Culinary Entrepreneurs Smoked the Small Business Challenge

entrepreneurs

Forsyth Technical Community College held the Small Business Launch Challenge Awards on Dec. 18, 2017 to complete the first session. Six finalists presented their proposals and three winners were selected. The first place winner was Stacey Mitchell, co-owner of Smoke and Skillet Food and Beverage Catering; second place winner was Faith McKnight, owner of The Sweet Truth Bakery and Catering, and the third place winner was Calissa Hooper, owner of 5 Sistah’s Delight, Food Truck Catering.

The three other finalists were LaTanya Tyson, owner of Crossyard, an online sales organization for fraternity and sorority apparel and gifts; Kimberly DeWindt, holistic coach and owner of Empowered Life Transitions; and Chrissy Klunder, owner of Himilayan Salt Therapy. All finalists won a share of $50,000 from the Forsyth Tech Foundation.

The panel of judges, including business mentors for the small business challenge and Forsyth Tech faculty members, selected the winners based on their presentation, the potential success of their business start-up, and the work they had completed throughout the program.

Allan Younger, director of the Small Business Center at Forsyth Tech, explains that the program will work with individuals who will be committed to launch their business within six months of completing the program.

At Forsyth Tech, 22 entrepreneurs were selected in August based on the feasibility of their business ideas. They have been participating in educational events, weekly group meetings, and one-on-one consultations with business mentors to help guide them in their process.

The Launch Challenge is the result of a collaborative effort among six Winston-Salem-based colleges and universities called the Emerging Entrepreneur Funds. Announced last May, the schools are offering a series of programs for their students and alumni to help encourage entrepreneurship. Each institution developed a different program with established guidelines in support of their initiative. Forsyth Tech’s program is the Small Business Launch Challenge.

The following schools also participated along with Forsyth Tech:

  • Piedmont International University
  • Salem College
  • UNC School of the Arts
  • Wake Forest University
  • Winston-Salem State University

At Forsyth Tech, a special award fund was created for alumni, current students, and Small Business Center clients. The Launch Challenge will foster successful business start-ups in Forsyth and Stokes Counties. The award pool is $100,000 per year for three years through 2020. The award amount will be based on successful completion of the Launch Challenge. The next session for competitors ran through May.

Forsyth Technical Community College Launched Forsyth Tech Works Volunteer Program

Forsyth Tech employees out volunteering

From sorting food and preparing bagged lunches to painting and hauling gravel, Forsyth Tech employees spent time this past September offering their services to the community.

“All full-time employees received eight hours of community service leave as part of a new program we launched last year,” explains Anna Marie Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer. “We didn’t see a large adoption of that benefit during the first year, and wanted to increase participation. That’s when Forsyth Tech Works was born!”

From September 19 – 27, approximately 100 employees took advantage of volunteering during work hours at the following nonprofits:

  • Family Services, Inc.
  • Forsyth Humane Society
  • Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Shepherd’s Center of Winston-Salem
  • Veterans Helping Veterans Heal
  • World Relief

“When you can volunteer time toward a community project or worthwhile cause, it does something to the soul of your being,” reflects academic advisor Jana Poplar on her volunteer experience at Second Harvest Food Bank.

“Our goal is to support the sense of community at Forsyth Tech,” Smith says. “Many of the agencies we are partnering with are actually those that directly support some of our students. It feels good to link ourselves with organizations that serve those we serve. “

Growing Need for Cyber Warriors Offers Students Scholarships and Careers in Cybersecurity

cyber security students

In September 2016, Forsyth Technical Community College was named by the National Security Agency (NSA) as a Cybersecurity Regional Resource Center (CRRC), one of only six community colleges in the country designated a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in cybersecurity. The CAE designation, awarded jointly by the NSA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the most prestigious recognition for cybersecurity excellence a college can receive. At the same time, Forsyth Tech was given $156,000 to fund two initiatives for cybersecurity education. One of the initiatives was to expand training for and awareness of careers in cyber security. Approximately $125,000 will be used to fund faculty training, and the remainder will support the creation of a pilot training program for the Cybersecurity K-12 Pathway initiative.

“We want to get students interested earlier in cybersecurity,” said Dr. Deanne Wesley, department chair, iTEC Davis Center at Forsyth Tech. “Students need to learn skills now for future jobs that we do not even realize will be available.”

For the K-12 Pathway initiative, Forsyth Tech is offering training for local Girl Scout Troops to earn a new badge in cybersecurity. Thomas Brown, program coordinator for web technology, will be training girls in web design. In addition, Gerald Kearns, program coordinator for computer information technology, trained Carver High School students to assist with the annual computer diagnostics clinic offered at the college.

On another initiative, Forsyth Tech, along with Stanly Community College and East Carolina University, partnered with Palo Alto Academy in California to develop a beta test for the cybersecurity examination. The test was administered to 68 community college students and faculty from across North Carolina.

Forsyth Tech is also a participant with the Federal CyberCorps Scholarship Program, which provides grants to students continuing their study in the field of cybersecurity, computer sciences, computer programming, or information systems security. Three Forsyth Tech students, Christina Bell, Glen Anthony Olsen, and Britny Rominger were awarded the Scholarship for Service Grants in 2017. They will receive a total of $61,000 for three years: one year at Forsyth Tech and two years to complete their Bachelor’s degree at either North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University or the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

All three students have demonstrated outstanding achievements in cybersecurity: Olsen passed the Palo Alto exam, and both Bell and Rominger were finalists in the Women in Cybersecurity Conference in Arizona in 2017.

In return for their scholarship and upon graduation, the students will commit to work for a government agency for three years. The program offers numerous resources for students, including an annual job fair, a weeklong training program in the summer, and internship opportunities as they are asked not to work during the time they are in the program.

Four students have been selected for 2018: James Lewis, Javon Morgan, Christopher Perrin, and David Wilson.

A New Partnership Develops

Bellevue and Forsyth Tech faculty

Forsyth Technical Community College has partnered with Bellevue University, a private, nonprofit university in Bellevue, Nebraska, to offer students another program option for college transfer upon graduation from Forsyth Tech.

Three Bellevue leaders visited Forsyth Tech on February 5 to meet with Forsyth Tech leaders and faculty to share information about the program, take a tour, and plan for the future of the partnership.

“Forsyth Tech is the first community college we have partnered with in North Carolina, and we are proud of the relationship we have initiated and would like to grow our presence in N.C.,” said Jim Grotrian, vice president, Strategic Partnerships, Bellevue University.

As part of the relationship agreement, Bellevue will provide a relationship manager to be located on the main campus of Forsyth Tech beginning in the fall of 2018, along with a co-branded microsite to provide students information on transfer requirements. Students may take courses online from Bellevue to satisfy degree requirements.

“We want to provide as many pathways as possible for our students to pursue their educational goals,” said Randy Candelaria, dean, Learning Resources. “When a student graduates from Forsyth Tech seeking to transfer to a college or university to obtain a four-year degree, we want them to know that we can provide advising and assistance to make the most of their earned credits at Forsyth Tech, and that we care about the student well beyond their stay here. Partnerships with Bellevue and other institutions ease the transfer process and allows our students to maximize their potential to their full advantage. ”

A Collaborative Effort Earns Recognition

4 members of the c3bc

Forsyth Tech was named a national finalist in the Bellwether Award competition in January for a four-year project spearheaded by its National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce (NCBW).

Forsyth Tech and its NCBW received Bellwether Award recognition for the work of the Community College Consortium for Bioscience Credentials, which was created under a $15 million Trade Adjustment Assistant Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
From 2012-2016, the c3bc joined 12 community colleges, including Forsyth Tech and industry and workforce partners, spanning 13 states, provided opportunities for close to 4,480 participants; built unique relationships with employers; developed novel skill standards; and removed barriers for learning.

Judges for the University of Florida’s School of Education, which sponsored the Bellwether Award competition, cited Forsyth Tech as one of 10 national finalists in the workforce development category. In all, there were 1,400 applications for Bellwether Awards.

“I think this was a great experience, very much a learning and developmental one,” said, Russ Read, executive director for the NCBW. “Although we did not win first place, we won in many ways. This was a great team effort in developing the c3bc through our DOL grant and the ultimate success to make an excellent submission and presentation with our partners.”

Read has led the NCBW since its creation in 2005 under a previous DOL grant to Forsyth Tech. Since then, the NCBW has been a national leader in developing best practices, skill standards, and capacity building in biotech workforce education and skills training.

Giving Everyone a Reason to Smile

dental students at work on a patient

Good dental hygiene with regular checkups is important but can also be expensive. That’s why at Forsyth Tech, one of the benefits of offering the best education in dental education is instruction through hands- on experience and giving back to the community.

In addition to the low-cost dental clinic offered from February through June, the dental education and health technologies programs offered a free clinic this year on February 23, 2018 for both children and students in the community. And, that gives everyone a big reason to smile.

“What a great event,” said Linda Latham, dean of health technologies. “There were lots of happy children’s faces leaving the clinic.”

Nineteen children and five Forsyth Tech students received free sealants and x-rays. The sealants were generously provide by Henry Schein Dental Company.

“This is a great opportunity for all of our dental assisting and dental hygiene students to work together as  team to accomplish a wonderful community service,” said Jannette Whisenhunt, department chair, dental education. “We do this each year for ‘Children’s Dental Health Month.’

Honoring a Legacy — Black History Month Program at the Mazie S. Woodruff Center

Denise Hartsfield

It was an atmosphere of celebration and inspiration during the 2nd annual Black History Month program at The Mazie S. Woodruff Center on Feb. 22, 2018. The program focused on the legacy of two champions for the African-American community in Winston-Salem, Mazie S. Woodruff and Walter Marshall.

Walter Marshall’s children Krista and Malcolm shared their father’s favorite quotes and personal stories.
“He gave his life for his community and encouraged me to be there for my kids,” said Malcolm Marshall.

Guest speaker, the Honorable Judge Denise Hartsfield presented “Honoring a Legacy: Celebrating the Past to Shape the Future,” focusing on the legacy of Mazie Woodruff.

Last year, the Mazie S. Woodruff scholarship was established to give one Forsyth Tech student a $250 award each semester.

The recipient of the first scholarship, Vernell Springs thanked the Woodruff family for their act of kindness.

“The Mazie Woodruff Scholarship Fund made it possible for me to buy my books. Without this scholarship I would not have been able to take my courses this semester and be a candidate for graduation in May.”

“The Mazie S. Woodruff Scholarship isn’t just about tuition assistance, it delivers impact far beyond that. It’s about eliminating financial barriers and providing students with the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their family,” said Angela Cook, director of donor relations.

The ultimate goal of the Mazie S. Woodruff Center is to raise $25,000 — enough money to endow the scholarship so that Mazie’s name will live on in perpetuity, while continuing to make a difference in the lives of others.

To date, thanks to the incredible support of generous donors, the center has raised $7,000 toward the endowed scholarship fund.

In Recognition of His Contribution to Education, Bill Adams Awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine

Bill Adams

Bill Adams, part-time director of occupational extension at Forsyth Technical Community College, has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine — one of the most prestigious awards conferred by the governor of North Carolina.

President of Forsyth Tech Gary Green, presented the award to Adams March 14. Adams has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education and a Master of Science and a doctorate in Occupational Education, all from North Carolina State University.

“Bill Adams has made invaluable contributions to the education of North Carolinians, beginning with K-12 education and, for more than 50 years, North Carolina’s community colleges. His life’s work has been ensuring career opportunities and hope for the future for countless people,” Green said.

Three community college programs he started are still offered. At Davidson County Community College, he started the horticulture program in the 1980s through the Continuing Education Division at the local men’s prison to help men who are about to be released find jobs.

In 2000, Adams began the Truck Driver Training Program. The program, which began as a Continuing Education program, is now a curriculum program and is still regarded as one of the best in the state of North Carolina. In 2010 at Forsyth Tech, Adams began the Electrical Lineman Program to train line workers in cooperation with Pike Electric and Duke Energy. Congratulations, Bill!

Strategic Partnerships Make Good Business Sense

Juanita Murphy

Successful companies drive local economies and, likewise, a competitive workforce can sustain the success of the company. Forsyth Tech has a history of working with businesses to develop skilled employees, enhance contract training programs for staff, and to identify and implement assessment tools for pre-screening potential job candidates.

In fact, Forsyth Tech was founded in 1960 through a partnership with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company now Reynolds American, Inc. (RAI). When R.J. Reynolds needed more skill development for their employees, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Industrial Education Center was formed, which later became Forsyth Tech.

Through the years, as changing technology has required more advanced skills, Forsyth Tech has continued to provide opportunities at RAI for training, assessing, and screening employees. Through the Economic and Workforce Development Division (EWD) of Forsyth Tech, one of the tools offered to local businesses is a unique employment assessment system called WorkKeys®. These assessments help employers determine the potential success of an employee for a specific job and to reduce turnover.
“Working first with Reynolds American, Inc., we developed a process for pre-screening and a model for workforce assessment using WorkKeys® from ACT Workforce Solutions,” said Juanita Murphy, career readiness certificate coordinator with Forsyth Tech. “The testing removes the guesswork to determine an applicant’s skills using a variety of aptitude tests.”

Barbara CarterThe testing is now being offered to additional companies throughout Forsyth and Stokes counties. Over the past eight years, Murphy has coordinated scheduling and testing for Herbalife; Reynolds American, Inc.; Sonoco; Siemens; Triumph; Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools; and Wieland, among others, to help them meet their hiring goals.

Students and Alumni Pay it Forward

a group of women outside of Senior Sevices

Human Services is a specialized, yet growing career field offering entry-level positions in a variety of roles. From mental and social services to agencies serving older adults, the prerequisites for this career are compassion and the willingness to serve others.

Forsyth Technical Community College offers degrees and certificates in both Human Services, along with a Human Services/Gerontology concentration.

“Forsyth Technical Community College is one of only five community colleges in North Carolina that offer a degree in Gerontology,” said Betsey Zook, program coordinator of human services technology. “The field is growing as the population ages and employees are needed.”

Students in both these fields are required to complete internships in non-profit agencies. This semester, there are three agencies where Forsyth Tech interns pair up with Forsyth Tech alumni, who now work as employees at Senior Services, Inc., The Bethesda Center for the Homeless, and The Enrichment Center.

Senior Services, Inc. provides a variety of services for seniors from lunch programs, Meals-On-Wheels, personal care, information and referrals, and case management, to supervised care at the Elizabeth and Tab Williams Adult Day Center. Forsyth Tech alumni, Dorothy Thomas and Yveline Buford, are employees at Senior Services and are responsible for coordinating activities during the three-day-a-week lunch programs. Rudine Holmes and Lakesha Barley are Forsyth Tech student interns at these sites.

Thomas is located at the Sprague Street Community Center and mentors Holmes, while Buford is located at the Brown and Douglas Recreation Center and mentors Barley.

”I want to write a book on how to tap into these seniors’ passions and talents,” said Thomas. “To me, they are remarkable with so much to share. I love working with the seniors.”

All four women had previous careers and returned to school at Forsyth Tech, knowing they were committed to work with senior adults through geriatric services.

The lunch programs are an opportunity for seniors to get out of their homes, have lunch, and socialize. “We provide activities before lunch, and the seniors love the games — especially Bingo,” said Buford.

As the seniors are leaving, the staff said they see positive changes on the participants’ faces, and the seniors have a renewed sense of purpose.

“You can see that the seniors care about each other when they come to lunch,” said Barley. “They have become like a family.”

The Bethesda Center for the Homeless operates a day shelter and an emergency overnight shelter for homeless men and women in Winston-Salem. Its mission, to “create opportunities through emergency and supportive services,” gives hope to countless men and women annually as moving from homelessness to housing becomes a reality.

Four student interns work with three graduates of Forsyth Tech. Interns Tanner Bowden, Angela Gaskin, Michael Hoots,