N.C. Community College System Announces Receipt of $4 Million Apprenticeship Grant to Support Underserved Communities

N.C. Community College System Announces Receipt of $4 Million Apprenticeship Grant to Support Underserved Communities

Friday, July 15, 2022 - 4:22pm

RALEIGH – The N.C. State Board of Community Colleges (NCSBCC) in its Board meeting today received information regarding the receipt of a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. This grant will enable ApprenticeshipNC to strengthen, modernize, expand, and diversify its Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), and improve RAP completion rates for underrepresented populations, underserved and rural communities. ApprenticeshipNC will focus on expanding the number of programs and apprentices in priority industry sectors and diversifying the industries that utilize RAPs. This grant will support North Carolina’s economic recovery post-COVID-19 pandemic and ensure preparedness for the future. The funding will begin on July 1, 2022 and extend through June 30, 2026.

The grant will enable ApprenticeshipNC to develop a partnership representing the black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities, and a planned partnership with one or more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) designed to expand Registered Apprenticeship Programs into a career pathway model culminating in a bachelor's degree. Another planned partnership will include the Hispanic/Latino Action Coalition to bring cultural awareness and develop an outreach and awareness plan to increase the number of Hispanic/Latino apprentices.

Industry sectors that will be the focus of the grant are: Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Education, Healthcare, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Skilled Trades and Transportation.

The board also received a presentation entitled “Supporting Military Partnerships and Veteran Students.” The State Board heard from Dr. Larry Keen, President of Fayetteville Technical Community College, Mr. Scott D. Dorney, Executive Director of the North Carolina Military Business Center, and Mr. Michael Nagowski, CEO of Cape Fear Valley Health System. The presenters shared information about the many ways that North Carolina’s community colleges are training veterans for civilian jobs and helping meet regional economic needs.

In addition to the information shared regarding training for veterans, the Board heard an update from the Strategic Planning Committee on their work to develop the 2022-2026 strategic plan. The five focus areas of the plan include faculty and staff recruitment and retention, enrollment, student success for all, economic and workforce development, and system funding and effectiveness. Feedback from the Strategic Planning Committee and from the five planning teams will be incorporated and an updated draft plan will be discussed in August.

Thomas Stith III President
200 West Jones Street Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

The State Board approved allocations to support programs with a high economic impact for their region. The

$2,000,000 in funding from the Legislature provided a grant program to expand community college programs, which will increase the number of community college graduates in the health sciences, transportation, welding, and artificial intelligence and other high demand fields. The programs supported by the grant were selected based on the results of the 2021 economic impact study of the 58 community colleges conducted by Emsi Burning Glass. This study documented a $19.3 billion impact and support for 319,763 jobs in the state. The study can be read here http://bigroifornc.org/.

As part of the President’s report to the State Board, President Thomas Stith III outlined a variety of strategies for meeting the goals for 2022 that he and the Board developed. In addition to goals designed to increase communication with stakeholders and to support System Office employees, President Stith outlined goals and strategies to address student enrollment, the challenges faced by rural colleges, and to increase efficiency in supporting the 58 colleges.

The State Board also recognized the Most Valuable Team Award winner. This award recognizes System Office teams who go beyond their expected job duties to provide extraordinary service and technical assistance and are positive team players. A team from the Information Technology Division includes Jennifer Williamson, Billy Bennett, Dawn Rountree, Shawn Rudd, Christi Evans, Henry Gathers, Abe Flores, Bianca Foica, Ronnie Harris, Marcus Howard, Johnny Mitchell, and Stephen Reeves. The team was recognized for their work with colleges to migrate to Amazon Web Services Cloud.

The Board also recognized a Most Valuable Person Award. This award is designed to recognize an individual NCCCS System Office employee who has made a significant contribution to the community college system, the System Office, or their work unit. The Board recognized Ms. Kathy Ridl who serves the Information Technology and Finance Departments for her extraordinary service and demonstrated professionalism. Dr. Larry Keen from Fayetteville Technical Community College stated that Kathy worked tirelessly with his Finance and MIS team members at the “highest levels” of expertise, collaboration, patience, genuine leadership, and guidance to help the college. Dr. Keen said, “She is one of those “superstars” that deserves recognition, appreciation, and admiration for the manner by which she performed her duties and a consummate professional and colleague.

In an effort to provide highly qualified teachers to fill the State’s teacher pipeline, the State Board approved a new Elementary Education Residency Licensure certificate. This certificate is designed to provide an alternate pathway to teacher licensure for people who have completed a bachelor’s degree and are currently teaching in a school system with a provisional teaching license. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) approved the framework for the program in June which included both the curriculum and the procedures for local community colleges to receive approval to offer the program. The Elementary Education Residency Licensure Certificate program is a project led by the NCCCS team that initially began in 2020. Several community colleges were directly involved in the development of curriculum content for this project. A special thanks to the following: Blue Ridge CC, Central Carolina CC, Central Piedmont CC, Fayetteville Technical CC, Forsyth Technical CC, Sampson CC, South Piedmont CC, Stanly CC, and Wake Technical CC. This innovative program will replace the former Lateral Entry Certificate.

The Board approved Greg Beckor as a new Information Security Officer. The Information Security Officer is a part of a team of 9 cyber security subject matter experts who provide cybersecurity expertise, leadership, and support for the System Office and the 58 community colleges. Greg comes to the System Office from Coastal Carolina Community College where he served as Director of Information Systems. Greg has also served as an instructor for Computer Science at Coastal Carolina. He holds a Master of Science in Cybersecurity and Information Assurance from Western Governors University.

The Board also approved a new Executive Director for the BioNetwork. Erica Vilsaint comes to this role from the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center in Raleigh where she currently serves as the Program
Coordinator for Professional Development and Marketing. Erica brings significant experience from the BioTech sector to this role. Dr. Vilsaint is pursuing a PhD from North Carolina State University in Educational Leadership and holds a Master of Science in Animal Science.