John M. Belk Endowment Workforce Relevance Planning Grant Presentations

Below are project summaries from each of the 12 Collaborative member colleges who participated in the Workforce Relevance Planning Grant. Please click on the college name for a PDF of their presentation.


Central Piedmont Community College

Central Piedmont Community College’s (CPCC) grant activities include beginning the planning process and exploring the feasibility of developing a Building Automation program at CPCC that will address the need for skilled workers in this high-demand industry. To accomplish this, CPCC will evaluate Building Automation curricula currently in use by other institutions, meet with faculty from other Building Automation programs to discuss best practices, and work to develop an advisory board with industry representatives that will allow the college to investigate appropriate certifications and explore work-based-learning opportunities for students.

Cleveland Community College

Cleveland Community College (CCC) serves Cleveland County, a county fighting hard to improve the quality of life for the nearly 100,000 citizens that call it home and to attract families to the area. Cleveland County has set an unprecedented pace in economic development, attracting thousands of new jobs to the area through new and expanding industry. CCC’s plan, through this project, was to inform and bring awareness to educators in the local K-12 system and within CCC, on the economic development taking place in the county; raise awareness of the need for workers in the county; and, for this event specifically, to connect local manufacturers with those educators and administrators in an effort to encourage career advising in the areas of apprenticeships, internships and employment after high school graduation. The event was a huge success and the college would like to host future events focused in other high-demand sectors including healthcare, construction and retail trade.

Gaston College

Developed with input from local industries, Gaston College’s plan will target three primary workforce training areas during the next five years. The plan will concentrate on: (a) improving the marketing and awareness of training opportunities for local employers; (b) developing “Boot Camp” style training programs in high-demand industries; and (c) increasing technology training offerings at various levels.

Greenville Technical College

Greenville Technical College developed an “80 to Work” program to prepare minimally skilled workers to be job-ready after 80 hours of advanced manufacturing skills training. The program addresses the shortage of workers in the area, specifically in CNC operations. “80 to Work” was well-received and partnering employers are planning to incorporate the training as a pre-employment requirement for new, entry-level employees with fewer than three years of experience.

Mitchell Community College

The North Carolina Manufacturing Institute (NCMI) is a partnership between agencies and employers that aspire to build a world class talent pool to support the growth of regional manufacturers. This grant was utilized to conduct a market research study to provide data upon which to build a successful NCMI marketing plan.

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is investing more than $17 million in building and equipping an advanced technology center to support the training of existing and emerging technicians working in our service area’s manufacturing sector. While many of the center’s programming needs have been identified through industry focus groups, analysis of labor market trends, and input from corporate customers and faculty, an emerging trend in serving industry demand in polymers, composites and advanced materials remained uninvestigated. This presentation reviews the findings of a study of occupations, skills, tasks, processes, materials, machines and supply chains related to polymers, composites and advanced materials in the region’s existing industries funded through the John M. Belk Endowment Planning Grant. The study’s results are being used to inform the decision-making process around the development of courses and programs, as well as to purchase equipment for the proposed advanced technology center.

South Piedmont Community College

South Piedmont Community College (SPCC) planned to increase awareness of manufacturing industry workforce skills gaps throughout the Anson and Union counties service area. In addition to gaining a better understanding of manufacturing industry needs, SPCC would increase awareness of its manufacturing programs to local industries and the public. Industry-specific surveys, manufacturing focus groups and a community survey would provide important skills gap feedback and information on current SPCC programs. SPCC planned to create a manufacturing programs video, as well as a short version for social media, to provide greater industry and public awareness.

Spartanburg Community College

Spartanburg Community College’s goal is to create a world-class global logistics and distribution center of excellence where businesses and individuals can obtain entry-level and advanced education and training.

Stanly Community College

The opportunity that the Stanly Community College (SCC)/Stanly County plan addresses is to increase grassroots entrepreneurial development within manufacturing and to address those manufacturing industry needs that SCC does not currently meet. While its initial ideas planned to replicate the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, North Carolina, it will require more effort to determine the scope of the college’s vision. The preliminary plan is to consolidate some of the services provided by SCC’s economic development division and Advanced Manufacturing and Industrial Technology (AMIT) program with additional offerings that build on local business and college strengths.

Tri-County Technical College

From distribution centers to warehousing facilities, Tri-County Technical College’s Corporate & Community Education Division has assembled a Logistics Advisory Team, including workforce partners and representatives from major companies in the Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties service area to assist in the development of a South Carolina Certified Logistics Technician (SCCLT) program that will meet the growing demand for qualified, trained, entry-level logistics employees.

Western Piedmont Community College

Through a recent economic development survey, Western Piedmont Community College (WPCC) learned that some of the college’s primary audiences are unaware of many programs offered by the college that can lead to local employment. In response, WPCC engaged Visionpoint Marketing to conduct a marketing audit and listening tour to evaluate the WPCC positioning, brand and marketing communications. The agency reviewed enrollment data, economic trends, college marketing and recruitment materials, and conducted focus groups with WPCC senior leadership, deans, faculty members, the marketing team, admission and support staff. Audit findings identified areas of opportunity and set the stage for a plan to conduct a second phase of the WPCC marketing audit.

Wilkes Community College

The intent of the Wilkes Community College (WCC) collaborative plan is to improve economic mobility through educational attainment and support. The goals of WCC’s plan are to improve students’ understanding of career options and educational pathways, broaden financial support to allow all students to pursue educational pathways leading to greater economic mobility, create a comprehensive emergency assistance and referral program, and enhance and expand opportunities for students to connect with business and industry to gain real-world work experiences. These goals will be accomplished by hiring additional counselors to assist middle school, high school and college students to plan secondary and post-secondary educational pathways connected to careers, establishing a tuition-free guarantee program for local high school graduates along with targeted scholarships for low-income students, creating an emergency assistance fund and resource referral program, and hiring a liaison to connect industry with students while providing supplemental funds to support internship programs.