Feature: Impacting The Now

A person helping at a food bank

If you were to create an illustration showing Forsyth Tech’s links with the community, you’d probably end up with something like an airline map, with lines going every which way. But even if you managed to create that diagram, it still wouldn’t tell you the impact of those many connections. Forsyth Tech students, teachers, staff and donors are the people who forge those connections. They keep information, communication and collaboration flowing from campus to community and back. The following stories highlight a few examples of the ways the college influences the community.
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The Art Of Diplomacy

Richard Jaworski

Richard Jaworski has an interesting world view. He recently completed an assignment as minister counselor for Management Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. And before that, he held posts in Turkey, London, Warsaw, Tel Aviv and Helsinki. In September, Mr. Jaworski spoke to a group, including 28 international business students, in the Oak Grove Center auditorium, about his career as a U.S. State Department Foreign Service officer.
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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