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CCCC's Basic Skills Plus program gives graduates a competitive edge

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Click to enlarge,  CCCC Basic Skills Plus graduate Triston Tawney carries the mace at the College and Career Readiness program graduation in June.

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CCCC Basic Skills Plus graduate Triston Tawney carries the mace at the College and Career Readiness ... (more)

08.03.2015College & CommunityCollege GeneralCurriculum Programs

SANFORD -- Students Ryan Norris and Triston Tawney couldn't suppress smiles at Central Carolina Community College's recent College and Career Readiness graduation. They had not only completed an educational milestone, but the skills the students learned made them immediately employable in today's job market.

A component of CCCC's College and Career Readiness Program, Basic Skills Plus provides accelerated job training and basic skills instruction for students on a high school level. Those enrolled in the program receive a high school diploma or High School Equivalency certification and can certify in one or more of a variety of occupational fields.

To Norris, a resident of Coats who earned a certificate in welding while he earned his high school diploma, the additional skills will help him supplement an Associate's degree in automotive technology that he plans to pursue at CCCC this fall. To Angier resident Tawney, his certificates in welding, Human Resources Development, and a high school diploma greatly broaden the employment playing field.

"I'm thinking about going to college to be a computer technician," said Tawney, who was also selected to carry the graduation mace. "These certificates will put several options on the table that wouldn't have been there before."

Both Tawney and Norris said they liked the flexibility of the Basic Skills Plus program. "The Basic Skills Plus program made it possible for me to take extra classes while I was finishing my high school diploma," said Norris. "These skills have prepared me to earn a good living while I work on my degree in the career I want to follow."

Dr. Pamela Senegal, CCCC's Vice President of Economic and Community Development, said skills like welding can be a "jumping off" point for other career fields. "It will provide both Triston and Ryan with a good-paying job while attending college or training in another field," she said.

For CCCC's Crystal McIver, Basic Skills Plus Success Coach for the Chatham, Harnett, and Lee Campuses, it's about the students' ability to compete in today's workplace.

"We provide classes that will help students take advantage of real world job opportunities while they are receiving high school and basic skills career pathways," McIver said. "By stacking their credentials in this way, students gain a better chance at selling themselves. We wanted Triston to have the additional benefits of Human Resources Development skills such as interviewing and resume writing, as well as welding, when he graduated. In Ryan's case, the skills he learned in welding will also help him as an automotive technician. Automotive shops work on the skill sets and efficiency of technicians. With welding, he's going to be tremendously qualified in other areas of the industry such as auto bodies."

Some of the credentials completed through the Basic Skills Plus curriculum may be eligible to be applied to a terminal degree, said Senegal.

"What I love about the program is that there are certifications within it that can work toward a diploma or degree and shorten students' time and financial outlay," said Senegal. "I'm so impressed with the career pathways created by the Basic Skills Plus program because they reflect the needs of industry as well as the interests of the individual student. By working with both students and the Triangle South Workforce Development Board, we were able to determine where industry needs and student interests intersect and use this knowledge to create a curriculum that focuses on both."

The current Basic Skills Plus curriculum offers certification in Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, Machining, and Nurse Aide I, but McIver continues to work to develop certifications tailored to both industry and student needs.

  • Automotive Technology classes provide instruction on how to use computerized diagnostic equipment and technically advanced service equipment.
  • Culinary Arts provides training in a variety of food service settings, including restaurants, hotels, resorts, clubs, catering operations, contract food services, and health facilities.
  • Machining, the foundation of industry, teaches students basic machining skills and introduces them to computer numerical control (CNC). They are also introduced to and learn to utilize computer-aided drafting and manufacturing practices.
  • Nurse Aide I students learn the basic nursing skills required for personal care in any health care setting. These include safety practices, patients' rights, vital signs, nutrition, emergency care, rehabilitation, mental health, and communication skills.
  • Welding students learn the process of uniting or fusing metals by applying heat. Skilled welders are in great demand and sought out locally and nationally for both large and small industry. Welding also provides opportunities for self-employment.

Students enrolled in the Basic Skills Plus program may also receive tuition and fee waivers, as well as free textbooks, transportation aid, and mentoring based on need. Classes provide both hands-on and on-the-job training, as well as specialized classes with contextualized curriculum.

"I am so proud of Ryan and Triston," said Melody McGee, College and Career Readiness Coordinator for the Harnett County campus. "They are exceptional young men. It was a privilege to watch them grow academically while attending the College and Career Readiness Program at CCCC's Harnett County Campus. I see Ryan and Triston excelling in their chosen career paths."

For more information on the Basic Skills Plus program and how to register, contact the following CCCC Success Coaches:

For more information on Central Carolina Community College, visit the website