The Trades Shops Building at the Forsyth Tech Stokes County Center offers several new trades classes for spring

Learn a new trade in 2021 and be on your way to a new career.

With many jobs shifting or being eliminated during the pandemic, now is the perfect time to learn a skilled trade. For some trades, it takes only a few short months to go from beginner to earning a license, starting a new career or moving to a new level. Short-term classes are now offered at the new Forsyth Tech Trades Shops Building.

Scott Crews, program coordinator said, “With many current workers aging out or retiring, there is a huge demand for skilled trade workers such as electricians, plumbers, and welders. One of the most valuable skills is having a combination of all these skills to basically fix anything. This even allows you to start your own business.”

WeldingAt the Trades Shops Building, classes are offered in short-term programs in horticulture, electrical systems, plumbing and welding. Many classes are offered in the evening for flexibility and convenience. Students who’ve taken advantage of these classes have demonstrated enthusiasm and excitement for learning new skills or honing the ones they have.

For Hope Hudson, her father inspired her to learn welding to help him in his hobby of restoring his 1969 Chevrolet Nova.

“I had started in cosmetology and then took a certified nursing assistant class but when I found welding, I liked it so much that I continued learning. Now have a full-time job in welding!”

Retiree Jim Caragol is another welding student who just wanted to learn a new skill and said his classes in Stokes have been a good learning experience.

The Trades Shops Building opened in 2019 with clean and inviting classrooms containing all the latest equipment for welding and electrical.

In the electrical class, the students were a combination of retirees and full-time employees in other fields. Terrence Jones, a full-time printing press operator, said, “I always wanted to do electrical work, so I came to the Forsyth Tech Trades Shops Building in Stokes to see what was offered.”

Mark Linville, a retired shop teacher, wanted to upgrade his skills and enjoys being back in the classroom as a student. Paulina Ruffino works with her family in construction and wanted to polish her electrical skills. Gray Marshall, who works with computers wanted to try something new. And, Margaret Naughton, who had worked in theater production is taking time to learn more about electrical systems for lighting so she can return to work once theaters reopen.

Instructors in the Trades Shop Building are licensed in their fields and take pleasure in sharing their knowledge through teaching. Tommy Bragg, electrical instructor, has been a licensed electrician since 1996, has worked as an inspector and has his own company.

Crews said the class sizes are limited now due to social distancing, but they are eager to help students find what they enjoy.

“With classes only taking a few weeks, students can try something out, see if they like it and see if they want to pursue the next level,” said Crews who has worked in short-term training for 14 years with Forsyth Tech.

“Employers are not always looking for degrees, but are looking for skilled employees who are creative, know how to think outside the box and solve problems. Adult learners who are continuing their education often already have the soft skills to build relationships with other employees. We can teach them trade skills.”

Stokes also offers courses in kitchen countertops, makeovers and horticulture where homeowners can save a lot of money doing the work themselves.

Imagine learning a new skill in 2021! New classes begin in February at the Trades Shops Building and at different times throughout the spring semester.

To register for a class or for more information go to

Hope Hudson Picture

Hope Hudson takes a break before getting back to welding in class at the Trades Shop Building.

DOL awards $40M for workforce development

The U.S. Department of Labor will award a total of $40 million to 10 institutions, including nine community colleges, to build their capacity to meet demands for a skilled workforce.

“As the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, community colleges are critical partners for the public workforce system to train the American workforce and build a pipeline of workers in critical industries such as healthcare, logistics and cybersecurity,” DOL said in a press release announcing the awards. “The Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants (SCCTG) aim to address the skill development needs of employers and to support workers in gaining skills and transitioning quickly from unemployment to employment.”

The grants also build the capacity of community colleges to address challenges associated with the pandemic, such as expanding online and technology-enabled learning.

The SCCTG program is intended to be a successor to previous similar programs, such as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants and the Community-Based Job Training Grants. It aims to address the skill development needs of employers and to support workers in gaining skills and transitioning quickly from unemployment to employment, according to DOL.

Grant recipients are individual community colleges or a consortium of community colleges undertaking capacity building and systems change at the institutional or state level. Selected institutions will work with workforce development systems and employers to train a broad spectrum of workers, including dislocated workers, incumbent workers and new entrants to the workforce, according to DOL.


Forsyth Tech waives fees for many high school students taking college classes

Many high school students who take colleges classes at Forsyth Tech are getting a financial break.

The Forsyth County community college is waiving fees for high school students who take one or two classes each semester through the Career and College Promise program.

The new fee waiver will save eligible students at least $65 each semester. Career and College Promise students already don’t pay tuition to take classes at Forsyth Tech.

College leaders say the fee waiver could encourage more low-income students to enroll in Career and College Promise, a program that lets students earn college credits while still in high school.
Continue reading

Clemmons visual artist was convinced she had no talent until she took her first drawing class

Read Charlotte’s Story at

If Charlotte’s story inspired you to take a class, here are the art classes offered for Spring. If you are interested, call 336.734.7023 for more information.

Drawing in Color #140934 starting Thursday 3/18  – 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Drawing Beginning/Intermediate #140794 starting Monday 2/22. –  4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Acrylic Painting #140479 – Thursdays  – 9:30 a.m.  –  12:30 p.m.

Oil Painting: All Levels #140796 Starting Tuesday 2/2 . – 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

10 to Watch: Janet Spriggs, president, Forsyth Technical Community College

Janet Spriggs’ second year as president of Forsyth Tech Community College was fraught with challenges brought about by Covid-19. There were delays in construction of the college’s Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab at Smith Reynolds Airport, now expected to open this year. The school was also forced to roll out its new branding in a “drive-thru” event.

Most important, though, is facing the challenge that community colleges do best: quickly pivoting to meet changing workforce needs, regardless of why they change. Spriggs said FTCC will rise to the challenge in 2021 to provide employers with skilled workers and students with employment opportunities.

“Every time there is a recession, we have seen that community colleges play an invaluable role in helping to retrain the workforce for the new jobs that are going to be born from the recession,” Spriggs said. ”We see that same thing happening because of what the pandemic has done to our economy.”

Continue reading

CSEM, Forsyth Tech joint study reveals high cost of transportation challenges

Groundbreaking research by Winston-Salem State University’s Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM), initiated by Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC), reveals that transportation challenges are taking a heavy toll on the college’s student productivity.  The college, which works hard at economic mobility, is adversely impacted by urban sprawl and the transportation costs that come with it, just are so many other institutions and individuals here and nationwide. The CSEM study, done in partnership with Forsyth Tech, is helping lead the way to beneficial change for Forsyth Tech and other institutions.

Mike Massoglia, director of grant writing and development at Forsyth Tech, noted, “From helping us put together a student survey, to providing a thorough and provocative analysis of the results, CSEM has been a critically important partner. What struck us most about the report was the potential impact of transportation barriers on Forsyth Tech’s bottom line, let alone on the lives and economic mobility of our students: more than $1 million in lost state revenue from the thousands of credit-hours not taken.

Stacy Waters-Bailey, Forsyth Tech’s executive director of student support services, said, “We are, of course, very excited about the study and getting the results.” She serves on a task force made up of administrators, faculty and staff that will consider ways of applying the data into the new year. The data confirm stories they had heard from the students, she said, and the students added much more as they answered survey questions.

“You realize that the impact of transportation in Winston-Salem is much wider and more ingrained than we’d even imagined,” Waters-Bailey said. “CSEM’s report provided the initial data the college needed to better understand and lay a foundation for further analysis which will help make an impact for students and the community.”

As 2020 ends, local colleges and universities make plans for the future amidst pandemic

As the year comes to a close, university and college administrators are looking back on the past year to help inform them on how to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in the spring. With a diverse group of institutions in the Triad — from community colleges to public four-year universities to smaller private schools — the area is a unique microcosm of what higher education may look like across the nation next year.

“We’re asking students to do a soft quarantine before they return,” said Jermaine Thomas, the director of public safety and the chair of the health and safety task force at Guilford College. “Students will be online for the first week of classes and that may be pushed out to the first two weeks. We’re paying attention to the state and what the governor might do and looking for any type of stay-at-home order.”

Guilford College is a private school with a population of about 1,900, including faculty and staff. According to the school’s year-to-date coronavirus dashboard, there have been 36 positive cases of COVID-19 among the school’s community, which amounts to only 1.9 percent of the population. Earlier this year, Thomas said they shut athletics down and adjusted the dining hall for to-go orders. They also moved 80 percent of classes online and opened a residence hall for high-risk students to live alone. In the fall, all students coming back to campus had to get tested.

LookUp Aviation to sell and build Sling Aircraft kits at Smith Reynolds Airport

The Triad is getting a new aircraft building company once a lease agreement is executed at Smith Reynolds Airport in Winston-Salem. 

LookUp Aviation, led by Winston-Salem native and entrepreneur Max Maxwell along with partners Mike Ojo and Algen Albritten, plans to open in the first quarter of 2021. It will be the exclusive East Coast distributorship of South African company Sling Aircraft and occupy vacant hangar space at 3820 N. Liberty St., where it will have sales and assembly operations. 

To read more, go to the Library’s Online Resources

Forsyth Tech Early College Student Publishes a Book of Letters

Just in time for Christmas, Ocir Black, a North Carolina teenager with deep roots in Henry County, has delivered a little Christmas present to his family and his community: He has composed a book featuring mothers’ advice to their sons.

“Love Letters to My Son” includes writing by Catina King, a graduate of Magna Vista High School; Juandalyn Jones-Hunt, a graduate of Fieldale-Collinsville High School; Lisa Little, a graduate of Martinsville High School; Triaillyn Evans, a graduate of Bassett High School; and JaMese Morris Black, his mother and a graduate of FCHS.

The whole idea was inspired by the letters his grandmother, Sallie Morris-Redd, used to write to her children and grandchildren. She was a popular English teacher whose career spanned five decades, spent between Carver and Bassett High Schools. After her first husband, James Morris, passed away, she married Walter Redd and then passed away in 2017.

“I wanted a way to keep her alive,” and creating a book inspired by her letters was the way to do it, said Black, who is 15.

Continue reading