Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Awarded $120K Grant from NC Back-To-Work Program


SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce in support of the NC Back-to-Work initiative. The program will focus on providing job training and retraining to unemployed citizens of North Carolina.

Last year, the College was one of sixteen community colleges who were awarded the grant. This year, more colleges received funding, but the funding amounts were significantly smaller. Last year’s NC Back-to-Work grant was for $301,539 and focused exclusively on the long-term unemployed citizens in Rowan and Cabarrus counties.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College will leverage this year’s NC Back-to-Work grant to address critical skills shortages in the local labor market. Simultaneously, the initiative will provide significant outreach to unemployed adults who are still trying to recover from substantive job losses.

“These funds will give the College the opportunity to build on the success of the first round of NC Back-to-Work funding by continuing the welding training program in partnership with NC DOL Apprenticeship Program and Mechanical Trades Carolina,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We want nothing more than to help improve the ability for our citizens to get back to work.”

One of the College’s successes was Brandi Hilliard. Hilliard enrolled in the three-day per week continuing education welding class that started last October at Mechanical Trades Carolina, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s training partner.

“Brandi quickly amazed her instructor and classmates with her natural welding abilities,” said John Sciadini, training director for Mechanical Trades Carolina.

Hilliard’s registration fee and welding tools were covered under the NC Back-to-Work program. Hilliard diligently worked to learn as much as she could in the next eight months. She took advantage of every opportunity to test for American Welding Society certifications and graduated from the welding training program with a total of seven different industry-recognized certifications.

Today, Brandi works in Charleston, South Carolina, as a welder earning journeyman wages ($34 per hour). This prestigious, yet confidential job, also provides Hilliard with benefits and the opportunity to earn plenty of overtime pay.

“Honestly, I love it. I’m surprised how much I’ve loved welding!” said Hilliard. “If I could share one thing, I would tell everyone that they can do it. They have no idea how successful you can be – I sure didn’t. It still makes my head spin!”

This year, Rowan-Cabarrus will also offer the Certified Production Technician credential to assist with meeting employment needs of local expanding manufacturers.

“Our goal is to help these individuals obtain marketable credentials which we hope will lead to sustainable employment and new careers,” said Jeanie Moore, vice president of advancement and continuing education for Rowan-Cabarrus.

In keeping with the College’s strategic plan, the NC Back-to-Work initiative will expand capacity for the College to retrain displaced workers from a variety of industries to better meet the demands of local employers.

Students will graduate from their respective programs possessing high demand industry recognized credentials to include a Career Readiness Certification. Students will also receive appropriate soft skills training. Competencies covered will include orientation to the industry, relevant vocabulary, resume writing and interviewing skills. The funding period for the grant is through June 30, 2014.

Anyone who has an interest in Back-to-Work classes should contact the college’s R3 Center in Kannapolis at 704-216-7201. For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu.

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