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DCCC to highlight workforce development

GREENSBORO — Helping business and industry quickly access a well-trained workforce while improving student completion rates highlights this year’s N.C. Community Colleges legislative priorities and $73.5 million budget request.

Representatives from Davidson County Community College and other Piedmont-Triad community college leaders will gather March 24 at Guilford Technical Community College’s Greensboro campus to discuss that legislative agenda and how it affects workforce development across the region. The meeting, open to the public, is at 10 a.m. at GTCC’s Technical Education Center, 3505 E. Wendover Ave. in Greensboro.

The N.C. Community College 2017–18 legislative agenda includes a request for $15.3 million to fund workforce noncredit continuing education programs at the same level as for-credit curriculum programs. Currently, those short-term programs are funded at about two-thirds the level of curriculum program funding. That can be a disincentive to community colleges considering additional short-term training programs that move skilled workers more quickly into well-paying jobs.

Also included in the 2017-18 legislative agenda is a $22.6 million request to increase student support services. By enhancing tutoring, advising and early alert systems, community college leaders believe students are more likely to complete certificates or degrees and transition more quickly into the job market.

N.C. community colleges are also lobbying for $1.1 million to add more career coaches across the state. Currently, 14 community colleges are piloting the career coach program in which college counselors are embedded in high schools to promote workforce training options and highlight well-paying careers. This year’s request would add 31 more career coaches — a response to bridging the “skills gap” in such areas as machining, welding, engineering and mechatronics.

Leaders from Davidson County Community College, Alamance Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, Forsyth Tech, Surry Community College, Rockingham Community College, and Randolph Community College are meeting March 24 to discuss how the 2017–18 legislative budget priorities will enhance industry recruitment, business retention and workforce development in their respective service areas.

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