ASHEBORO (March 24, 2017)
Randolph Community College President Robert S. Shackleford Jr. and several other community college presidents participated in a press conference today to support the North Carolina Community College Legislative Priorities for 2017-2019. The event was held on the Greensboro Campus of Guilford Technical Community College.
Dr. Randy Parker, president of GTCC, welcomed the group and said the event was one of eight being held across the state in prelude to the March 29 Community College Day at the Legislature in Raleigh. In addition to GTCC and RCC, representatives from Alamance Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, Rockingham Community College, Davidson County Community College, and Surry Community College were present.
Dr. Shackleford said he had just been talking to the Randolph County legislators, saying, “This is not about what (community colleges) want, this is about what you want. You want trained people going to work and building our economy. Help us do what you want.”
The community college legislative agenda includes 1) a request for $15.3 million to fund workforce noncredit continuing education programs at the same level as for-credit programs; 2) $1.1 million to add more career coaches across the state to help students learn about and succeed in high-demand career fields; 3) an increase of $22.6 million for additional student support services to improve completion rates; and 4) a restoration of $10 million for salaries cut from last year’s budget to help close the faculty/staff salary gap.
Shackleford said he had changed his mind recently about something fundamental. He had always considered students the “customers” of community colleges. He said he had come to the conclusion that “our customers are business and industry, and students are our products.” He said the goal is not a diploma for the students to hang on their wall. The goal is to train those students for jobs with sustainable wages, which in turn strengthens our economy and our communities.
Also speaking at the press conference were Dr. Algie Gatewood, president of Alamance Community College; Dr. Gary Green, president of Forsyth Technical Community College; Dr. Mark Kinlaw, president of Rockingham Community College; Natalie Horton, Rockingham CC Student Government Association president; Chase Pullum, Davidson County Community College SGA vice president; and Lucas Bruff, DCCC Faculty Senate vice president.
Attending from RCC to support the efforts were Elbert Lassiter, vice president for workforce development and continuing education; Shelley Greene, associate vice president for institutional advancement; Shane Bryson, student activities coordinator; and eight RCC students. Bryson and SGA Vice President Kirsten Stovall, who is also president of the North Carolina Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association (N4CSGA), plan to attend Community College Day in Raleigh next week.
See more photos on RCC's Facebook page.