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What is the strategic role of community colleges in North Carolina’s economic future?

On Thursday, the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research at NC State University is hosting the first statewide conference on North Carolina’s economic competitiveness and economic mobility in partnership with the NC Community College System, Achieving the Dream, and The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program. The key issue attendees will explore through the gathering is the role community colleges might play in increasing the economic competitiveness of the state.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Audrey Jaeger, who leads the Belk Center, and John Enamait, president of Stanly Community College, to discuss the upcoming conference and the work the center will undertake as it moves forward.

Disclosure: The John M Belk Endowment funds both the Belk Center and EducationNC. 

Michelle Lotker

Michelle Lotker is an award-winning documentary storyteller with a passion for listening to people’s stories, learning new things and discovering the unexpected. Her background combines a stint as an environmental scientist with a Master’s degree in journalism to make her uniquely qualified to tell complex stories in accessible, engaging ways. Lotker’s work has been screened at film festivals including the International Wildlife Film Festival. She’s worked with organizations ranging from UNC-TV to the Sierra Club to local community health centers and national architecture firms to tell stories through a variety of audio and visual formats.

Robert Kinlaw

Robert was director of multimedia for EducationNC. He is a journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker in the Triangle. Robert attended both public and private grade schools in North Carolina and graduated from the Media and Journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. He has produced video content for The News & Observer, ABC11-WTVD, UNC-Chapel Hill, The News Reporter and more. His short documentary Princess Warrior received an Excellence in Filmmaking award at the 2017 Carrboro Film Festival. Visit his website at