Novant Health receives more than 42,000 medical supply donations

Novant Health received more than 42,000 medical supply donations from the community to continue fighting the coronavirus.

Lowe’s, Samaritan’s Purse and Forsyth Tech came together to donate goods like masks, sanitation wipes and cleaning supplies to help Novant Health ensure the safety of its medical staff and patients.

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Forsyth Tech & K-12 school district create unique partnership

As COVID-19 prompted community colleges across the state to shift away from face-to-face instruction, the staff at Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem knew their students would face new hardships in the weeks and months to come.

Stacy Waters-Bailey, executive director of student support services for the college, set out to find every resource available to students. She and her team launched Forsyth Tech Cares, a digital form that allows students to identify their needs and make requests.

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Forsyth Tech, WSSU center join to put students on ‘wheels’ to success

The point hits hard every day for Forsyth County residents of low resources trying to get ahead: Transportation problems cut across every issue of poverty. Those problems frustrate access to doctors, jobs, grocery stores and higher education. Forsyth Technical Community College and Winston-Salem State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility are researching the education part.

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How are community colleges getting students and faculty online?

On March 17, Peter Hans, president of the North Carolina Community College System, advised North Carolina’s 58 community colleges to pause face-to-face instruction and move courses online. Since that announcement, community college leaders, instructors, and staff have worked tirelessly to do just that.

Focused on their students’ needs, each college is taking a different approach. Some extended their spring break while faculty and staff worked out how to move courses online. Many have paused laboratory-based and workforce classes that are difficult, if not impossible, to move online.

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In this crisis together: How community colleges are handling COVID-19.
The State Board of Community Colleges voted to approve five temporary amendments to help with the impact of COVID-19 in a conference call meeting today.
The amendments will be operational for 180 days or until the State Board rescinds them.

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In the midst of the COVID-19 health emergency, the College prepares to offer a personal connection with students and faculty.

Winston-Salem, N.C. – In the midst of this unprecedented COVID-19 and national emergency, Forsyth Tech believes  it is critically important to do any and every thing feasible to relieve as much of students’ and employees’ added worry and stress as possible.

“There is already a tremendous amount of research out there about loneliness and social isolation,” said President of Forsyth Tech, Janet N. Spriggs, “Scenarios like this make that even more challenging to combat.”

The discussion then went beyond managing the state of the college in transitioning from teaching in classrooms to remote learning, to the greater basic issues facing so many students.

“I worry about our students who are hearing daunting news and feeling more and more overwhelmed by the state of our world,” said Spriggs. “Our student population, in normal times and more so now, faces numerous challenges that are not academic-related, that are barriers to their success in the classroom as well as their daily lives. We want our students to be successful but realize that we need to care for the whole person and not just what happens in the classroom.”

Understanding these issues became a very clear mission for Forsyth Tech. One goal was at the forefront – to provide the best for our students and to show them Forsyth Tech cares.

The college is proud to launch a new initiative to help students and employees make it through this crisis together. Forsyth Tech Cares is a new comprehensive approach for connecting students, staff and faculty to the resources and support services they need. We will be able to provide critical support by answering questions, connecting them to emergency financial assistance, and making sure they are doing okay mentally and emotionally.

“When it comes right down to it, we know these are incredibly difficult times for all of us. But community colleges are the best at caring for our students, faculty and staff as family. We are used to rallying around the needs of everyone….when one of us hurts, we all share that pain,” said Spriggs. “I am optimistic because I already see us coming together, thinking differently and creatively, and being willing to do whatever it takes to love and serve our students and each other.”

The college has rallied a task force of interested staff and faculty, and especially those who cannot work remotely in their current jobs, to become student advocates, connecting with each student to show them Forsyth Tech Cares, and to find out how the College can help them weather the COVID-19 storm. The college has also developed a special webpage where students, and employees can share their needs.

“We will ask about concerns about distance education, how are they are handling the stress, if there are any social services to which we can connect them, if they need emergency help from the Forsyth Tech Foundation, and answer any questions about the changes to their classes,” said Masonne Sawyer, vice president of student success services at Forsyth Tech. “We truly hope that we can protect our students from suffering academically due to challenges over which they have no control.”

Additionally, on March 19 at 2 p.m., while students are on an expanded spring break, the college will host a Facebook Live where President Spriggs will talk directly to students, faculty and staff and answer their questions.

Ultimately, we hope that no matter how long COVID-19 lasts, Forsyth Tech Cares that every student who started this semester will finish and will be proud they persevered.

About Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Technical Community College is a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities. 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 serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff.  For additional information, please visit and follow Forsyth Tech on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Aid where it matters: Small business among hardest hit by shut down

Forsyth Technical Community College Small Business Center Director Allan Younger used a single word to describe how small businesses and entrepreneurs will be affected by the shutdown surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.


Younger this week is pointing those seeking advice to the U.S. Small Business Administration and to business owners’ local chambers of commerce websites for direction.

“Everybody knows that depending on what type of small business it is, this situation is going to be devastating to many of them,” Younger said.

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Joel D. Welch, Ph.D., PE Selected as Next President of Western Piedmont Community College

On March 19, 2020, the Western Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees named Joel D. Welch, Ph.D., PE, the seventh president of the college, succeeding Michael S. Helmick, Ed.D. who announced he would retire on June 30, 2020, following a ten-year career with the college.

Joel D. Welch PhotoDr. Welch has extensive community college experience having spent the past twenty-one years in roles at Greenville Technical College and most recently at Forsyth Technical Community College. Dr. Welch has served as an Instructor and Department Chair in hazardous materials technology, Dean for Engineering Technology, Associate Vice President for Administration, Dean for Business & Technology, Vice President for Instructional Services, Vice President for Transformative Learning, and Provost.

Welch stated “I am excited and deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve as the next president of Western Piedmont Community College. WPCC is an exemplary institution recognized for its commitment to student success and support for economic development. I am grateful to the Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff for the trust that they have placed in me to lead WPCC into the future. I look forward to building upon the great work that has already been accomplished and working with the faculty, staff and the community to cultivate a shared vision that supports student success, economic development and economic mobility. Together we are going to accomplish great things at our college and in our community.”

Dr. Welch grew up in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina and received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering from The University of South Carolina, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from Clemson University.

Dr. Welch was selected by the WPCC Board of Trustees to lead the college after an extensive nationwide search that attracted a strong and diverse pool of 79 applicants. The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) assisted WPCC with the search and selection process.

“Welch’s previous experience aligns with the goals of the Board to continue collaborative efforts with regional educational and workforce partners initiated by President Helmick” said Board of Trustees Chair and Co-Chair of the Search Committee Scott Mulwee. “His broad community college experience and dedication to student success position him well to further the mission of Western Piedmont Community College to provide accessible, high-quality education that improves lives and promotes growth in our community.”

Dr. Welch will begin full-time on July 1, 2020. At that time, the college will host community forums to introduce Dr. Welch to the community.

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Expanding local Lowe’s data center helps company meet demand for IT staffers

Lowe’s Cos. Inc.’s constant search for information-technology employees has led it to expand a mission-critical niche office in Winston-Salem.

The company moved into a 27,000-square-foot space at 5644 University Parkway in January that gives it ample room for the dozens of jobs it shifted recently from corporate operations functions in Wilkesboro. A grand-opening event was held last week.

The $100 million data center in Corporate Office Park now has a separate IT service desk workforce of 110 with plans to hire an additional 20 full-time and contract workers as soon as feasible. Hiring information can be found at

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