North Carolina Community College System wins first NC TECH Award for rural broadband initiative

Thursday, November 2, 2023 – 3:25pm

The North Carolina Community College System won first place in the Government Projects category at the NC TECH Awards Gala on November 1. The NC TECH Awards is North Carolina’s only statewide technology awards program that recognizes innovation, growth, and leadership in the tech sector and is presented by the North Carolina Technology Association.  

The System was recognized for its Rural College Broadband Project, which bolstered broadband access on 45 rural college campuses throughout the state over the last two years. The project implemented critical, college specific IT infrastructure and network security improvements. Multiple improvements were tailored to each college, including fiber cable installation, WiFi access point additions, cybersecurity, network power supply and security support, and firewall checks. 

“Our rural college broadband initiative demonstrates the System’s innovative approach to reduce barriers to quality higher educational opportunities and drive sustainable economic development in rural North Carolina. We are excited to be recognized for this effort and look forward to building on this success,” said Patrick Fleming, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer at the North Carolina Community College System.  

The System partnered with MCNC (Microelectronics Center of North Carolina) and the Department of Information Technology to deliver necessary broadband infrastructure and cybersecurity enhancements for our rural community colleges.  This collaborative effort established a pathway for rural colleges to contribute to greater economic mobility within their communities. 

The Government Project of the Year Award highlights a government, education or public entity that has utilized technology tools to execute a project that delivers value, efficiency, and ease of use for students or citizens.  

“I couldn’t be prouder of Patrick Fleming and the entire IT team for their outstanding work on this Rural Broadband Initiative. Helping ensure our rural colleges have the internet connectivity and infrastructure to deliver outstanding instruction and services to our students is at the very core of our mission as a community college system,” said System President, Dr. Jeff Cox. “Our system is poised to leap into the next decade as the community college system to watch as our Great 58 continue to meet the needs of our students and of business and industry across the state.” 

The System was notified in September as a finalist in the Government Project category and announced as the winner at the NC Tech Awards Gala on November 1. More than 700 attended the Gala at the Raleigh Convention Center, which brings together leaders from technology, business, education, and government to celebrate growth, innovation, and leadership in the State’s vibrant tech sector. 

For more information or questions, contact Rachel Kennedy at NC TECH or Nathan Hardin at the North Carolina Community College System. 

About NC TECH  
NC TECH is a not-for-profit, membership-driven trade association and the primary voice of the technology industry in North Carolina. NC TECH’s mission is to foster growth and champion innovation in North Carolina’s tech sector, while providing a voice for the tech community. NC TECH’s membership includes 600 member companies, organizations and institutions employing more than 200,000 workers in North Carolina. For more information, visit   

About the North Carolina Community College System  
The North Carolina Community College System is a network created to improve the quality of life across North Carolina by opening the door to opportunities that minimize barriers to post-secondary education, maximize student success and develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce. The 58 institutions located throughout the state work to provide easy access to low-cost, high-quality educational opportunities and academic support that focuses on increasing employability.  

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