Rowan-Cabarrus Community College News

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board Approves New Academic Vice President

Dr. Michael Quillen, leader from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, will lead the College’s academic programs


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees approved the selection of the new vice president of academic programs Monday afternoon.

Dr. Michael Duane Quillen, Ed.D. comes to the College from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System where he led all academic affairs for the state’s system.

“We are truly thrilled to bring Dr. Quillen on board at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “He will be a valuable addition to the amazing faculty and leadership we have at the College.”

Over the past several months, the College has engaged in a rigorous search process to fill the position of vice president of academic programs. The College’s hiring committee, comprised of individuals from across Rowan-Cabarrus, met with a number of talented candidates from across the country.

Faculty and staff had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Quillen last week during a forum held on campus.

Prior to his accomplishments and tenure at the Kentucky system level, Dr. Quillen taught at Maysville Community and Technical College, and was division chair for math, science and agriculture.

“His life’s work has been in education, and he started out as a faculty member, working his way through roles as assistant dean, dean, vice president, to his most recent position as the vice chancellor of academic affairs for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System,” said Spalding.

Dr. Quillen holds a Doctor of Education from the University of Kentucky, and both Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in biology from Morehead State University.

“I am delighted that we are able to move forward with this important position,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “I am confident that Dr. Michael Quillen is the leader that will help the College navigate our Academic Programs Division forward.”

For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


Posted in Academic Programs, Office of the President |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board Opts Out of Federal Loan Program to Preserve Millions in Free Financial Aid to Local Students

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees approved the College opting out of the federal student loan program in an attempt to preserve access to Pell Grants, federally subsidized campus jobs and other forms of financial aid.

The decision came following a recent report from the U.S. Department of Education revealing an estimated high federal loan default rate of 29.8 percent. Colleges that go above a 30 percent default rate risk having other federal financial aid penalized, as well as losing accreditation.

“The loss of federal financial aid would have severe negative impact to our students. Since so many of our students are reliant on federal Pell grants that do not have to be repaid, we don’t want to risk losing these funds,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “When we first opted into the loan program in 2011, we were nervous about this exact situation. The cost of attending Rowan-Cabarrus is low – tuition is only $216 for a three-hour credit class. Many students choose to pursue additional education at a four-year college. If they take out loans while they’re with us, they can already be tens of thousands of dollars in debt by the time they’ve gotten to a four-year school.”

The Board’s action affects all types of federal student loans under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, previously known as Stafford Loans, effective August 2015.

“We originally voted to keep participating in the loan program for the benefit of students who used the loans as a last resort to secure financial aid. Now, it’s to the point that we can’t risk jeopardizing other federal financial aid and support programs for the majority of other students,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.

Once the Board voted to opt out of the federal direct student loan program, notices to students went out that same week.

While the action affects federal loans, it will not affect the federal Pell Grants, grants for low-income students, and other grants and scholarships that don’t require payback. Each year, the college distributes more than $17 million of this kind of financial aid to local students. Most of it is in the form of federal Pell Grants, community college grants, lottery proceeds and scholarships.

In 2011, the N.C. General Assembly passed legislation that required all state community colleges to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, unless a college’s board of trustees adopted a resolution declining to participate in the program.

As part of the federal student loan program, loan recipients may defer repayment for up to six months after they either complete the course of study or withdraw completely. If the loan recipients do not begin repayment, then they are in default, and the default is carried against the college or university they were attending when they borrowed the funds.

“Federal student loans are not forgivable in most cases, and continue as personal debt until paid. Also, students will not be able to receive financial aid at other institutions until their loan is out of default,” said Janet Spriggs, chief financial officer for the College.

Under federal guidelines, postsecondary institutions with a student loan default rate of more than 30 percent risk losing access to other types of federal financial aid. And, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission, which accredits colleges, requires institutions to maintain a manageable student loan default rate or possibly face increased monitoring and other negative consequences.

The trend of increasing student loan default rates is being seen across the state and nation, driving other colleges to also pull out of the program. Rowan-Cabarrus joins the ranks of Central Piedmont Community College, Stanly Community College, and Mitchell Community College, which have also opted out. In fact, only 17 of the state’s 58 community colleges currently offer student loans.

The first year the College offered student loans, $5.9 million were disbursed. That number increased to $9.5 million in 2012-2013, and climbed to $16.1 million in 2013-2014.

“The sharp increases in the amount of loans being taken is scary,” said Spalding. “There are other financial aid options for students to consider rather than direct student loans. We work closely with students to identify all available sources of financial aid, whether it be from grants or one of our private scholarships through the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation sponsored by generous individuals and organizations.”

The Federal Pell Grant Program (Pell), promotes access to postsecondary education for low-income undergraduate students. Pell provides need-based grants, that unlike a loan, do not have to be repaid. The amount of the grant depends on a student’s financial need, the cost of attendance at their college, whether they’re taking classes full-time or part-time and how long they plan to attend school (full academic year versus less).

For Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students, the maximum Pell award in 2013-2014 was $5,645 for a full-time student for a full academic year. That means that an in-state student taking 16 credit hours would receive a personal refund of at least $1,157, after tuition, fees, books and supplies. Fifty-seven percent of students at the College qualified for Pell in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Part of the problem for colleges is they have no say in who applies for loans because it’s federally mandated.

“This is a case where the college has little or no flexibility in denying these loans because it is a federally regulated program that is very specific and does not allow for local interpretation on who should and should not qualify for a loan. It’s not in the best interest of students to run up large loans, especially at an affordable community college like Rowan-Cabarrus. It’s not right to saddle students with more debt than they can expect to earn with their degree in a reasonable amount of time,” said Short.

The College also plans to offer the students the ability to take alternative loans from other lending agencies.

The College has employed several strategies to encourage students to repay their loans and to reduce the default rate. Loan counseling is provided either online or in-person by the College when they are awarded the loan and upon leaving the College. Similarly, all loan recipients are required to take an online financial literacy course. The College also began working with a new program called SALT that offers a free default prevention and financial literacy service for all students and alumni. The service provide loan repayment options, credit counseling and financial management.

For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Rowan-Cabarrus Students Travel to Raleigh to Advocate for Community Colleges

Students and Board of Trustees call on N.C. General Assembly to reinvest funds generated from efficiencies


SALISBURY, N.C. — Students from community colleges across North Carolina have been visiting the General Assembly over the last few months to voice their support for raising instructor pay, funding community colleges for year-round instruction and maintaining affordable tuition rates. Rowan-Cabarrus students will join the group next week.

“It is so important for our students to have the opportunity to voice their concerns with their legislators. Exercising your right to vote and speaking up about what you care about is a critical part of our role as good citizens. We work hard to instill that here at Rowan-Cabarrus,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus.

During the visit, students have the opportunity to meet with their district’s legislators, attend a meeting of the N.C. House’s Education – Community Colleges Committee and be formally recognized by both chambers. In addition, student advocates have been emailing their legislators and using hashtags to show their support on Twitter.

In advance of their visit to Raleigh, 2014-2015 Student Government Association President Anthony Rossi presented an update to the College’s Board of Trustees.

“This year has been “eye opening” for me… I would not have learned any of these great skills if I didn’t take on this role as student body president or if I was afraid to fail,” said Anthony Rossi, president of the College’s Student Government Association. The student government team this year has accomplished many of our goals… but I feel that our greatest accomplishment this year is evident in the relationships we have formed and the opportunities to learn from each other, leaders here at the college, and leaders in the community.”

One such issue discussed was the concept of an interest gap. Employers have long talked about a skills gap between the skills they need and the skills that job-seekers have. Another recent identified gap is in interest – an interest gap.

“People get nervous when they hear about jobs in manufacturing. But manufacturing isn’t dead – it’s different. It’s high-tech and clean,” continued Spalding. “We need our parents and young people to know that this is a viable and promising career field.”

As a result, students are calling on the North Carolina General Assembly to support initiatives that would bridge the “interest” gap between the jobs that exist and the interest of students in exploring those fields. Advocating students are also calling for an infusion of funding to support high-tech equipment and community college instructors and staff.

“I appreciate the support the N.C. General Assembly has given community colleges. Investing in community colleges should be a priority. My community college, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is the most affordable, high-quality, educational choice for me and it deserves the financial support so that it can continue to be just that for others,” said Rossi.

The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Board of Trustees also passed a resolution of support for a similar statewide campaign for community colleges earlier this year.

“The affordability, the quality and the accessibility offered to me during my community college experience paved the way for my success,” said La’Quon Rogers, a student at Pitt Community College in Greenville and President of the North Carolina Community College Comprehensive Student Government Association (N4CSGA). “Instructors go above and beyond to ensure that their students have everything they need to enter the workforce or transfer to a university.”

Providing the region with exemplary public higher education that anticipates and supports economic and workforce development while increasing, improving and automating services and curriculum programming is a top priority for the College.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

Posted in Student Life and Leadership |

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Holds Successful Stem Open House for 750+

College welcomed the community for an interactive event showcasing the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was proud to host its fourth annual STEM Open House at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) earlier this spring.

“The STEM Open House was a true celebration of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “One of my goals since coming to Rowan-Cabarrus is to increase the breadth and depth of our STEM education. I fully believe that everyone should be interested in STEM – and that it’s critical that we embrace these subjects. America used to be the leader in technology and innovation. It’s time for us to reclaim that role.”

Over 750 members of the community visited the STEM Open House. The STEM Open House was a fun, interactive event for the community showcasing the College’s science, technology, engineering and math programs.

The College hosted dozens of interactive exhibits for kids and adults of all ages to spark the senses and stir curiosity for all things STEM. Attendees were able to make their own rocket, talk with a real SWAT team, climb aboard a real fire truck, play games and even engage in activities involving sculpture and crime scene forensics that created fun products by applying scientific and engineering principles in collaboration with technology and mathematics.

“Our exhibits show that science is friendly, approachable and fun,” said Dr. Carol A. Scherczinger, dean of the College’s science, biotechnology, mathematics and information technologies. “Research has shown that opinions toward STEM subjects are formed early. Our purpose is two-fold: to recruit students to the College and also to offer a public service by providing opportunities to make STEM enjoyable and approachable.”

The exhibits were extremely diverse – visitors made and launched their own rockets, tested their skin for germs and learned about the science of investigating a crime scene. Visitors learned about DNA extraction, the complexity of balancing pH in dying hair and the science of firefighting.

The College’s nursing programs also host an annual health fair that was incorporated into the STEM Open House. Faculty utilized displays to educate the community about the dangers of smoking and the importance of nutrition.

“Holding this event at the College’s North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) facility makes a lot of sense. Our NCRC building is the home of our biotechnology and nursing programs – two of our most STEM intensive curricula,” said Spalding. “If you haven’t had a chance to visit the facility before, I encourage you to do so!”

The target audience for this open house was broader than traditional open houses hosted by the College. In addition to recruiting traditional-aged prospective students, the College aspired to host younger children from local K-12 public schools, homeschool students and families.

The STEM Open House was held in conjunction with the statewide NC Science Festival focused on engaging the younger generation in science. Events across the state were designed to bring science to life for students and their parents.

For more information about next year’s event, please contact Dusty Saine (704-216-7105, dusty.saine@rccc.edu). For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Rowan-Cabarrus Named One of the Top Ten Digital Community Colleges

 College receives high honors for digital efforts, named among the 2014-2015 Digital Community Colleges Survey Top Ten-Ranking Winners


SALISBURY, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College was named as one of the 2014-2015 Top Ten Digital Community Colleges by the Center for Digital Education for its use of digital technologies to improve services for students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

“We are honored and proud to have made the prestigious list of honorees,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “Through the generous support of the Cannon Foundation, Inc., the Charles A. Cannon Charitable Trusts, and the Mariam and Robert Hayes Charitable Trust, the College was able to substantially improve the College’s information technology systems beginning in 2009.”

“We were happy to help the College rebuild its information technology infrastructure,” said William Cannon, president of The Cannon Foundation. “We are always looking to invest in initiatives that can support lasting changes and it is rewarding to see the significant difference it has made in the College’s ability to serve students.”

For instance, recently the College rolled out a new feature on the student’s registration system that allows students to plan their entire path to graduation online. This planning helps improve their ability to forecast which classes they need to take which terms and how close they are to achieving their degree, diploma, or certificate. Additionally, students’ itemized tuition bills are now easily accessible through the same platform.

“We would not be where we are today as a college without the Cannon Foundation gift bringing our information technology infrastructure up to date. I am so grateful for the support and what it has done to make education more accessible to our students,” said Carla Howell, chief officer of governance, foundation, and public relations.

Online tutoring for students is available in many subjects 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, as is the College’s IT help desk, through a partnership with Blackboard. The College also supports a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach to technology on campus. Rowan-Cabarrus has created a stable, secured wireless network which allows students, faculty, and staff to be able to connect to network resources using not only college-owned devices, but personal devices like smartphones, tablets or laptops. Other digital initiatives include introducing online textbooks to many of the College’s core and elective classes, online job preparation and searching resources, social media and electronic emergency notifications systems.

“We not only support enhanced websites, new online planning systems, mobile technology, campus wide wireless access, as well as many other tools, but we tie all of these items together to create a cohesive personalized and contextual experience for our students,” said Ken Ingle, chief information officer for the College. “This experience simplifies technology for our users allowing students to focus on their educational goals. We believe this is really what set us apart from others who entered.”

In addition, Rowan-Cabarrus has made great advances for students, most recently, with the launch of the Rowan-Cabarrus mobile app. The mobile app highlights key features that allow students to register for classes and view course schedules.

“Students can now view their entire course load along with detailed descriptions of each class, check their final grades on the go, access Blackboard and even get personalized notifications regarding any holds on their student account,” said Ingle.

The College is also continuing their efforts in the ever-expanding courses offered via distance education.

“A recent study indicated that distance education enrollments account for nearly all recent student growth at two-year institutions and we want to be sure we are offering courses in the methods our students want. But from the information technology side of things, we also want to make sure those offerings are supported with the right kinds of technology and customer service resources,” said Ron Kelley, director of data analytics and service assurance.

In 2014, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College set a new record of 5,700 online registrations and over 300 class sections available each semester. Over 46 percent of all curriculum classes at Rowan-Cabarrus are offered via distance education.

“Technology is being used on campuses and in lecture halls to lower costs and improve student outcomes,” said Alan Cox, senior vice president for the Center for Digital Education. “This year’s survey indicates that community colleges are making great strides in using data to improve decisions, providing professional development to assist faculty in the use of technology, and creating robust online and mobile environments for their students.”

Overall findings among the colleges from the survey include: 58 percent support student job placement through online resume-building tools, 43 percent have strategies in place for the use of mobile devices and 81 percent of colleges surveyed use cloud computing services resulting in cost savings.

“The College understands the importance of digital offerings. We will continue to listen to our students and provide the technological options they are seeking for their education,” said Kelley. “Although we have come a long way, we continue to work and enhance the services and system we provide to students.”

For more information on Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, including mobile app and distance education information, visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


Posted in College Advancement | Tagged , ,

Rowan-Cabarrus Invites Community Members to Attend the Spring Chorus Concert

The College’s chorus will perform their “spring spectacular” alongside East Rowan High School’s chorus


SALISBURY, N.C. — Last fall marked the beginning of something musical at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College – the birth of a chorus.

While the College’s Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) degree program began in 2009, the fall 2014 chorus class was the first practical and performing course offered by the College.

“When the degree first started, the primary focus was on the visual arts, but the College is working toward expanding the degree program to include the performing arts,” said Jenn Selby, program chair of the Department of Fine & Applied Arts at Rowan-Cabarrus.

The one-credit curriculum class made its debut last fall with fourteen passionate students. The Rowan-Cabarrus choir performed at several locations in the community, including the local parades, a well-attended holiday performance at the Concord Mills mall, and the College’s graduation ceremony.

Now, the seasoned group including multiple sections of the chorus across multiple campus locations, is set to stun audiences in their spring concert. The concert, a dual event with East Rowan High School, will feature more than 30 Rowan-Cabarrus students belting out six songs, two of which will be performed with East Rowan. East Rowan will also be singing three separate songs.

“We are inviting everyone in the community to come out for the event, not just friends and family of the performers. ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ by the Beatles and ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ by Frank Sinatra are just a couple of classic hits we will be singing. There is something for everyone,” said Caroline Simyon, choral director and music instructor at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

The musical spectacular will be held Wednesday, April 29 in the auditorium of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s North Campus at 7 p.m.

“Please encourage everyone to come out to support the arts! We are a growing group and would love the community’s support,” said Simyon.

The College now offers new music and drama specializations within the Associate in Fine Arts degree program. Everything from the history of rock music to play production to American musical theater to opera lecture are available. Additionally, the program, working closely with the NC Music Hall of Fame in Kannapolis, has developed an introduction to jazz class.

“Beginners are welcome! Students can literally show-up and learn how to sing,” said Simyon on those students interested in joining the chorus class at Rowan-Cabarrus.

Many students in the choir, however, do have previous experience and have spent time in their high school or church choirs.

Classes include vocal training and vocal techniques. Students learn how to sing properly without straining vocal chords. Most classes include physical warm-ups and time for learning the music, parts and notes. The curriculum also explores different eras and types of music.

“I continue to be amazed at our talented students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We are proud that our fine arts program has grown so much and Rowan-Cabarrus can be an important part of the robust fine arts community in our area.”

The Rowan-Cabarrus AFA program is designed for students who plan to transfer to a four-year fine arts program. The AFA program is also suitable for students who want to focus on their personal creative development, expand their portfolios or work in related creative industries.

Anyone with an interest in the fine and applied arts should inquire. Previous experience is not a requirement. Questions should be directed to Program Chair Jenn Selby (jenn.selby@rccc.edu or 704-216-3820). For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu/finearts or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).


Posted in Student Life and Leadership | Tagged , ,

Nation Shines the Spotlight on Community Colleges in April

One student’s story showcases need for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the impact of the College on the community

SALISBURY, N.C. — When Teren Mitchell first came to Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, she had already tried numerous times to get her high school equivalency, commonly known as a GED. But something about the support she found at Rowan-Cabarrus made this time just a bit different.

Mitchell is one of the millions of community college students across the U.S. celebrating Community College Awareness Month. During the month of April, the American Association of Community Colleges, along with community colleges across the nation have generated awareness about the mission, impact, goals and history of community colleges.

“Community colleges are essential partners in developing our current and future workforce here in North Carolina,” says Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “The dedicated faculty and staff of Rowan-Cabarrus work tirelessly to provide quality training to ensure student success.”

Community colleges, especially those here in North Carolina, have a long history of serving the needs of the community and region. This mission helps fulfill what Dallas Herring, founder of the North Carolina community college system, proposed: “to carry people as far as they could go.”

“Each time I failed the test, I felt my chances of succeeding shrinking,” said Mitchell, now an accounting student at Rowan-Cabarrus.

When she first took the placement test she was placed in the lowest possible level. She worked hard and studied every day and by the end of one year she was in her final level of studies.

After enrolling at Rowan-Cabarrus, Teren had many supporters in the program. “The instructors supported and encouraged me tremendously. When I struggled with a particular subject, they would always tutor me and help me understand,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell received her high school equivalency from Rowan-Cabarrus in 2013, and immediately enrolled in college classes. Mitchell has thrived in the accounting program and will graduate with her Associate in Applied Science Degree in May.

Rowan-Cabarrus provides both instruction and resource materials to students preparing for the GED at no cost. Classes are scheduled on the North and South Campuses and at a variety of community locations for convenience and access.

“Teren’s story is an inspiring one! It was a pleasure to teach her,” said Louise Ginger Pack, developmental mathematics instructor for the College. “When I hear stories like these from my students, I am reminded why our community needs Rowan-Cabarrus and why I do what I do.”

Students work at their own pace, so the time to complete a section of the high school equivalency may take weeks or months based upon the individual’s readiness for the test.

“Rowan-Cabarrus serves a diverse population in the GED High School Equivalency program. Though it can be a challenging program, dedicated students such as Teren not only complete the program and but go do on and do exceedingly well in their college classes,” said Gary Connor, director in pre-college college studies. “We work hard to provide support and tutoring to help students meet their goals.”

In the late 1950s, the North Carolina General Assembly approved funding for a new concept in higher education: industrial education centers for the purpose of training adults in vocational and technical skills needed by emerging industries.

Since 1963, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College has served citizens, business and industry in Rowan and Cabarrus counties. The College offers a wide-variety of programs to meet the needs of a diverse student population with respect to age, life-style, academic achievement and employment background.

“Simply put, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is a way forward – for our students, our community, and our economy,” said Carl M. Short, chair of the Rowan-Cabarrus Board of Trustees.

The College offers fully accredited associate degree programs in 36 areas of study, including business, information technology, health and public services, motorsports, engineering technologies and biotechnology. Rowan-Cabarrus also offers numerous degrees entirely online, as well as accredited diploma and certificate programs focused on career and technical training, continuing education and adult basic education.

Additionally, the College provides a strong general education foundation and transferable credits for students advancing to four-year colleges and universities while helping many adults secure the additional training they need to start or change careers.

“Rowan-Cabarrus is the area’s largest workforce training resource and one of our largest employers. Most of our graduates continue to live and work in our local communities and provide essential and critical services in healthcare, public safety, manufacturing, government, business, and human services,” said Short. “Since its inception in 1963, Rowan-Cabarrus has changed the lives of many individuals in our region and is committed to building sustainable futures for our citizens through public higher education.”

For more information regarding the General Education Diploma High School Equivalency Program at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please call 704-216-3510. For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu.

Posted in GED | Tagged ,

Meeting the Talent Demands of Today’s Business – NC Manufacturing Institute Launches

The Centralina Workforce Development Board, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, leaders from Rowan and Cabarrus counties’ Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development authorities will launch the new North Carolina Manufacturing Institute at a community forum that will unveil the institute’s plans and services. The North Carolina Manufacturing Institute Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.

The community forum will be held at the Rowan-Cabarrus facility on the North Carolina Research Campus in Room 115 located at 399 Biotechnology Drive, Kannapolis, N.C. Manufacturing firms, plant leadership teams, and guests are invited to the informational event. The forum will consist of manufacturing executives and community leaders focused on building a world-class manufacturing workforce for the region.

The North Carolina Manufacturing Institute is a response to local employers’ need for solving talent recruitment issues in order to grow and remain competitive. This initiative builds a clear and achievable pathway for people to acquire those skills in order to access good jobs in local communities.

“Our program is modeled after successful initiatives in Indiana, including Advanced Manufacturing and Manufacturing Matters,” said Craig Lamb, vice president of corporate and continuing education at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. “These initiatives have served as best practice models for groups like the National Association of Manufacturers, the Wal-Mart Foundation and the National Council on Workforce Education.”

Manufacturing firms will benefit from partnering with the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute through access to a pipeline of screened, trained, certified production technicians who can help them achieve their business goals.

Its innovative funding and operational structure will allow the Institute to deliver results in response to a rapidly-growing need for manufacturing employees with certified skills and verified work readiness.

The initiative was conceived last summer during meetings with leaders from Rowan and Cabarrus counties from both chambers of commerce, economic development authorities, the Centralina Workforce Development Board and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

To reserve a seat for the event, please contact Asia Wilson, Centralina Workforce Development Board’s Communications Specialist, at awilson@centralina.org. Light breakfast will be served prior to the event.

Additional information will be available at the community forum regarding the development of the North Carolina Manufacturing Institute, including the Institute’s new website.

Posted in Job and Skills Training | Tagged

Fourth Annual STEM Open House to be Held Next Week

College invites community to interactive showcase of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics programs


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Rowan-Cabarrus Community College invites people of all ages to its fourth annual STEM Open House at its facility on the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC).

On Thursday, April 16, from 5-7 p.m. and Friday, April 17, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m., the College will welcome the community to a fun, interactive event showcasing the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

The College will have dozens of interactive exhibits for children and adults of all ages to dazzle the senses and stir curiosity for all things STEM! The community will have the opportunity to make their own rocket, talk with a real SWAT team, check out a fire truck up close, play corn hole and even engage in activities involving sculpture and crime scene forensics.

“Almost everything we do in life has STEM applications, but not everyone realizes it,” said Dr. Carol A. Scherczinger, dean of the College’s science, biotechnology, mathematics and information technologies. “STEM subjects are very concrete. Science deals with our natural and physical world. Technology has given us the iPads, smart phones and computers we use every single day. Engineering is all about building things. Mathematics ranges from financial decisions to gaming strategies, such as playing pool or engaging in games of logic.”

As robotics and technology have played a bigger and bigger role in manufacturing and advanced technology, the College has expanded its arsenal of training and industry-recognized equipment. Attendees at the STEM Open House will have the opportunity to interact with high-end robotics and even test out welding with the College’s new virtual reality welding tools.

“Certain lab exhibits will only display for one day during the event, so folks may want to plan their schedules according to their interests. Of course, they are welcome to come both days,” stated Dr. Scherczinger.

On Thursday, community members will have the opportunity to make “cocktails” with chemical compounds and discover edible DNA with strawberries. On Friday, folks can partake in “infected” where they will exchange fluids in test tubes to see who gets infected and how fast it can spread and “outbreak” which will determine the strand of virus that infected someone. Both days will include dissections.

“We think that the STEM Open House is a true celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “One of my goals since coming to Rowan-Cabarrus is to increase the breadth and depth of our STEM education. I fully believe that everyone can be interested in STEM – and that it’s critical that we embrace these subjects. America used to be the leader in technology and innovation. It’s time for us to reclaim that role.”

The College wants younger children to attend with their parents. The exhibits will be extremely diverse – everything from the complexity of balancing pH in dying hair to the chemistry of extracting DNA and how to develop videogames to race cars and fire trucks.

Surrounding public and private schools are busing in students on Friday for the occasion. Additionally, as an incentive to attend, the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Foundation will offer a $500 scholarship to one high school senior in each county.

“The target audience for this open house is broader than it has been for open houses of the past. In addition to driving more traditional-aged prospective students, we also want younger children (elementary- and middle-school-aged) to participate with their parents,” said Scherczinger.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s STEM Open House will be one of the many events occurring as part of the NC Science Festival taking place from April 10-26. Given that STEM is an important focus for Rowan-Cabarrus, the College has committed to play a large role in the NC Science Festival. Activities will focus on engaging the younger generation in science. Events across the state are designed to bring science to life for students and their parents.

For more information about this event or to bring a school group, please contact Dusty Saine (704-216-7105, dusty.saine@rccc.edu). The College’s location for the STEM Open House is on the North Carolina Research Campus at 399 Biotechnology Lane, Kannapolis. For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu.


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Rowan-Cabarrus Offers New Aromatherapy Workshop

New personal enrichment workshop highlights how essential oils can play a part in living a holistic lifestyle everyday


SALISBURY, N.C. — Long considered an ancient method for therapy, healing and medicine, aromatherapy has been repositioned in modern culture as the go-to method for everything from making a soothing body scrub to combating a nasty cold.

In keeping with this trend, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, as part of its range of personal enrichment classes, will present a new workshop in aromatherapy, specifically dealing with essential oils.

“Society as a whole is moving towards a cleaner lifestyle. People are demanding electric cars, clean energy options, earth friendly cleaning supplies and natural remedies for the body and mind. The use of plant materials and aromatic plant oils plays right into this need for natural solutions,” said Tricia Staggers, lead program manager of training services at Rowan-Cabarrus.

The workshop, held on April 14, will be taught by Rene Shuford, owner of Blue Ridge Healing Arts, and Lynn MacDougal Fleming, owner of GreenThumb Massage, both in Concord, N.C. Combined they are entrepreneurs and essential oils experts, practicing holistic bodywork therapy for years.

“Every time we cruise Instagram or browse Pinterest for our next craft idea or natural healing remedy we are inundated with essential oils. Just last week I used orange oil to make a soothing citrus sugar scrub and rubbed lavender oil on my wrists at night to combat my stressful work week,” said Shuford.

During the workshop students will learn the vast benefits of essential oils. Participants will be able to sample oils and discover which can help with relaxation, sleep, energy, and even focus.

“Students will come away with a greater understanding of how essential oils can play a variety of roles in our everyday lives. For example, the smell of rosemary oil is known to aid in memory recall and the smell of grapefruit oil is known to produce a jovial mood,” said Shuford.

Students will have the opportunity to put their newfound knowledge to the test by working together to create a unique spa product, of which they can take a sample home to flaunt their do it yourself skills.

The three hour workshop will run 6 to 9 p.m. at the College’s North Carolina Research Campus building on Tuesday, April 14.

“This workshop can open your mind to new ways of pampering and relaxation,” said Staggers. “The class will be a fun way to learn something new with age-old remedies.”

Those interested should register as soon as possible, as there is a lot of interest and limited slots available. In addition to traditional career-enhancing courses, the College offers classes designed to help you meet your personal goals.

“For getting fit – mind and body! – we have core stability, yoga and meditation. We also have classes to help you write the next best seller – from a best seller herself! Or, if you need to improve your digital photography, we’ve got a class for that, too. You can make your friends and family jealous on Instagram and Facebook with your new drastically enhanced skills,” said Staggers.

For more information about this course, including how to register, as well as other enrichment courses offered at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu/enrichment or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).

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