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What role will our community colleges play in the future?

Our Reach NC Voices team hit the road in November, taking on the exciting task of visiting all 58 community colleges in North Carolina. In the last three months, we have visited six.  

We are looking to put the public back in public policy, and community colleges have a story to tell. We find the stories through direct conversation, community visits, innovative social media, surveying tools, texting, and more. 

Each school we visited houses special programs to serve the needs of their community and focuses on elevating students for future success. Rowan-Cabarrus Community College devised a formula to satisfy regional workforce needs and affordability for students with the The North Carolina Manufacturing InstituteRandolph Community College has a hard time keeping students at the Richard Petty Education Center through graduation because they are offered such high paying jobs.

In Winterville, Pitt Community College began an early college program in 2015 and has since doubled its enrollment. Catawba Valley Community College’s Furniture Academy prepares students for skilled jobs in one of the region’s most high demand industries. Central Piedmont Community College prides itself on accessibility as the school touches 100,000 people a year, sitting just outside uptown Charlotte.

We have only just started our journey, but one thing is clear: the system and the colleges have changed a lot over the 60-year history. These visits prompted us to ask:

What role will community colleges play in the next 20 years and beyond?

We sent this question to our community on Reach NC Voices. Here is what your neighbors think:

Now we want to know what you think. What role will community college play in the future? Let us know your thoughts in the survey below. 

Caroline Parker

Caroline Parker is the director of rural storytelling and strategy for EducationNC. She covers the stories of rural North Carolina, the arts, STEM education and nutrition.