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Welcome to another week of Awake58! If you were forwarded this email, be sure to subscribe by clicking here.

Sandy Shugart spoke about the role of structural racism and more in remarks focused on the transfer system … Lisa Chapman delivered the response … Margaret Spellings told The74 that high schools should be more like community colleges … California has made a series of significant investments in higher education…

The Dallas Herring Lecture this year focused on transfers between two-year and four-year institutions. Sanford “Sandy” Shugart, president of Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, gave the keynote. The lecture covered structural racism in higher education and the economy, the importance of community colleges to economic health, and the growing importance of a bachelor’s degree for economic success, balanced against the inflating cost of getting that education. It really is worth a watch.

For shorter highlight clips, check out our social media:

Lisa Chapman on North Carolina’s transfer system

Sandy Shugart on transfer: “If you care about diversity and equity in this country’s future, transfer has to work. And it’s been proven that it can.”

Shugart’s overall lecture

Last week, we also published our Extra Hill to Climb series. This four-part series took a look at the challenges our students face on their way to a degree or credential. Rupen Fofaria’s piece on Hurricane Florence’s aftermath moved me deeply. I met Ginger and Kenneth last winter right after Florence, and Rupen tells the story of the past year of their lives with care, while also posing questions about how recovery is managed. 

I also had the chance to catch up with Sara Goldrick-Rab from the Hope Center to discuss the persistent problems of hunger, housing insecurity, and childcare that present challenges to our students. Give it a read and let me know your thoughts by replying directly to this email.

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See you out on the road,

Nation Hahn

Director of Growth, EdNC

EdNC reads

Today’s college students are ‘hardly carefree kids’

The cost of college continues to rise, even as our students face increasing challenges — and this “.. .isn’t just due to rising tuition, but also other soaring expenses, including rent, (Sara) Goldrick-Rab noted. She also pointed to income instability among student families, flat wage growth, and state budget cuts beginning during the Great Recession in 2008-2009 as factors. She said the challenges are compounded because “the safety net is shredded, so programs like TANF and SNAP aren’t good backups when financial aid falls short. And public colleges and universities are deeply underfunded on a per-student basis thanks to state budget cuts.”

College students of North Carolina battle the storms of poverty

We returned to Kenansville, one of the communities that was heavily affected by Hurricane Florence, to see how James Sprunt students Ginger Jenkins and Kenneth Outlaw are recovering. Kenneth put it plainly: “We were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after all this time in school not having a steady income. We’re finally getting some money and then – bam – Florence hits us.” This article was also featured on MSN.com!

Why the grueling educational path was worth it for one early childhood teacher

This piece introduces us to Shari Johnson, who worked while attending Durham Tech in pursuit of a career in early childhood education. She knew hard work awaited her even upon completion of her degree. Why did she do it? “This right here is me,” Johnson said with an infant on her lap while her 2-year-old students napped on cots down the hallway. “Early childhood is me. Infants, toddlers, and twos, that’s me. … Until I’m just too old to be in the classroom, I don’t see myself being in anything besides early childhood classrooms.”

ICYMI: Valencia, UCF paving the way in transfer partnership

Our team member Analisa Sorrells returned to her hometown to tell the story of Valencia College’s unique partnership with the University of Central Florida. Their partnership is part of an umbrella effort called Direct Connect that has been heralded nationally as a bright spot in transfer student initiatives. In 2012, it was recognized as the country’s top program for increasing academic opportunities and success for Latinx students at the associate level.

Other reads

Is California saving higher education?

A lot of folks in the higher ed space are watching California’s recent moves with interest. Why? That state is continuing to invest more money in their higher ed budget, while many other states are reducing their budgets or staying flat.  “Among other initiatives this year, the state has invested heavily in helping community college students transfer into four-year programs, spent more than $50 million on food banks and other programs to combat student hunger and homelessness, opened an online community college to serve people who are already working and boosted state grants for students with children.”

Margaret Spellings says high schools ought to be more like community colleges

This entire interview with Margaret Spellings is worth a read, but this quote caught my eye: “We need for our high schools to be what they once were, and that is a place where young people could get the skills needed to participate fully in the job market or in higher education…. So, how do we think about turning every high school into a community college? Through relationships with community colleges, four-year universities, dual enrollment, P-TECH, lab schools, on and on. Right now, those programs are too limited, and we need to do it more broadly.”

The U.S. furniture industry is back — but there aren’t enough workers

This article is hidden behind a paywall, but it is a deep dive on the lack of skilled workers to fill jobs in the United States furniture industry. Bill McBrayer, vice chair of NC Community Colleges State Board, is quoted in the piece.

Around North Carolina

You can still apply for World View

UNC’s World View is offering a global study program to Costa Rica and Panama in summer 2020 with travel dates from July 19-28. Simple Gifts is providing scholarships if you are a teacher, guidance counselor, media assistant, or assistant principal in a public school or community college instructor, in one of the following counties: Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Chowan, Columbus, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrrell, Vance, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wilson. Apply here!

Jobs consortium launches portal for employers

The NC Community & Technical Colleges Jobs Consortium has launched a new portal for employers. According to Eric Skeen, counselor, South Piedmont Community College: “Roughly one in nine North Carolina citizens 18 and older is enrolled in one of our state’s community colleges. Working together with my fellow career center offices allows employers to easily access our combined students. It’s an incredible feature and opportunity for our state’s employers looking to hire their next employees.”

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Nation Hahn

Nation Hahn is the director of growth for EducationNC.