Randolph Community College will create a new division at the College with a “laser focus on workforce development” with the overall goal of “closing the skills gap” between job applicants and jobs available today, according to RCC President Robert S. Shackleford.
He made the announcement in a meeting of division personnel this week. The new division will be called Workforce Development and Continuing Education, and the College will be advertising to hire a vice president with strong industrial leadership experience to lead the changes.
Shackleford said that workforce development is at the heart of today’s economy, from grant funding agencies to state and local budget writers such as the Governor, State Legislators, and County Commissioners. He noted that the number one emphasis at an Economic Development retreat he attended a few months ago was “talent development.”
Shackleford said that he keeps hearing the same story: “At the same time we have a lot of people out of work, we have businesses and industries all over the state who are advertising for workers. They may have 50 people apply, but only a few qualify.”
“Despite our best efforts in corporate and continuing education, a job-skills gap remains for many of our citizens, and we need to better align our workforce development resources. This area is important enough to the College’s ongoing success and Randolph County’s success that it is time to add a position at the vice president level,” said Shackleford.
The new vice president for workforce development and continuing education will be heavily involved in a dialogue with industry leaders in Randolph County to help develop and evolve RCC’s curriculum.
RCC’s current Corporate and Continuing Education division was folded into the Instructional Services division several years ago when the economic and workforce climate was much different than it is today. In addition to supervising Corporate and Continuing Education, Vice President for Instructional Services Anne Hockett also oversees all of the College’s Curriculum programs and personnel, Library Services, Distance Education, the Archdale Center, and the Emergency Services Training Center.
“(Vice President Hockett) has been stretched very thin in covering two large divisions (curriculum and continuing education) and has done a yeoman’s job leading this vast scope of responsibility,” said Shackleford. “I see the addition of this new position as an important step in more equitably dividing all the work that needs to be done in both curriculum and workforce development/continuing education.”
Amanda Byrd, who is currently dean of corporate and continuing education, has been appointed to the position of division chair for Business and Commercial Arts curricula upon the retirement of the current chair this summer. That dean’s position will not be filled.
“There is a thriving manufacturing ecosystem steeped in tradition and innovation in Randolph County, with much more coming in the future with the expansion of advanced manufacturing and other areas,” said Shackleford. “RCC is at the heart of some incredible opportunities as we build on our record of collaboration in workforce development and our commitment to work together to connect with companies to help design training to fill their specific needs.”