SANFORD - WRAL Meteorologist Greg Fishel addressed educators throughout the region at Central Carolina Community College's annual Information and Planning Conference held Friday, Feb. 5, in the Dennis Wicker Civic Center. The conference updates high school guidance counselors and administrators on the educational opportunities CCCC offers, as well as the college's changes, progress, and plans for the future.
"We invite the educators for the day of learning and fun to help counselors and administrators understand what we offer so that they can go back and convey that information to their students," said Stephen Athans, CCCC Dean of Vocational and Technical Programs. "I think the value of this event is the up-to-the-minute information the counselors receive so that they are able to help their students make good career and college choices."
Fishel, who attended Penn State University, said it was understood that he would attend college when he was growing up and that it would be a four-year program. "But I've come to the conclusion that we all don't think the same way," he said. "I look at the programs you offer at CCCC and I realize the need to have alternatives to the traditional ways we educate our youth. I applaud what you're doing here. Education is as much about teaching people how to think as it is what to think about."
Brian Merritt, CCCC Vice President of Student Learning, said the annual event proves that CCCC has strong and effective relationships with its secondary partners. "Our partnerships with secondary schools help create seamless pathways into careers locally," he said. "These partnerships help meet the needs of the students, as well as the community."
Prior to lunch and Fishel's remarks, the educators toured the CCCC Lee County Campus visiting the Cosmetic Arts, Broadcasting Production, Engineering, Industrial, and Health Information Technology programs. Many of the students enrolled in these programs come having already earned college credit through the Career and College Readiness program.
"We saw a 44 percent increase of first-year students coming in with college credit last fall," said Merritt. "About one in four CCCC students are high school students earning dual credit. We are expanding our footprint in order to better serve our students and the community."
Merritt advised the educators on the changes that would be taking place on the Lee County Campus in the near future with the construction of the Keller Health Sciences Center, a new Veterinary Medical Technology facility, and new construction and renovation at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center. The recently completed Dunn Center offers several programs to area residents, including Culinary Arts, Barbering, general education courses, and continuing education classes.
Also this fall, CCCC continued several successful high school apprenticeship programs, including machining, welding, and manufacturing engineering. High school students can also enroll in dual-credit pathways in career and technical programs such as auto restoration, telecommunications, electronic engineering, and computer engineering technology.
Tony Baker, instructor at the CCCC Telecommunications Center in the Lee County Industrial Park, told the educators that, as one of only two training centers of its kind in the U.S., it trains people from all over the country and the globe. Among other certificates, the center offers Telecommunications Basic Electricity, Fiber Optic Connectors, Underground Locating, and Cable Splicing.
"If you have a student that has math aptitude who may not be suited for a four-year degree, he or she can start out here and gain highly competitive skills in only a short period of time," Baker said.
"Every student has at least one gift," Fishel said. "If, in some way, those kids get the opportunity to go to a school that encourages that gift, it can make all the difference."
For more information about Central Carolina Community College, visit the college website at www.cccc.edu.
WRAL Meteorologist Greg Fishel addressed educators throughout the region at Central Carolina Community College's annual Information and Planning Conference held Friday, Feb. 5, at the Dennis Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.