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College Reviews County Workforce and Education Needs Assessments as Part of Program Development

DIVERSE GROUP OF LEADERS ENGAGE IN DISCUSSION OF WHAT COLLEGE CAN PROACTIVELY DO TO ENHANCE THE COMMUNITY

“I am pleased that Rowan-Cabarrus has made these assessments part of their board meeting. It shows a constant commitment to progress, a desire to better our communities, and a keen awareness to check the pulse of our workforce development and educational needs.”

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College used a portion of their October Board of Trustees meeting to review the Rowan and Cabarrus County Needs Assessments and discuss their implications for program development.

During the college’s October Strategic Conversation preceding the board meeting, trustees reviewed the 2012 Cabarrus Community Needs Assessment and the Rowan Health and Human Services Needs Assessment Five-Year Action Plan. The presentation and discussion focused on the areas of workforce and education.

Both assessments shared commonalties, identifying education and unemployment/underemployment as key areas for improvement. The assessments called for improved overall quality of education “to improve literacy, graduation rates, and access to non-traditional learning opportunities,” and “to address deficiencies to increase workforce and economic opportunities.”

Trustee Dakeita Vanderburg-Johnson, president of Southgate Masonry, also serves as chair of the Cabarrus Needs Assessment Dissemination Committee and presented the Cabarrus County findings.

Over the past 10 years, Cabarrus County has experienced a shift in its economy, with a decline in manufacturing and increase in education, health, and hospitality employment. Only 8.9 percent of Cabarrus County’s workforce is currently employed in the manufacturing industry compared to about 23 percent in 2000.

“These critical issues touch the lives of every Cabarrus County citizen. This in-depth study looks at the places in our society where help is needed most,” said Vanderburg-Johnson.

Trustee Dari Caldwell, president of Rowan Regional Medical Center and a member of the Rowan County assessment committee, presented the Rowan County findings. The Rowan County assessment found that programs are available to help people acquire needed job skills, but “widespread knowledge of and access to these opportunities remains a challenge.”

Rowan County lags behind the state average in the percentage of adults with college degrees – with 16 percent of its residents and 26.5 percent statewide holding a bachelor’s degree.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College plays an important role in workforce development in these two counties,” said Caldwell. “The assessment shows that we need to better engage in dialogue with businesses to see what employers’ needs are for people entering the work force. We hope, in turn, the dialogue will impact high school teachers and college instructors who teach those needed skills to their students.”

In addition to the college’s Board of Trustees and president’s cabinet, the conversation included college faculty, RCCC Foundation Directors, mayors, members of the Cabarrus and Rowan assessment committees, and other community leaders.

“We wanted this diverse group of leaders from both inside the college and outside to engage in this critical discussion,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees. “The college is 100 percent committed to constantly assessing the community’s needs.”

“As a community college, we pride ourselves on being able to respond and adapt to the workforce demands of our community,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Being proactive to develop programming that will train our students for the jobs of tomorrow is always a challenge, especially with the limited funding available for these endeavors.”

The college is currently registering students for spring classes. For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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