SANFORD — “This program is really cool,” said Victoria Dietrich, Lee County High School counselor. “Now, I’ve got first-hand knowledge I can share with my students.”
Dietrich was referring to the Networking and Telecommunications Technology program at Central Carolina Community College, one of four programs highlighted at the college’s 34th annual Information and Planning Conference held Nov. 13 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Dietrich was one of about 50 counselors, career-technical education coordinators, and career development coordinators from 18 high schools and two middle schools in seven counties who attended the conference.
“Aside from parents, these are the people who have the most influence on students in making career and education choices,” said Dr. Stephen Athans, CCCC’s dean of vocational and technical programs. “This is an opportunity to bring them in and give them information so they can get a feel for what is available for their students here.”
All the high schools and two middle schools in the college’s service area of Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties sent counselors and/or coordinators to the conference, as well as high schools in Moore, Johnston, Wake, and Orange counties.
The 2009 conference featured workshops on the University Transfer/Associate in Science, Networking and Telecommunications Technology, Green Central Sustainable, and Business Technologies programs. Additional programs had displays and representatives available to speak with those attending.
The counselors and coordinators rotated through the workshops. In the University Transfer/Associate in Science workshop, they learned of the college’s articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities that enable its graduates to move on seamlessly to higher institutions of learning. They enjoyed demonstrations by chemistry instructor Robert Hammond of some the hands-on learning students experience in his labs, from creating sparks with aluminum and a rusty iron ball to colorful reactions of acids and bases with dry ice.
The counselors and coordinators heard about the impressive Business Technologies programs, which are taught by instructors who come from the world of business. With the instructors’ backgrounds, students not only learn the academics but how to be successful in the world of business. The attendees also played the role of students as they learned to use Interactive Student Response Cards to respond to multiple-choice questions in a PowerPoint presentation.
In the Sustainability Workshop, the counselors and coordinators were treated to fresh carrots from the college’s Student Land Lab at its Chatham County Campus. They learned about programs that train students for the growing green economy, including sustainable agriculture, biofuels, green building/renewable energy, ecotourism, and the latest addition, culinary arts based on locally grown, organic produce. They also learned that the college’s weatherization van, fueled by biodiesel, is available to come to their schools, do demonstrations and show the students what opportunities there are in the field.
Central Carolina Community College’s N.C. School of Telecommunications has one of only a handful of networking and telecommunications training programs in the United States. Those attending the conference learned that the students receive the same training and international certifications available at more-expensive training centers for a fraction of the cost at CCCC.
“Our students get good jobs,” said Ben Johnson, lead instructor for Networking and Telecommunications Technologies. “These jobs can’t be out-sourced because the work is hands-on. Bring your students to our school and see our facility and our telecommunications museum. What drives technology home is having the students come on campus and see it.”
Curtis Holton, behavioral specialist/counselor at SAGE Academy in Chatham County, said he really enjoyed the conference, particularly the telecommunications workshop. It gave him a lot of information to take back to his students. He said he also enjoyed the displays, particularly the one for the pottery program, which is located in Siler City.
Ines Stubbs, a counselor at Overhills High School in Harnett County was already impressed with what the college offers before she came to the conference. Her son, Cal, graduated from CCCC in 2009 with a degree in biotechnology. He is now continuing his studies at North Carolina State University.
“I’m impressed by the variety of programs available at the college, its response to technology needs, and the future vision of jobs that CCCC incorporates into its educational program,” she said.
Bobby Wicker, the college’s director of recruitment said that the annual conference not only showcases the new and interesting programs the college has, but is also an opportunity to honor and celebrate the relationship the college has with its local schools.
Linda Carmichael, career development coordinator for Chapel Hill High School, was making her first visit to Central Carolina C.C. She was impressed.
“This conference has been really informative,” she said. “I have heard a lot of good things about the college — now I see why.”
For more information about what the college offers, visit its web site, www.cccc.edu