Recession helps push Central Carolina C.C.’s spring enrollment to all-time high
SANFORD - A few months ago, Anthony Webb was a senior manufacturing technician at an industry in Sanford. Now, he’s a laid-off worker.
Webb’s story has become all too common as, in the local area, North Carolina, the nation, and even globally, the economic recession continues to deepen. Companies are down-sizing or closing, and workers are being told they no longer have a job.
Webb, 48, may be unemployed, but he’s focused on a better future, one based on training for a new career. Starting with the spring semester, he’s enrolled in Central Carolina Community College’s Associate in Applied Science degree program in Electronics Engineering Technology.
“The college is local and the electronics program is good,” he said. “This training will provide me with a wide field of job opportunities.”
Webb is among the growing number of people who are enrolling at the college’s three campuses and other locations in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties, looking for job skills and educational opportunities to improve their lives.
“I would say to anyone who’s been laid off or is looking for job skills, ‘Come on back to school,’” said Steve Lympany, chairman of the college’s Engineering Technologies Department. “Our faculty is well aware of the lack of confidence and anxiety unemployed people deal with. Some folks have not been in a class for 20 years. Our job is to ensure student success.”
Primarily as a result of the recession, Central Carolina’s spring curriculum enrollment has hit an all-time high of 4,645 students. The previous spring semester high was 4,474 in 2007. Fall semester enrollment is traditionally higher than spring, but the 2009 spring figure is just 177 less than the fall 2008 enrollment.
Curriculum classes are offered at the college’s campuses and centers, as well as through Distance Education. Spring enrollment for Distance Education online classes increased from 1,347 (unduplicated enrollment) in 2008 to 1,929 in 2009.
According to Dr. Lisa Chapman, Vice President of Instruction, the course areas with the most dramatic enrollment increases are: healthcare industry programs, such as nursing, medical office, dental hygiene, dental assistant, and veterinary medical technology; criminal justice programs, including latent evidence and basic law enforcement; engineering technologies (electrical and mechanical) and laser & photonics; and human services.
The college has also seen a substantial increase in the enrollment of students in its university transfer program, those heading for a four-year college or university.
“More people are concerned about the cost of four-year tuition, room and board,” Chapman said. “As a result, they are taking advantage of the quality education provided in their own communities, through online learning as well as face-to-face, at a fraction of the cost. Our transfer students have always been very successful at senior institutions.”
For those concerned about affording education, check with the college’s Financial Aid Office at 1-800-682-8353 or (919) 718-7229 for information on scholarships, grants and work-study programs.
Those facing lay-offs should check with their company to see if they are eligible for a grant through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. These are given to workers whose jobs have been lost to increased imports from or movement of jobs to other countries. TAA pays for up to two years of workforce training.
For more information on programs at Central Carolina Community College, go online to www.cccc.edu or call the Chatham County Campus at (919) 542-6495, Harnett County Campus at (910) 814-8824, or Lee County Campus at (919) 718-7436.
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