Category Archives: News

NC Community College Small Business Center Network Encourages Consumers to “Shop Small For All”

With the holiday shopping season upon us, the North Carolina Community College Small Business Center Network (SBCN), which includes Forsyth Tech’s Small Business Center, is encouraging communities to support local small businesses on Saturday, November 28, 2015 and to use #ShopSmallForAll on social media.

Nestled between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday® has quickly become a nationally recognized day to support local independent merchants.

“Statistics show that more jobs are created through small businesses than big businesses,” says Allan Younger, director of the Small Business Center at Forsyth Tech. “Here at the Small Business Center, we serve hundreds of potential and existing small business owners each year—and that number is growing. A community that supports its small businesses is a community that can thrive economically.”

Small Business Saturday® was founded by American Express in 2010 as a day to celebrate local businesses through the launch of the holiday shopping season. The day has since grown into a powerful movement in support of local small businesses that make communities unique.

Consumer spending with independent retailers and restaurants during the 2014 Small Business Saturday® neared $14.3 billion according to the results of a survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), with a total of 88 million consumers shopping “small” on the day, up 14.9% from 2013.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 50 percent of the working population works in a small business. A small business is defined by the Small Business Administration as one with 500 or fewer employees. Small businesses generated more than 63 percent of new jobs between 1995 and 2013.


About the Small Business Center Network

The mission of the NC Community Colleges Small Business Center Network (SBCN) is to increase the success rate and number of viable small businesses in North Carolina by providing high quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners, which will lead to job creation and retention. The SBCN assists in starting an average of more than 700 businesses each year.  Small Business Centers have an economic impact in 90% of all NC counties each year, including helping to create and retain over 3,600 jobs annually.


About Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Tech provides students with flexible educational pathways to a competitive workforce for the community and global economy. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech is the fifth largest community college in North Carolina and serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.

Star Catchers, seniors are proud to be American

The audience tapped toes, clapped and sang along when the Star Catchers of Forsyth Tech performed “Proud to be an American” at the Elizabeth and Tab Williams Adult Day Center in an early Veterans Day celebration.

“It is just amazing how talented these students really are,” said Betty Talley, a Williams Center participant. “I wanted to jump up and say, ‘We ought to give them a standing ovation.’”

Several members of the Williams Center audience are veterans, including Travis Jones, who worked with electronics for the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam and Korea.

“I really enjoyed it,” Jones said of the performance.

The Star Catchers of Forsyth Tech, a performing ensemble comprised of adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in Stokes County, visited the Williams Center in late October. Their performance preceded their presentation of three murals that they painted for the Williams Center. They are designed to trigger happy memories for the day center’s 80 or so daily participants, 90 percent of whom have some form of dementia.

The 32 Star Catchers range in age from 24 to 70, and they participate in the Forsyth Tech Community College classes held in a space provided by Monarch’s Stokes Opportunity Center, which is a day program for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities who come from family homes and group homes in Stokes County. The Star Catchers’ arts-based compensatory education program was started by Kris Jonczak, a Forsyth Tech compensatory education instructor, and her supervisor Paul Kindley, who has retired but continues to volunteer. The compensatory education program is a curriculum offered through the North Carolina Community College system for special-needs adults, Jonczak said.

Jonczak proposed the mural project several months ago, and during the summer the Star Catchers visited Williams Center participants to gather ideas for the murals.

“We always like to have different groups to come in and entertain our folks and be with them,” said Kathy Long, vice president of adult day services at the Williams Center.

“It just seemed like a perfect match,” she said. “They came in and sang. The participants just loved it.

“With our folks, they’re very loving, too. You get two groups of people with different diseases. You see the two come together, and there’s that need they both have for acceptance, for love, for purpose. Each one of the groups feels that for each other. You have to be here to experience it, to see the bonds these folks have. Our participants are just like every human being, except they have a disease that’s destroying the brain. But they have the same needs everyone else has.”

“Our group appreciates what they do. It gets down to the basics of why we’re here on Earth: fellowship, to show you care and to be thankful for what you do have.”

The Star Catchers walked into the audience to shake hands with Williams Center participants, and they tied their performance to Veterans Day.

“I’m Jim Chambers, and I’m a Star Catcher,” Chambers, 62, said. “I am proud to be an American. My father was in the U.S. Army on Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion. He said he slept on the ground for nine months. I miss him terribly.”

Long said that the three murals the Star Catchers painted — a serviceman, a butterfly and a drive-in themed painting with poodle skirts and rock-and-roll music — were designed to bring back happy memories.

“We have so many veterans who are here,” Long said, and the military triggers memories of a time when those who served were highly respected and considered heroes. “These older adults still feel that. When there’s something that happens with veterans, it brings back really pleasant memories.”

“These folks are changing every day; some days are good, and their memories are good, other days are not so good. Then you think about rock and roll, you bring back those memories of that good rock and roll music. It resonates with them. We want to provide an environment that’s safe for them to be in and stimulating.”

Jonczak appreciated Long’s receptiveness to her idea.

“My students, they love people,” she said. “I see potential, as with any student who I’ve ever taught. There were 32 pairs of hands that touched those pieces of art. It’s important for me for my students to give back. This is one way they can give back. In art, there’s no right or wrong. They can be creative. This is their gift to this community. These people are enrolled in a community college. I expect a lot from them.”

Erica White, a compensatory-education instructor, helped design the murals based on research the students did. White provided guidance about mixing paint and suggested places where some students filled in with large brush strokes.

“She will tell them to blend colors,” Jonczak said. “They really are good listeners. We’ve been doing this for a while.”

Other students enjoy detail work, like James Joyce who painted three jets on the soldier painting, and Jennifer Johnston, who added dots to the poodle skirt.

The Williams Center is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. A person can participate as long as he or she can transfer from one chair to another chair, Long said. They can have oxygen or medication requirements or use a wheelchair. In addition to people suffering from some form of dementia, some folks who have suffered strokes or who may be lonely at home come to the center to help out.

“It gives them purpose,” Long said. “Everybody needs a purpose.”

Kindley said that in September the Star Catchers celebrated their 10-year anniversary.

“Our students are very unpretentious,” he said as the Star Catchers slipped into choir robes to sing and sign their second song, “You raise me up.”

“They just love to perform and brighten your day,” he said and recalled that the group’s first performance was “I believe I can fly” at a Stokes County festival. “We’ve been flying ever since.”

$50,000 Tobacco Trust Fund grant to help Forsyth Tech spur agriculture program in Stokes County

A $50,000 Tobacco Trust Fund grant recently awarded to Forsyth Tech could help spur the creation of the next generation in Stokes County’s agriculture industry.

The funds will be used to construct a hoop house, a fenced area and some raised beds at the new Forsyth Tech facility in the Meadows community.

“It will allow us to bring in some livestock for different classes and training,” said Forsyth Tech’s Sally Elliott. “It will also allow us to offer some training her in agriculture.”

But the training space Elliott plans to create in Meadows is the just the start of a longer and larger plan to offer a multi-tiered approach to helping farmers in the area.

“We are going to break it out in to three groups,” she said. “We will have prospective farmers, current farmers and then young people who are are juniors or seniors in high school. We are working with Stokes County Schools so we can do some career pathways that will allow them to start some classes in high school and then when they graduate finish up here.”

Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center Director of Operations Ann Watts said the Forsyth Tech is also currently working on a larger $300,000 grant application from the USDA to create a regional approach to providing the classes farmers need to be successful in today’s world.

“It is designed to get more students into the pipeline to careers related to agriculture,” she said. “It could be production, or farming, or soil science, or environmental science. It could be forestry people or cooperative extension agents. We want to look at a regional approach and we are inviting fellow rural counties like Surry and Rockingham to join us in the grant application.

“The goal is for these community colleges to work with their local schools and communities to develop that pipeline,” she added, noting that each of the regional community colleges already have specialty programs, like viticulture, which could benefit the entire region.

Watts said Forsyth Tech and Rockingham had already applied for a $25,000 planing grant for the program that was not awarded to them.

“But we have decided, since our college president is very committed to looking at the agriculture pipeline, to use the money set aside as matching funds for that grant to be channeled to the submission of this larger grant,” said Watts. “Our goal is to make it a regional effort and develop very strong regional pipelines. Every community college and every high school will hopefully participate. We can look at the pieces everybody already has and grow those pieces.”

In the meantime, Elliott plans to do everything she can to grow the agriculture program in Stokes County.

“We value agriculture,” she said. “We think it is important to continue that in this county and support the farmers. We are going to do everything we can to provide the training for them so they don’t have to go off to N.C. State or leave Stokes County to get the education they need to farm.

“We also hope that students will see that farming is not just all about being out in the dirt,” she added. “There are lots of other careers around agriculture that don’t necessarily put you outside. It is not your grandfather’s farming anymore. There are lots of other pieces to that that they can explore.”

Elliott said she wants the program to provide what the farmers in St0kes County need.

“We don’t want to just put out a lot of classes,” she said. “We are working with the Stokes Extension and the Ag teachers at the high schools and our horticulture program on the main campus.

“We know we have some folks who have moved to the county who are not from here and may have just bought a large acreage and want to grow something or raise animals but are still in the planing stages,” said Elliott. “The Cooperative Extension has their farm school and we would like to offer the next step from that.”

But Elliott said she needs input form local farmers on what kinds of classes are offered.

“We want to have a big initial class or workshop that has a lot of draw and get our farmers in here and survey them as to what kinds of classes they are interested in,” she said. “I want to pick their brains. We are hoping to have that class sometime this winter and let what I learn form them drive our planing and hopefully by the spring or summer we can start offering classes and workshops. We will have these workshops and training running before the new building is finished.

“If people have ideas, lease call me or email me,” she added, noting that she can be reached at 336-593-5402, Ext. 1101, or by email at

Watts noted that she hopes Forsyth Tech can also offer business classes to help both local farmers and artisans.

“We can offer classes in marketing and financial planning,” said Watts. “We also hope to work with local artisans and help them to begin to think of themselves as entrepreneurs and start some businesses that way.”

“We are hoping we will be able to get the existing farmers to increase the amount of land that they farm on,” added Elliott. “I hope we can get them to sell more, and we hope to have more farmer’s markets around here and help them to grow.

“We are also going to focus on growing more for less,” she said, “being able to farm without having all of the upfront costs, so if you have a young person who wants to start a farm they don’t necessarily have to come up with $100,000 to buy all the equipment and land. We are going to try to put some programs in to teach them what they cans with what they have.”

She said the best part of the program, which is still very much in the planning stages, is that it will come with tuition assistance for local farmers.

“The Tobacco Trust Fund grant also helps with tuition,” she said. “If you were a farmer and wanted to come take one of our classes on marketing and that class costs $150, we could provide tuition assistance or pay for that class for you. We have $250 we can spend per student on tuition. that will be helpful for people who may want to take a class but may not be able to afford it.”

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

Construction Industry Job Fair

Walk away with a job! There is a huge workforce gap in the skilled and technical trades industry.  Several local companies need employees NOW! Job seekers are encouraged to attend the event, bring an updated resume, and be prepared to interview. Business attire suggested.

What: The Winston-Salem Chamber’s  Construction Industry Council, in partnership with Goodwill Industries of NWNC – Forsyth Technical Community College -and others, is hosting a job fair for individuals interested in working in the Construction, Advanced Manufacturing, and Aviation Industry.

When: Wednesday, November 4, 2015  4 – 6 p.m.

Where: Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, Education Building

Who:  Employers are looking for employees with a strong work ethic and varying levels of experience in jobs such as: Project Managers, Restoration Technicians, Marketing Representatives, Lead Carpenter, Mechanics, Machinists, Estimators, Roofers, Sheet Metal Workers.

Job Fair Flyer 

Forsyth Tech Hosts Events to Coincide with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Forsyth Tech’s cybersecurity program is hosting several events in October as part of a nationwide effort to increase awareness about issues related to cybersecurity safety.

The college’s cybersecurity program is a Center for Academic Excellence (CAE) in Cyber Defense Education. This national designation is jointly awarded by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is the most distinguished honor for cybersecurity excellence a two- or four- year college can receive.

Forsyth Tech’s events include:

  • “Is Your Password Safe?” Wednesday, October 21, 4 – 5 pm, Ardmore Building Auditorium, Main Campus, 2100 Silas Creek Parkway. Members of the college’s Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) will lead this timely workshop, which is free and open to the public.
  • Visit by National Security Administration (NSA) Representative. Thursday, October 22, 10 am – noon, Technology Building, 4th floor, Main Campus, 2100 Silas Creek Parkway. Forsyth Tech’s assigned Security Education Academic Liaison (SEAL) representativefrom the NSA will be on hand for a roundtable discussion with Forsyth Tech faculty and staff to discuss the value of the college’s Center of Academic Excellence designation and the opportunities it opens for students in the workplace. This event is open to the media only.
  • Tech Showcase. Friday, October 30, 10 am – noon Technology Building, 4th floor, Main Campus, 2100 Silas Creek Parkway. Forsyth Tech will host counselors and principals from all high schools in Forsyth County to build awareness of emerging technologies and potential cyber pathways leading to cyber education and careers. The college is working with high schools to create secondary school curriculum that can lead students seamlessly into the cybersecurity program at Forsyth Tech. This event will showcase four emerging technology pathways and highlight many more. This event is open to the media only.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month, as designated by President Barack Obama, is observed each October.  Sponsored by the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) within the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA, a non-profit organization), National Cyber Security Awareness Month encourages vigilance and awareness about cyber threats, offering tips and best practices for staying safe online.

Forsyth Tech celebrates success of its Early College of Forsyth

Forsyth Technical Community College celebrated Thursday Newsweek magazine naming its Early College of Forsyth as one of its top 500 high schools in the United States for the second consecutive year.

Forsyth Tech held a ceremony in the Dewitt Conference Center on its Silas Creek Parkway campus.

The Early College of Forsyth was listed in the top 5 percent in the magazine’s rankings this year, said Martha Murphy, a college spokeswoman. It was listed in the top 3 percent in the rankings last year.

Newsweek released its 2015 High School Rankings in August. The magazine analyzed more than 16,000 high schools, and ranked the Early College 103rd, Forsyth Tech said in a statement.

Gary Green, president of Forsyth Tech, said during the ceremony that Newsweek’s recognition of the Early College was a solid accomplishment.

“(The) Early College of Forsyth is one of the best-kept secrets of education in our community,” Green said.

Frances Cook, the principal of the Early College, said the ranking reflects Forsyth Tech’s efforts to develop the Early College into one of the top high schools in the country.

“But more than a ranking, the story of Early College of Forsyth is about the personalization of the relationships between our students and faculty and about being a family,” Cook said.

Forsyth Tech Hosts Venture Innovation Café™, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2- 8 pm

Event Sponsored by Wells Fargo, Focused on Entrepreneurship Support

Forsyth Tech @ Innovation Quarter is hosting a first-ever Venture Innovation Café on Thursday, September 17, from 2 – 8 pm at 525 @ Vine Street in Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter. Wells Fargo is the event sponsor.

Focused on developing and supporting entrepreneurship in Forsyth County, the “Mixer” is designed to match new and established entrepreneurs with like-minded local partners and resources to accelerate momentum in Innovation Quarter and beyond by aligning the people, talent and energy in the evolving local innovation community.

“We are excited by this extraordinary opportunity to bring together for the first time a newly formed group we’re calling the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Partners of Forsyth County,” says Allan Younger, director of Forsyth Tech’s Small Business Center. “This group offers an additional pool of resources to small business owners and start-up entrepreneurial enterprises that supplement the services we are already providing through the Small Business Center, such as one-on-one counseling and business advice, seminars, roundtables, and computer training. All of these services are designed to ensure the success of entrepreneurial development in our community.”

The Café features Social Media Strategies and IRS workshops for entrepreneurs and a Small Business Center Success Roundtable See full schedule below). In addition, participants will have numerous opportunities to meet and interact with the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem  Partners of Forsyth County, including the Winston-Salem  Chamber of Commerce, Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, Lewisville Chamber of Commerce, Flywheel, Winston-Salem Mixxer, Forsyth County Public Library, Center for Creative Economy, Center for Design Innovation, VentuRealization Community, The Enterprise Center, Salem College, Wake Forest University School of Business, sbtdc, Piedmont Angel Network and representatives from the City of Winston-Salem.

The event is free and open to the public. Preregistration is required by emailing , calling 336-757-3802 or registering online at:

Following is the full list of events taking place during the Venture Innovation Café™:

  • 10:30 am-11:30 am SBC Success Series RoundTable: Your Business Community (SBC)
  • 11:30 am-2:00 pm Lunch on Your Own
  • 2:00-3:00 Meet the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Partners (Flywheel)
  • 3:00-4:00 Social Media Strategies: What is best for my Business? (SBC Lab 2)
  • 3:00-4:00 Entrepreneurship is a Team Sport (Flywheel IQ Court)
  • 3:00-4:00 The Best Deal in Town for Startup and Success (SBC Classrooms)
  • 3:00-6:00 Information Tables: Ecosystem Partners (525 @ Vine Courtyard)
  • 4:00-5:00 Getting Investor Ready (Flywheel IQ Court)
  • 4:00-5:00 How the Chamber Helps Small Business (Forsyth Tech SBC #2440)
  • 4:00-5:00 How to Find and Connect with the Resources You Need
    (SourceLink & SWERVE) (Forsyth Tech SBC Classrooms)
  • 5:00-6:00 Innovation Clinic (Forsyth Tech SBC Classrooms)
  • 5:00-5:30 How to Start a Startup (Flywheel IQ Court)
  • 5:30-6:00 VentuRealization Workshop Series (Flywheel IQ Court)
  • 6:00-7:00 Meet the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Partners (Flywheel)
  • 6:00-8:00 IRS Presentation Independent Contractor vs. Employee (SBC)

Added Bonus:

  • 6:30-9:30 pm “Sunset Thursdays” Free Community Concert in Bailey Park presented by Flow Honda. Food and beverages available for purchase.