RCCC board, Cabarrus officials focus on workforce

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Lee Ann Sides Garrett
The Rowan Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees held a strategic conversation with Cabarrus County Board of Education members before its monthly meeting on Monday. The dialogue is part of an effort by the college to improve workforce development and find ways for the schools to improve education and make students more ready for the work force.
“All our students are important,” said RCCC President Carol Spalding. “And our futures are joined.”
John Cox, from the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the group about the Market Street Study, a report by Market Street Services Inc. in Atlanta which analyzes the skill sets and educational training of Rowan and Cabarrus residents. Cox discussed some of the study’s recommendations for improving education.
“We have to set our course to reach out in entrepreneurial development and workforce development,” said Cox.
Of the 71 recommendations made by the study, 11 had to do with community colleges working with school systems. Members of both boards suggested ideas and discussed ways the schools can work together. Spalding suggested the school systems and the college could share faculty development as a way to save money. Spalding and Clyde Higgs discussed students’ perception of the N.C. Research Campus.
“I’m convinced that because of the research campus, just by default, students have a chance to consider science as an opportunity,” Higgs said.
Spalding discussed plans to have similar dialogues with Kannapolis City Schools in the near future. The board met with Rowan-Salisbury schools in December.
“This is just the beginning of the dialogue we can have or what we can do,” Spalding said.
The agenda for the RCCC board’s regular meeting included presentation of $1,700 scholarships by the Cabarrus Rotary Club to RCCC students Dorina Totar and April Kennedy.
The board unanimously approved hiring Patricia P. Cannon as a college admissions recruiter to replace a vacant position.
The board voted to delegate authority to the building committee for items needing attention before the next meeting. The board voted to delegate authority for the approval of a special inspections engineering contractor for the new Building 400 to be constructed on the north campus and awarded a contract for phase three of the renovation of Building 1000 on the south campus. Board member Nancy Bloom presented the legislative agenda, which includes setting up a schedule for trustees, educators, administration and student leaders to meet with legislators from March to May.
The college seeks an additional $250 per student per year in funding for the next four years.
“We decided to focus on one aspect of our needs instead of asking for a gazillion dollars,” said RCCC Board Chairman Ray Paradowski. “I think we have the most efficient education dollar around. We get a lot of love, but we need to get a few dollars with that love.”
The board formally terminated RCCC’s industrial systems technology curriculum because no students have graduated from the program since 2006.
Spalding says the curriculum catered to the counties’ textile industry.
“This is the end of an era that supported a particular industry,” Spalding said. “And the beginning of another for a new industry.”