private sector funds.

The Department of Labor is investing in 28 public-private partnership programs across the country to expand industry apprenticeship programs.

“Apprenticeships are one very important way to equip American workers with skills to help them succeed and meet the demands of the current job market,” Scalia said at the event. “Apprenticeships are paid positions that combine on-the-job training and mentorship with classroom instruction and which result in a credential that is recognized by other employers in the industry.”

For more on the grant, as well as the benefits Scalia identified for apprenticeships, check out my colleague Mebane Rash’s piece.

Click here to read our story

Stay tuned to EdNC.org this week for our series on transfer students and the transfer process. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Just reply to this email.

See you out on the road,

Nation

Director of Growth, EdNC.org

Going back to school as a parent is tough. The cost of child care makes it tougher.

One of my favorite EdNC.org pieces of the week came from Liz Bell, who took a look at the community college system’s child care grant program. It’s designed to help students with child care. But as Liz reports, only about 750 grants are given out each year across the state.

Liz looks at the program through the eyes of Nash Community College student Trakeia Lynch:

Lynch says juggling her nursing program studies with child care needs often feels like a Catch-22.

As she starts clinical rotations for her program, which Lynch said she is halfway through, her eight-month-old has nowhere to go in the morning. Lynch is expected to be at the clinic by 5:45 a.m., earlier than her infant’s daycare opens.

“I have to rely on family if they can help, friends if they can help, just whatever,” Lynch said. “As long as I make it. I can’t afford to miss clinicals.”

For Lynch’s story, and more on the child care grants, check out Liz’s piece. Access and completion are always challenged by real life circumstances, so expect a lot more conversation around the child care grant program and wraparound services as the attainment conversation heats up.

How will we reach our attainment goal? This pilot project hopes to help.

Emily Thomas reports: “The Land of Sky Region, located in the mountains of Western North Carolina and including Henderson, Madison, Buncombe, and Transylvania counties, is home to over 430,000 residents. In late 2019, this region had the lowest unemployment rates in North Carolina and nearly all occupational sectors showed positive job growth during the past year.”

The region is also experiencing large scale growth. According to a talent survey by the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, companies in the region are expected to grow over the next three years, adding 12,700 to 26,700 jobs.

Dr. Michael Dempsey told Emily: “And that’s the challenge, supplying the demands of the living-wage workforce.”
The Land of Sky Collaborative recently sprung up in hopes of playing a role in meeting the challenge — and to serve as a model for how localized efforts might meet the myFutureNC attainment goal for their region. For more on Land of Sky, check out Emily’s piece.

The Western Piedmont presidential search is down to four semifinalists.

The Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees has announced that four finalists have been selected for the college presidency. Scott Mulwee, chair of the trustees, shared this information with students, faculty, and staff last week.

The four finalists are:

Towuanna Porter Brannon, Ed.D., vice president for student services at Mitchell Community College in Statesville. She previously served as assistant dean at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY.

James “J.W.” Kelley, Ed.D., associate vice president for student services in the North Carolina Community College System Office in Raleigh. He previously served as vice president for student services at Randolph Community College in Asheboro.

Mark Roth, Ed.D., vice president of corporate and workforce development and the Online College at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, SC. He previously served as president and CEO of RCH Incorporated in Greenville, SC.

Joel Welch, Ph.D., provost and vice president of transformative learning at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem. He previously served as dean of the Business & Technology Division at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, SC.
For more on the search, check out the WPCC website.

The Western Piedmont presidential search is down to four semifinalists.

The Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees has announced that four finalists have been selected for the college presidency. Scott Mulwee, chair of the trustees, shared this information with students, faculty, and staff last week.

The four finalists are:

Towuanna Porter Brannon, Ed.D., vice president for student services at Mitchell Community College in Statesville. She previously served as assistant dean at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY.

James “J.W.” Kelley, Ed.D., associate vice president for student services in the North Carolina Community College System Office in Raleigh. He previously served as vice president for student services at Randolph Community College in Asheboro.

Mark Roth, Ed.D., vice president of corporate and workforce development and the Online College at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, SC. He previously served as president and CEO of RCH Incorporated in Greenville, SC.

Joel Welch, Ph.D., provost and vice president of transformative learning at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem. He previously served as dean of the Business & Technology Division at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, SC.
For more on the search, check out the WPCC website.

Quick hits

A new report on early colleges was just released. You can check it out by clicking here. Among the findings, early college students are more likely than their peers to go to college and earn a degree. The cost-benefit study also finds that investing in early college programs provides lasting benefits …

Dr. Margaret Annunziata, vice president of academic affairs at Davidson County Community College, will be recognized by the national Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society with the Distinguished College Administrator Award during the organization’s annual convention in April, The Dispatch reports. Check out our article on our recent visit to Davidson County Community College for more on the institution …

As the North Carolina primary approaches, check out our EdNC Voter Guide for the state superintendent race. We also recently held a student-led town hall with several of the candidates.

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.