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RCCC receives grant to start light diesel technology program

CONCORD — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has been awarded a $403,487 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to help establish a new light diesel technology degree program.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation has continued to support Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and we cannot thank them enough for their valuable funding,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

In North Carolina, employment for diesel technicians is projected to grow 13.6 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is expected to result in average annual growth of 230 jobs. The median annual wage for diesel service technicians and mechanics was $44,520 in May 2015. These positions will provide a livable, sustainable wage for these students improving quality of life for them and their families.

“As president of R. S. Braswell Company, I appreciate the impact this program can have on our community. The light diesel mechanic program will respond to the growing need of training technicians to work on ‘intelligent equipment.’ This program would offer students the opportunity to obtain skills in electrical, mechanical, and computer technologies. With this training, these graduates will be qualified to meet the current and future employment demands in our area,” said Steve Thigpen, president of R. S. Braswell Company.

To assist the state with job creation and address the skills gap that companies are struggling to overcome in hiring qualified workers with technical skills required, the Golden LEAF Foundation designed a competitive grants program in partnership with the NC Community College System.

Grant funds will be utilized for faculty professional development and to purchase equipment needed to successfully operate and sustain the new program. The program anticipates a launch date of fall 2018 with an enrollment of 15 students per semester.

Rowan-Cabarrus recently purchased the former Webster Radiator and AC shop at 650 Concord Parkway, North. This facility, directly adjacent to the Cabarrus Business and Technology Center (CBTC), gives the college both additional space, and frontage along Concord Parkway. The new space, nearly 7,000 square feet, will require renovation to up fit the facility to standards suitable for the new programs.

The college received five letters from local business and industry partners, including Mid South Tractor and Vulcan Materials, in support of this grant proposal.

The Connect NC Bond awarded to the college by voters in March 2016 will provide approximately $486,000 for the renovation of existing space to house the new program.

“Many thanks to Golden LEAF for seeing the promise in this community, this partnership and this project,” said Spalding.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was also just awarded an additional $560,000 Golden LEAF Foundation grant for the development of a new mechatronics program and upgrade equipment for the welding and computer-integrated machining programs.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu/apply2017 or call 704-216-7222.

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