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RCCC takes employability program on the road

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

SALISBURY — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is taking a mobile version of its award-winning R3 (refocus, retrain, re-employ) model to Rowan County.

The program will support the new “Better Jobs for Better Lives in Rowan County” initiative.

The R3 model has been in existence at Rowan-Cabarrus for a number of years, largely helping to support the workforce laid off in the region over the last two decades.

The college currently provides employability workshops, adult basic education, NCWorks Career Center services and job search assistance free of charge through the R3 program.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners have invested $100,000 to enable the college to take the program on the road around Rowan County and bring much-needed services directly into communities.

Thirty percent of the budget is going directly to scholarships to provide these services free of charge.

“While the college has provided these services for many years, this traveling initiative will allow us to bring the services directly to the people in their towns,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

“It will also give us the opportunity to better tailor our services to the individuals living in each community.”

Objectives

The program has three key objectives:

Increasing access to and participation in employability-building activities for all Rowan residents.

Building stronger networks to solve community barriers to workforce participation and success.

Raising wages of Rowan workforce through skill development and access to better jobs.

Better Jobs for Better Lives in Rowan County has identified four zones (West Rowan/Cleveland, China Grove/Landis, Rockwell/Granite Quarry/Gold Hill and Salisbury West End) to provide these services, with one zone deployed during each fiscal quarter of 2017.

Greg Edds, chair of the county commission, praised the initiative.

“We are proud to partner with Rowan-Cabarrus to provide training and support to those in our communities who are unemployed and underemployed,” Edds said.

Engage citizens

This initiative is designed to engage citizens where they live with services that prepare them for high-growth, high-wage careers.

Access to career planning, skill training and job opportunities stimulates growth at the household, community and county level. A few of the many services these centers will provide include career coaching, resume and interview clinics, and GED preparation.

Craig Lamb, RCCC vice president of corporate and continuing education, said the college was excited to be kicking off the program in the Rockwell, Granite Quarry and Gold Hill area in February.

“The college is committed to helping build a strong workforce and to supporting the economic growth of Rowan County,” Lamb said.

The strategy of bringing education access to students and to meet them where they are allows the college to bring a more personalized set of services to people who want to increase their skills and pursue higher wage jobs, college officials said.

Jobless rates

The 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the highest unemployment rate and lowest median weekly earnings for workers without a high school diploma, followed by those with a high school diploma and some college.

Jim Greene of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners said the Better Jobs for Better Lives program is designed to help people with educational gaps, criminal backgrounds, insufficient wages or part-time work. The goal is to improve their skill-set to obtain a higher quality jobs, he said.

The Better Jobs for Better Lives program will identify assets, partners and resources that fill community needs and leverage existing capabilities to establish the unique needs of each zone.

To ensure sustainability, the program will continue identify resources and partners within the community to deliver ongoing services to residents and businesses.

Feb. 7 meeting

Better Jobs for Better Lives in Rowan County will hold its first planning forum on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Building in Rockwell. The purpose of the meeting is to plan publicity and outreach efforts to connect the Rockwell, Granite Quarry, Faith and Gold Hill communities.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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