From the President

Dr. Gary M. Green

We are fortunate to have tremendous support for Forsyth Technical Community College in this community. The individuals, companies, and community partners that continue to advocate for education and workforce development are changing lives.

Over the past three years, the community supported two major fundraising initiatives. The Pathways to Possibilities Capital Campaign launched in 2015 to help make a long-term investment in Forsyth Tech. Thanks to every individual and company who donated, we surpassed our initial goal of $18 million and raised more than $20 million for the college.

We are grateful to Robert L. and Elizabeth Strickland, who donated $2.8 million to the campaign. Through their generosity, the Oak Grove Center was renamed the Robert L. Strickland Center. The College’s career center will be enhanced, and the position of Center Director will be the first endowed position at the college.

We also recognize Reynolds American, Inc., our long-standing business partners for their lead gift of $3 million. This gift has provided non-restricted funds for the college, training support, and eight robots to expand our capability in advanced manufacturing.

We greatly appreciate Susan Cameron, retired president and CEO of Reynolds American Inc. who served as the honorary chair of our campaign. We are thankful for the efforts of campaign co-chairs Heather Robinson, vice president of Honeywell Aviation, and former Forsyth Tech Foundation Board member; and Ed Welch, campaign co-chair and president of I. L. Long Construction and former Forsyth Tech Board of Trustees and Foundation board member.

The second major initiative began in 2016. While many individuals and businesses in the region contributed to our campaign, many, many other citizens contributed to their community college through their vote. In the 2016 general election, Forsyth County voters approved a $65 million bond referendum for new facilities, including a new Aviation Lab building, as well as much-needed improvements to our main campus over the next six to eight years. With the voters’ support, these bonds will help ensure that Forsyth Tech remains a vibrant learning environment for our future students.

I want to share with you two outstanding achievements this spring:

  • Our Nanotechnology students Michael Harmon, Winter Collins, Carmen Wright, and Austin Bennett are national finalists in the National Science Foundation Community College Innovation Challenge. The Forsyth Tech team will join the other nine finalists at a four-day boot camp in June where the winner will be announced.
  • In the state competition for Skills USA, Forsyth Tech was represented by 42 students from the Engineering Division: Broadcasting and Production Technology, Digital Effects and Animation, Carpentry, and Collision Repair and Finishing Technology. All students placed in each category they entered.

We are proud of our students and how they are using their education to improve their future and the future for others. Thank you for the difference you are making in Forsyth Tech.

Dr. Gary M. Green

Culinary Entrepreneurs Smoked the Small Business Challenge


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.’