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RCCC, Castle & Cooke and Kannapolis win state award

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

KANNAPOLIS — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Castle & Cooke North Carolina and the city of Kannapolis have been named the North Carolina Community College System’s 2019 Distinguished Partners in Excellence.

Collaboration between Castle & Cooke and the city began over a decade ago and has created benefits for the community, the college, the regional and state workforce, and economic development. The three were honored for their collaboration supporting the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s role in workforce development.

“We are enormously proud of these partnerships. When public and private entities can come to the table and say, ‘We’ve got a common goal and we’re willing to go the distance to make a real impact,’ it makes a huge difference in our community and in the lives of individuals who live and work here,” said RCCC President Carol S. Spalding.

Castle & Cooke and Kannapolis have supported work that Rowan-Cabarrus has done at the Research Campus; helped advance the College Station campus, home to the cosmetology school that opened in August; and helped bring to life the Advanced Technology Center, which will open later this year. The partnership award focused on two of the most notable of these efforts.

Kannapolis invested significantly in the relocation of the cosmetology program from West Avenue in downtown Kannapolis to the former Big Lots shopping center on North Cannon Boulevard, an effort to support its downtown revitalization project. Castle & Cooke donated nearly 3 acres on the North Carolina Research Campus where the college’s Advanced Technology Center will be located.

The Rowan-Cabarrus cosmetology program, one of the largest and most successful in the state, offers comprehensive scientific and artistic education with hands-on training in a salon environment. The nearly 60,000-square-foot Advanced Technology Center will house classroom and laboratory facilities and provide industry-recognized certifications, hands-on skills, and customized training and support services to address the education needs of companies with high-technology demands and in emerging fields.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring home yet another distinguished honor from the state level,” said Carl M. Short, Jr., chairman of the Rowan-Cabarrus board of trustees. “The partnership with Castle & Cooke North Carolina and the city of Kannapolis has been a strong one, forged on mutual respect, trust and a shared goal of tenaciously going after a bold vision for a better future.”

The Distinguished Partner in Excellence Award was established by the State Board of Community Colleges in 2006. It recognizes an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated decisive involvement and commitment to the professional development of its employees.

“This three-way partnership is producing successes in educational opportunities, workforce preparation and economic development,” said Kannapolis Mayor Darrell Hinnant. “By working together, we are able to create new and better opportunities for people of all ages, backgrounds and interests. We expect our work to continue to propel more growth and prosperity for the city and the entire region.”

The award also acknowledges the development of North Carolina’s workforce through its partnership with one or more community colleges and its community college partner that has made equal efforts, commitment and contributions.

“We are pleased and honored to be part of this unique partnership with the city and Rowan-Cabarrus as the North Carolina Research Campus begins its second decade,” said Mark Spitzer, vice president of operations at Castle & Cooke North Carolina. “With the addition later this year of the new N.C. Food Innovation Laboratory at the (North Carolina Research Campus), we add to our research an important pathway to the creation of new businesses and new jobs in our region and throughout North Carolina. The college’s biotechnology program and the new Advanced Technology Center ensure that we are able to extend the benefits of this unique partnership by training our citizens to be the workforce of the future for these new jobs and businesses.”

A committee of State Board of Community Colleges members chose the recipient of the award. The committee looked for demonstrated concern for advanced education relative to economic and workforce development in the community, as well as education training and services; financial support of a community college or program; an active partner relationship between the company and the college; and evidence of a commitment on the part of the business/partnership to community colleges and of a commitment by the college to the business/partnership.

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