SALISBURY, N.C. – Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is now home to the “Skill Boss,” thanks to a generous $20,000 donation from the Palmer Foundation to purchase the state-of-the-art training device.
The computerized Skill Boss module will help equip graduates of the College’s Certified Production Technician (CPT) program with next-generation skills to perform in-demand, high-tech manufacturing jobs and will offer high school students a robust introduction to career options in the advanced manufacturing industry.

Rowan-Cabarrus partners with the NC Manufacturing Institute (NCMI) to offer an eight-week Certified Production Technician course, culminating in the opportunity for graduates to become certified through the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC). Scholarship support provided by the NCMI’s industry partners makes it possible for interested adults to complete the program for free, and employers are rewarded with access to highly trained, qualified job candidates. More than 80 percent of graduates have found full-time employment within one month of completing the Certified Production Technician program.

The Skill Boss, a portable, classroom-friendly machine, performs a variety of computer-controlled functions aligned with more than 55 skills drawn from the MSSC’s National Production Standards. The device offers a dynamic learning experience and a cost-effective way for high schools and workplaces that cannot afford a costly lab or tech center to offer hands-on Certified Production Technician training and testing. In addition to training and assessing hands-on skills for all sectors of manufacturing, the Skill Boss can increase employer confidence, bolster training for incumbent workers, and increase the incentive for employees to earn full CPT certification.

“This generous donation from the Palmer Foundation supports our partnership with the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council to prepare students in our community and beyond with the skills they need to work in computer-driven, data-intensive jobs in the advanced manufacturing industry,” said Craig Lamb, Rowan-Cabarrus Vice President of Continuing Education. “Rowan-Cabarrus is pleased to grow our relationship with MSSC to become a Master Training Center. As the largest provider of MSSC Certified Production Technicians in North Carolina, this is the next step in our movement to prepare the next generation of manufacturing workers.”

By serving as a hub for instructor training and certification, Rowan-Cabarrus is helping expand opportunities for high school students and others to pursue CPT certification and land high-quality jobs. In addition to Rowan-Cabarrus, Sandhills Community College and Lenoir Community College now serve as MSSC instructor certification sites.

Mary Jane Palmer Enroth, who represented the Palmer Foundation in presenting the donation at a recent meeting of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees, expressed the hope that the College’s participation as a state training center could be the beginning of a national trend in manufacturing training. The Palmer Foundation provides strategic philanthropic donations for programs that prepare youth and adults for quality careers.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to providing the latest training and education to prepare our students for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We are grateful to the Palmer Foundation for this wonderful donation to help our students build the skills they need to forge sustainable careers in high-tech manufacturing workplaces. Their partnership is vital in our work to improve the lives of our students, create a ready workforce, and make a positive impact on our community.”

For more information about the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute or the MSSC instructor training program, contact Donna Ludwig at