KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is proud to announce yet another honor from the state of North Carolina. 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.

They were honored for their unique collaboration in supporting the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s role in workforce development. Collaboration between Castle & Cooke North Carolina and the City of Kannapolis began over a decade ago and has created benefits for the community, the community college, and for regional and state workforce and economic 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 Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

The partners have supported work that Rowan-Cabarrus has done at the Research Campus and helped advance the College Station campus, home to the College’s cosmetology school, which opened in August, and the Advanced Technology Center, which will open later this year. The partnership award focused on two of the most notable partnership efforts, which included a significant investment from the City of Kannapolis to relocate the College’s cosmetology program from West Avenue in downtown Kannapolis to the former Big Lots shopping center on North Cannon Boulevard in support of the new downtown revitalization project and a nearly three-acre land donation from Castle & Cooke North Carolina 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 will provide industry-recognized certifications, hands-on skills and customized training and support services to address the educational 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., chair 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. On behalf of the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees, I thank them for their partnership and leadership.”

The Distinguished Partner in Excellence Award was established by the State Board of Community Colleges in 2006. This award recognizes an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated decisive involvement and firm 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 efforts with one or more of the state’s 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. With the addition later this year of the new NC Food Innovation Laboratory at the NCRC, we add to our research an important pathway to the creation of new businesses and new jobs in our region and throughout North Carolina,” said Castle & Cooke North Carolina Vice President of Operations Mark Spitzer. “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 community college; and evidence of a firm commitment on the part of the business/partnership to community colleges and of a firm commitment by the community college to the business/partnership.

“I am so proud to work with such forward-looking agents of change. Here at Rowan-Cabarrus, we are committed to being a catalyst for economic and workforce development in our region,” said Spalding. “It’s hard to do that if you’re all alone, and we’re not. Castle & Cooke North Carolina and the City of Kannapolis have been on board with that and have been willing to support us.”

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was also proud to take home the honor of the 2019 North Carolina President of the Year award for Rowan-Cabarrus president, Dr. Carol S. Spalding.