Endorses $9 million bond referendum for a new Advanced Technology Center
The Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently endorsed the $9 million bond referendum titled “Cabarrus County Community College Bonds.” It was approved by the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners and will appear on the November 4 ballot. The Chamber board took unanimous action on September 18 at their regular board meeting.
Patrick Coughlin, President & CEO of the Chamber and EDC, noted that construction of a new Advanced Technology Center will address the need for continued diversification of our economy with training made available for a workforce to fill high-demand, high-wage jobs. Mr. Coughlin stated that “The region is dependent upon the College to provide the workforce talent and education necessary to emerge from the recession and thrive.”
North Carolina’s community colleges are the responsibility of the counties in which they reside. Currently, Cabarrus County supports four percent of the college budget.
“We believe that this is the next step forward for this region – advanced technology and advanced manufacturing,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “For instance, one area of potential program development we are looking into is in mechatronics. Mechatronics is a combination of a number of skills – it’s not just electrical skills – it is robotics, pneumatics, mechanics and more.”
Dr. Spalding also stated “People get nervous when they hear about jobs in manufacturing. But manufacturing isn’t dead, it’s different. It is high-tech and clean and we need our parents and young people to know that this is a viable and promising career field.”
Advanced technology applications include automated manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, 3D printing, cyber security and information assurance. These are evolving as growth areas for existing businesses, helping to create a regional culture of entrepreneurship and brining new technology-centric companies to the area.
Chamber Board Chair, Terry Crawford – General Manager for Embassy Suites Charlotte/Concord – said “I want to encourage you to vote for the bond and hope you’ll ask your friends and family to do the same. We need your support in this worthy effort to help gain a new facility which will serve our community’s needs. Rowan-Cabarrus
is a willing and capable contributor to partnerships that bring new jobs to the area and a leader in producing graduates for existing business expansions.”
An Advanced Technology Center will address training needs for companies with high technology demand and emerging jobs through industry-recognized certifications and hands-on skills training in multiple disciplines including, but not limited to, Information Technologies (IT), welding, machining, HVAC, electronics and electrical engineering technologies, mechanical engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, nontechnology, advanced manufacturing and more.
Coughlin was part of a group to recently visit an Advanced Technology Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
The Cabarrus campus enrolls nearly 10,000 students over the course of a year and serves both students transferring to four-year universities and those seeking career training ranging from fine arts to motorsport management.
“We currently have invested in some of these areas, but without the additional space, we cannot hope to expand into new and emerging industries. We simply can’t build a program if we don’t have a place to put it. More importantly, an Advanced Technology Center would be a flagship to help attract employers to the region,” said Spalding.
In addition to the Cabarrus County Commission bringing forth a $9 million bond initiative to the citizens of Cabarrus County for the construction of an Advance Technology Center, they have indicated their willingness to support an additional $2 million in cash. This would represent a total of $11 million, a majority of funding for the 60,000 square foot classroom and lab building.
“I encourage you to join the Chamber and flip the ballot over on November 4 to vote ‘YES’ for Rowan-Cabarrus and the future of our community,” said Coughlin.
For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, please visit www.rccc.edu or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).