College News

CCCC-Harnett hosts middle school students

Click to enlarge CCCC-Harnett hosts middle school students

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Faye Stephenson (center) lead instructor for Central Carolina Community College's Cosmetology program ... (more)

03.11.2013College & CommunityCollege General

LILLINGTON - Students from Dunn and Coats/Erwin Middle schools lifted fingerprints, monitored cosmetology and barbering classes and got a closer look at laser technologies, among other activities, during a March 5 tour of Central Carolina Community College's Harnett County Campus.

Each year, in conjunction with the Harnett Business and Education Partnership, the campus opens its doors to all five middle schools in the county in order to expose eighth grade students to potential career paths and educational opportunities.

"We host approximately 1,600 students annually," said Bill Tyson, provost of the Harnett County CCCC campus. "Now, more than ever, we believe it is important for students and their parents to have a complete understanding of the options that are available to them, whether it be an associate degree for university transfer or gaining the ability to find a good paying occupation right after graduation from high school."

Criminal Justice instructor Jamie Wicker and several CCCC student volunteers coached Coats/Erwin middle students on how to lift fingerprints from a windowsill outside a criminal justice classroom.

"Your fingerprints are permanent and unique specifically to you," Wicker said. "They tell the justice system that you were here."

Wicker explained that fingerprinting and other forensic technologies were just some of the areas of study in CCCC's Criminal Justice program. She also mentioned the variety of job opportunities associated with the Associate of Applied Science degree.

Students can get started on the Criminal Justice degree while still in high school through the Career and College Promise program offered by CCCC in association with Triton High School. The program allows high school students to earn college credits toward a Criminal Justice degree.

Down the hallway, middle school students saw Cosmetology majors in action, working on real patrons in a state-of-the-art beauty salon. CCCC student Vallie Naylor explained how Cosmetology graduates are frequently recruited by leading salons and can choose among a variety of career opportunities, including salon stylist, business owner or sales executive for cosmetology product manufacturers and distributors.

Graduates of the Cosmetology program at CCCC can earn a diploma, certificate, Associate of Applied Science in Cosmetology or a Cosmetology Instructor certificate. The CCCC Cosmetology program also participates in Career and College Promise at Triton High School.

The high tech Laser and Photonics Technology program is another career option students examined while touring the Harnett County campus. Focusing on understanding the application of electronic, fiber optic, photonic and laser principles, the LPT program offers a hands-on learning experience that prepares students for real-world projects.

Students learn to use the latest technologies in a variety of industrial, medical and business settings, preparing them for high-paying jobs in a variety of fields from manufacturing to medicine. Many LPT jobs exist on the cutting edge of medicine where graduates use their skills in biophotonic medical applications, an emerging field in which lasers and light are used in medical procedures and treatments. Salaries in LPT fields can start at $30,000 and go up to $60,000.

Computer Integrated Machining, Early Childhood Associate, Business Administration, Practical Nursing, Basic Law Enforcement and Medical Assisting are just some of the other professional and public service programs included in the curriculum at the CCCC Harnett County Campus. Harnett eighth-grade students will tour the campus again on March 12 and 19 and April 9.

The tours are a big success, Tyson said.

"This is purely anecdotal, but we hear from many students who said they toured our campus when they were in the eighth grade and made the decision to attend CCCC then," he said. "This is a way that we and our Harnett Business and Education Partners serve the community."

For more information on academic programs available at the Central Carolina Community College's Harnett County campus, contact Trinnette Nichols, director of Student Services, 910-814-8827,; or Tim Eyring, admissions counselor, 910-814-8867,; or visit the college's website,