College of The Albemarle and Currituck County have received the North Carolina Community College System prestigious Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award for their collaborative efforts and vision in building the Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center in Currituck County. Dr. Kandi W. Deitemeyer, President of COA was ecstatic when she received the phone call from the State Board of Community Colleges. “This honor is affirmation that the college and Currituck County have engaged in a significant opportunity for workforce and economic development on both a local and statewide level.” Deitemeyer further acknowledges, “This partnership award distinguishes us among our community college partners and should be celebrated by all of us in Northeastern North Carolina.” “As you consider the previous winners of this award, it is extremely exciting that the efforts of a municipal government and a small/medium size college can and have competed for this honor.”
Established in 2005, this State Board award honors an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated decisive involvement and a firm commitment to the professional development of its employees and/or to the development of North Carolina's workforce through its partnership efforts with one or more of the 58 community colleges. “This is the first time we have awarded a partnership between a college and a county government,” says Dr. Linwood Powell, Chairman of the State Board of Community Colleges. “This is an unprecedented example of how two groups came together for the good of the communities and businesses they serve.” Previous winners of this award include Gaston College, Randolph Community College and Duke Energy; Wake Technical Community College and Wake Med Health and Hospitals; and Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College and Volvo Construction Equipment.
COA and Currituck County's partnership began in 2011 as they focused on creating training and educational opportunities that would advance the technical skills of citizens throughout the college's 7-county service area. “Currituck has a long standing commitment to education, and the partnership with COA to provide technical education was a logical next step in preparing our students for the future,” said S. Paul O'Neal, Currituck County Commissioner and COA Board of Trustees Member.
Dan Scanlon, Currituck County Manager, when asked about the county's relationship with College of The Albemarle said, “We are thankful for the partnership we have forged with COA and their willingness to be integrated into the economic development vision of Currituck County and Northeastern North Carolina. College of The Albemarle serves as a vital partner in the county's on-going endeavor to provide our students, residents, and workforce with marketable skills for a competitive, evolving economy.”
“The work and commitment that resulted in this center is an investment that will directly and positively impact the future of economic and workforce opportunities in the region.” Said Dr. Scott Ralls, North Carolina Community College System President. “Everyone – Dr. Deitemeyer, the county commissioners, COA Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff – must be commended for this monumental undertaking that means so much to the community and will be a model for the state and the nation.”
“To say that I am proud of our collective efforts would not capture the magnitude of the significance of this partnership,” said Deitemeyer.
“I applaud the vision and commitment of the Currituck County Commissioners in their partnership with the college. The Board of Trustees are proud to have been a part of this project and know that the region and its citizens will reap significant benefits from the education and training opportunities offered at the Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center,” said J. Fletcher Willey, Chair, COA Board of Trustees.
The result of the support of Currituck County and the stewardship of the college, the Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center (RATTC) is situated in a 600+-acre business and industrial campus and is adjacent to the Currituck County Regional Airport. The RATTC is a 37,000 square-foot facility unique in its design and appearance. As the college's fourth campus location, the center offers programs focused on training students in Aviation Systems Technology – an FAA Certified Program, Architectural Technology, Computer Integrated Machining and Mechanical Engineering.
The design of the facility is centered on the hangar with aviation support labs – sheet metal, avionics, power plant, and composites – along the periphery. The key to the building's innovative design is that the team was able to capitalize on creating transparency throughout the building. Glass walls between the hangar and the avionics lab and the entrance lobby provide immediate visual contact for the programs inside the facility.
The COA Regional Aviation and Technical Training Center is one of the first schools in the United States to run an entire overhaul facility. It will be visited by colleges and industries from across the country because of its programs and unique approach to student-centered active learning environments.