Agreeing To Agree

North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities logo

In August, the North Carolina Community College System and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities opened up new pathways of opportunity for community college students. They were joined by 22 of the state’s 36 independent colleges and universities in signing the Independent Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (ICAA), which increases access for community college students at institutions of higher education in the state.
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NC Poet Laureate’s Wit And Wisdom Inspires Students

a guitar playing poet

Troubadour, storyteller, perennial teacher, 76-year old Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina’s poet laureate, transfixes audiences. Alternately reading from his lyrical poems about a childhood spent “Down East” on a North Carolina farm and singing soulful renditions of Hank Williams’ ballads, Mr. Stephenson shared his passion for words with Forsyth Tech students, faculty, staff and the public October 9 at the Oak Grove Center auditorium.
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A Conversation With Sally Elliott Stokes Economic and Workforce Development Coordinator

Sally Elliott

You recently graduated from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Institute. Could you explain what it is?

The Institute is offered by The North Carolina Rural Center, whose mission is to develop, promote and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. It’s our voice in local and state government and pushes forward issues that affect rural counties, which often get forgotten.

What is your role?

My job is to make sure the college is involved and has a voice in what goes on in Stokes County. I work with prospective and established businesses and local government officials to help with training or education needs and provide them with the college’s resources to support economic development.

Can you give an example of how you interact with businesses?

The HR department of a local employer may approach us looking for employees. We work closely with Stokes Economic Development to offer assistance with recruitment and retention of area businesses. We also offer small business counseling (in conjunction with the Small Business Center) through our local workforce development center in Walnut Cove.

What types of businesses are being promoted in the county?

Stokes County has difficulty bringing in large corporations because we don’t have the highways to transport materials and goods easily. So the county has been focusing on travel and tourism in recent years. We had a 4.9 percent increase in travel and tourism last year. Hanging Rock State Park and the Dan River are big attractions that draw thousands of visitors to our county each year.

Do you have a role in planning courses?

I coordinate all our adult basic skills and compensatory classes. I am also helping create a new certification in agricultural and artisan entrepreneurship, to teach local farmers and artisans to be more business-minded and increase their profits.

What did the course consist of?

We went to Raleigh three consecutive days each month for three months. The Institute brought in speakers with specialties, such as infrastructure and workforce development. In between, we were given projects to work on.

You seem so passionate about Stokes County. Do you live there?

Yes! We’ve lived here for 8 years, on 27 acres of land. I love the river system, the natural beauty and the friendly small towns. I want this area to develop in a way that preserves our natural resources and our way of life but also ensures that we thrive economically. That takes vision, planning, and teamwork with local businesses and government agencies. The community college is an integral part of this process, and we’re excited to play a role in the progress that is occurring throughout Stokes County.

Is there anything you’d like readers to take away from this conversation?

I want people to know that rural communities are wonderful places. We want to progress, but in the right way: We’d like to keep what’s charming and wonderful about our rural communities. But we also want to keep our young people here, by giving them a way to make a living, while still enjoying a rural lifestyle.

National Grand Champion

The student champions

Forsyth Tech Transportation Technology student Daniel Hanna won first place in the American Trucking Associations’ 2015 Technology & Maintenance Council’s National Student Technician Competition held in Orlando, FL in September. Greensboro-based WheelTime Network sponsored Daniel, and classmate Cody Styers, who placed sixth.

Daniel and Cody competed against students from tech schools around the country. In November, WheelTime held a ceremony honoring Daniel and Cody at the college’s Transportation Technology Center, where Daniel received prizes valued at $12,000.

“Competitions are an intense format for learning and accelerating skills needed to work in high performance, said Mike Delaney, president and CEO of WheelTime. “They also serve as a tremendous motivational tool for these students to continue excelling in their classes, and their future careers.”

“We couldn’t be more proud of Daniel and Cody, said Alan Doub, Forsyth Tech’s program coordinator for Heavy Equipment & Transportation Technology. “Their high performance at the national level speaks to their talent and skill as technicians.”

Event Sponsors: WheelTime, Cornwell Tools, PEAK, MAC Tools, Eaton, Redline

Excitement Animated!

animations created by students

Forsyth Tech’s award-winning Digital Effects & Animation (DEA) program has another feather to add to its creative cap. The program has been named a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence, the first U.S. community college to receive this designation.

Toon Boom is a Canadian company specializing in animation and storyboarding software, whose clients include Fox, Disney and the Cartoon Network. It recognizes postsecondary institutions that are “powerful incubators” for preparing graduates for jobs in the animation, film and media arts industries.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as the first community college in America to be a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence,” says Herb Burns, department chair Design Technologies, program coordinator Digital Effects & Animation, and coordinator International Partnerships. “This is a real testament to the great animated works created by our students and the quality of our faculty,” he adds. “It will open many more new job opportunities in the animation industry for our graduates.”

Burr Praises Center For Cybersecurity

Richard Burr at Cyber Security center

In his role as Chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Richard Burr visited Forsyth Tech in August to present the college’s cybersecurity program with the designation of 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.
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From The President

Gary Green

Dr. Gary M. Green

I often say that most people in our community know someone who has been touched by Forsyth Tech in some way, because the college’s impact is so far-reaching.

Our high-quality, customized training program impacted Caterpillar’s decision to open a new manufacturing plant in Winston-Salem. We are creating innovative training models for R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s workforce, impacting this manufacturer’s transition to a new type of company.

In the past four years, we have seen a 1300 percent increase in demand for our corporate training programs, allowing us to impact hundreds of clients by meeting their business and workplace needs.

Our outstanding faculty and staff are impacting the quality education we offer. Newsweek recently placed Early College of Forsyth in the top one percent of all high schools in the country. Senator Richard Burr visited the college this summer to acknowledge our Cyber Security program’s national designation by the NSA and Department of Homeland Security as a Center for Academic Excellence. Our Digital Effects & Animation program has been named a Toon Boom Centre of Excellence, the first U.S. community college to receive this international designation from the leading software company.

While these statistics and designations are impressive, the true measure of our success is the impact we have on the lives of our students, their families and, by extension, our community. A recent study shows that our graduates contribute approximately $380 million in income to the local economy.

At a recent Board of Trustees meeting, we heard from a student, originally from El Salvador, of Forsyth Tech’s impact on him. After watching his mother work 16 hours a day to support the family, he decided to do things differently. He enrolled in Forsyth Tech’s nanotechnology program and now has a bright and secure future in this high-tech field that will allow him to give back to his family.

Changing lives: This is what community college is all about.