SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has been honored as the first #1 School on the Rise by the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), recognizing the College’s dedication to providing industry-recognized certification opportunities for students in its automotive, advanced manufacturing and welding programs.

Rowan-Cabarrus emerged as this year’s overall winner for its dynamic and diverse program offerings, according to Roger Tadajewski, executive director of NC3. The award was presented during NC3’s Virtual Leadership Summit in July.

NC3 is a network of education providers and corporations working together to create sustainable models for Career and Technical Education and produce a highly skilled workforce. A monthly School on the Rise award is presented to a member school showing consistent growth in issuing certifications that lead to student success. Rowan-Cabarrus has been an NC3 Leadership School since 2016.

The College’s automotive, advanced manufacturing and welding programs are growing in popularity as career opportunities and salaries in these fields continue to increase. Rowan-Cabarrus students train on the latest industry equipment and have opportunities for internships that often lead to job offers even before graduation.Tony Bean holding award

“We are proud of our successful Career and Technical Education programs, and we’re absolutely thrilled to be chosen as the first recipient of the annual NC3 #1 School on the Rise Award,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “By partnering with leading industries, we are able to offer students the best hands-on training, a wide range of industry certifications, and ongoing education, thereby strengthening the local economy and creating opportunity for the citizens of our community.”

Cabarrus, Rowan and surrounding counties are home to many industrial manufacturing facilities, and workers with up-to-date credentials and certifications are top candidates for employment. Automotive, welding and advanced manufacturing students at Rowan-Cabarrus are able to train on industry-specific equipment and earn sought-after certifications with companies such as FESTO, Lincoln Electric and Snap-on.

In fields such as welding and engineering, local employers are not only seeking the most qualified new employees, but often call on Rowan-Cabarrus to provide continuing education and professional development opportunities for existing personnel. The College uses the same equipment for instruction that industries in the surrounding region use in their work every day.

“We see this as a great opportunity to give our students a top-notch education and to give employers in the community a chance to offer additional training as well,” said Carl Smith, Rowan-Cabarrus automotive systems technology instructor.

Rowan-Cabarrus has established advisory boards that include business representatives to ensure that the curriculum aligns with current industry standards. These partnerships also enable the College to place students in internships that allow them to learn in the workplace.

“We usually have companies wanting more interns than we’ve got students,” said Tony Bean, chair of engineering technology programs at Rowan-Cabarrus. “The majority of students who intern have a job before they even leave school.”