Strong Chatham support for Central Carolina Works
SANFORD - Central Carolina Works, a new educational initiative by a consortium including Central Carolina Community College, education, business, industry and community leaders, is gaining enthusiastic support.
Central Carolina Works will fund the placement of Academic and Career Advisors in each of the public high schools in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties. These advisors will work one-on-one with students to help them take advantage of the state-funded Career and College Promise program.
The CCP enables high school students to enroll, tuition-free, in college credit courses that also apply toward their high school diploma. By the time they graduate from high school, they have a jump-start on their career or college education.
"The challenge is that only about 5 percent of eligible high school students in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties currently take advantage of the Career and College Promise program," said Dr. Bud Marchant, CCCC president. "Central Carolina Works will greatly increase this by placing Career and College Advisors in our area high schools. They will work one-on-one with students to raise their awareness and guide them into the CCP pathways that align best with their interests and skills."
Central Carolina Works builds out around the core curricular and financial architecture of the CCP. Adding a substantial foundation of Academic and Career Advisors to the Career and College Promise program is a unique initiative statewide, Marchant said, but one that could be duplicated by other community colleges in their areas.
An Interactive Advising Technologies program being developed will enable communication between the advisors and students to take place online also. The technology will be open source, permitting adaptation to different systems' needs.
"Any opportunity that we have to enhance the knowledge of and access to higher education and career training is a tremendous benefit for our Chatham County students," said Dr. Derrick Jordan, Chatham County Schools interim superintendent. "I am grateful for Central Carolina Works and for all the business and community partnerships working together for the good of students."
Central Carolina Works will not only benefit students, but also the larger community by enhancing economic development, according to Dianne Reid, president of the Chatham Economic Development Corporation.
"The Chatham EDC voted unanimously to endorse this initiative," Reid said. "The EDC understands the critical importance of a skilled workforce for successful economic development and is always supportive of efforts to enhance training for local residents. We see Central Carolina Works as an initiative that will give the three counties a leg up in recruiting new industry to the area."
Members of the consortium are delivering the message of the importance of Central Carolina Works to area groups and businesses in the tri-county area. The goal is to raise $750,000 by April in order to get the program off the ground by the start of next school year.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for young people to get the necessary skills required in the 21st century global economy," said Bradley, who is also CEO of Lee-Moore Capital Company, in Sanford. "At the same time, it benefits the entire community by having a more prepared workforce when we recruit new companies to the region. It doesn't matter whether the students are trying to get a certificate, diploma or degree, it benefits them all."
CCCC has already received a $100,000 GoldenLEAF grant to help with the initial two-year start-up phase of Central Carolina Works. The consortium is now seeking about $350,000 from private and corporate donors. It will also reach out to the Chatham, Harnett and Lee boards of commissioners for assistance.
Requests for grant and donation monies will be on a one-time basis only, Marchant said. Following the two-year start-up period, CCCC will absorb the ongoing costs of employing the Career and Academic Advisors through the state per-student funding for the increased enrollment generated by Central Carolina Works.
For more information or to make a contribution to Central Carolina Works, contact CCCC Foundation director Emily Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 718-7230.
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