State launches NCReady4Work initiative at CCC&TI
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute on Wednesday hosted officials from the North Carolina Community College System for the launch of the statewide NCReady4Work initiative. The first in a series of statewide learning summits was held at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.
NCReady4Work is a statewide strategic planning initiative focused on identifying strategies to improve North Carolina’s workforce development as well as discussing best practices and challenges.
The event included presentations by CCC&TI, Catawba Valley Community College and Wilkes Community College, each highlighting a single successful initiative for N.C. Community Colleges leadership. The NCReady4Work tour will continue across the state with each of the 58 N.C. community colleges sharing successes and ideas at regional events.
“It’s our goal to be the nation’s No. 1 workforce, and to do that it’s going to take all of us working together,” said Dr. R. Scott Ralls, President of the N.C. Community College System. “Today we are listening, and hearing from you what we can learn from your innovations to share statewide.”
CCC&TI’s presentation focused on partnership efforts with Caldwell County and Watauga County School Systems to prepare middle and high school students in both communities for college and career readiness. Among the efforts discussed were: collaboration with public school officials to better serve students; college course availability for high school students; CCC&TI having transition advisors in each of the four high schools in its service area; and assistance in introducing middle school students to career training and college opportunities.
“We’ve been working together for 50 years,” said Dr. Caryl Burns, Caldwell County Schools Associate Superintendent for Educational Program Services. “We’ve accomplished a great deal together.”
Watauga High School Principal Marshall Gasperson praised the ongoing relationship with CCC&TI as a model for others across the state and highlighted its importance in helping local students to be career ready.
“We’ve established a culture of cooperation,” said Dr. Ken Boham, president of CCC&TI. “The opportunity is there for students to get ahead and accelerate. Students in Caldwell and Watauga have as many options, opportunities and access as anybody else.”
Joining Boham in the presentation on the long-time cooperative spirit between CCC&TI and Caldwell and Watauga county schools were Gasperson, Burns, Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. David Fonseca, Caldwell County Schools Director of High School Education Katrina McEllen, CCC&TI Vice President of Curriculum and Education Margaret Hampson, CCC&TI Executive Vice President Mark Poarch and CCC&TI Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Taylor.
Following CCC&TI’s presentation were officials from CVCC, who shared information about the “Education Matters in the Catawba Valley” program, and Wilkes Community College, who talked about the ongoing efforts to partner with local employers on workforce development.
After the morning of presentations concluded, several participating local employers shared their opinions on what the community college system could do to help prepare students to enter the workforce.
Ralls closed the meeting by thanking all who had participated for providing good ideas and information for the first of more than 25 planned learning summits for the NCReady4Work initiative. The next stop on the tour, he said, is Thursday in Morganton where more community colleges from the region will share their ideas and successes.
Organizers of the event are encouraging stakeholders to follow the ongoing conversation on Twitter by following @NCCommColleges or by using the hashtag #NCReady4Work.