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Better Jobs for Better Lives awards more than $65,000 in scholarships

SALISBURY — The countywide Better Jobs for Better Lives initiative is well underway and helping change the lives of Rowan County residents.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners invested $100,000 to enable Rowan-Cabarrus Community College to take the award-winning R3 (Refocus, Retrain, Re-employ) program on the road across the county. Thirty percent of the budget is going directly to scholarships to provide services free of charge.

“While the college has provided these services for many years, this traveling initiative is allowing us to bring the services directly to the people in their towns where they live. It is also giving us the opportunity to better tailor our services to each community,” said RCCC President Carol S. Spalding.

Nearly 500 Rowan County residents have received services through the program. Of those, 111 people received scholarships totaling more than $65,000 for training in areas such as medical billing and coding, paramedic, truck driving, manufacturing, nurse’s aide and phlebotomy.

As part of the college’s efforts to spread the word about the Better Jobs for Better Lives program in Rowan County, a new informational video was created. The video can be found on the college’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.

“I would strongly encourage everyone to help us spread the word about this great initiative,” said Ann Morris, associate vice president, corporate and continuing education. “We know that there are more people out there who need help getting a better job. We need your help to reach them. Please share the video with your friends, colleagues and family members to see if they know someone.”

Rowan-Cabarrus is committed to making education more accessible for students and to meet them where they are. This strategy allows the college to deliver personalized services to people who want to increase their skills and pursue higher-wage jobs.

“People often hear that there is a free program out there that can help them with this or that, and it seems too good to be true. This time it’s true,” said Morris.

“We are proud to partner with Rowan-Cabarrus to provide training and support to those in our communities who are unemployed and underemployed,” said Greg Edds, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. “We want to support jobs, jobs, jobs and are glad the college is having such success.”

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

The R3 model has been in existence at Rowan-Cabarrus for a number of years, largely supporting workers laid off in the region over the last two decades. The college provides employability workshops, adult basic education, NC Works Career Center services and job search assistance free of charge through the R3 program. Some of the other services offered are:

• Career coaching: building 30-day action plans for career choice and skills development.

• Working smart: enhance workplace effectiveness skills and habits.

• Resume clinic: starting a resume or enhancing an existing one.

• Interview clinic: tell your story clearly to prospective employers.

• Foundation skills courses: English as a Second Language, English literacy, language, culture, and citizenship for new residents.

• Adult basic education: improve workplace math and reading skill levels.

• GED preparation: earn a high school equivalency.

• Work Keys Career Readiness certification: prove to employers you have what it takes.

• College admissions testing preparation: test your best for optimal college placement.

• Digital literacy: bridge the digital divide and increase access to online resources.

The Better Jobs for Better Lives program will identify assets, partners and resources that fill community needs and leverage existing capabilities to establish the needs of each zone. To ensure sustainability in the future, the program will continue to identify resources and partners within the community to deliver ongoing services to residents and businesses.

For more information about the Better Jobs for Better Lives initiative, contact Keri Allman at 704-216-7201 or keri.allman@rccc.edu.

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