Nash Community College continues to offer and enhance programs equipping students for immediate employment in thriving career fields. This has been a call to action by President Barack Obama urging federal leaders to support training efforts that prepare students for available jobs in fields that need qualified workers now. In a January 30, 2014 memorandum on job-driven training for workers, presented to the secretaries of Commerce, Labor, and Education, President Obama wrote: “Giving workers the opportunity to acquire the skills that they need to pursue in-demand jobs and careers is critical to growing our economy, ensuring that everyone who works hard is rewarded, and building a strong middle class.”
Through an Industrial and Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) Academy at Nash Community College, high school students can fast track to careers by completing as many as 19 hours of college credit during high school. With the IAM Academy, students may explore career pathway options in Computer Engineering, Computer-Integrated Machining, Electronics Engineering, Industrial Systems, Mechatronics and Welding. The IAM Academy is offered through support of the North Carolina Advanced Manufacturing Alliance.
Additionally, with programs like Career and College Promise, Nash Community College (NCC) offers motivated high school juniors and seniors a head start career training and college. The program prepares eligible high school students for life after high school regardless of a student’s plans, by providing focused preparation at no cost tuition to the student.
According to the President’s memo, his proposed action plan would provide “support for secondary and post-secondary education and training entities to equip individuals with the skills, competencies, and credentials necessary to help them obtain jobs, increase earnings, and advance their careers and make available to workers, job seekers, and employers the best information regarding job demand, skills matching, supports, and education, training, and career options, as well as innovative approaches to training using learning science and advanced technology.”
NCC’s Career and College Promise program offers Career Technical Education and College Transfer pathways that equip students with the skills President Obama referred to in his memorandum regarding job-driven training. The Career Technical Education Pathway provides high school students in a career cluster program an opportunity to enroll in a Nash Community College program aligning with their high school program. In the last year, Nash Community College has experienced a 44 percent increase in students enrolled in the College and Career Promise program which also includes an Early College pathway.
Students in the Career Technical Education pathway have the opportunity for internships with local industry partners preparing them with real-world, hands-on experience for available jobs. They may explore careers in Advertising and Graphic Design, Architecture, Automotive, Computer-Integrated Machining, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Electronics Engineering, Emergency Preparedness Technology, Networking, Web Design and Welding. “Despite recent employment growth, far too many hard-working individuals still have not been able to find a job or increase their earnings, and many businesses report difficulty hiring workers with the right skills for jobs that they want to fill,” Obama’s memo continued. Last year, Nash Community College’s Career Technical Education pathway had a 63 percent increase in enrollment.
By choosing the College Transfer Pathway, high school students planning to attend a four-year college, can complete some core general education classes required during the first two years of a four-year degree. The freshman and sophomore level courses introduce the students to areas of study that develop breadth of outlook and contribute to balanced development. This training is complementary to, but different in emphasis from, the specialized training one receives for a job, a profession, or a major in a particular field of study.
“It is critical that the Federal Government ensure that its policies and programs in the workforce and training system are designed to equip the Nation’s workers with skills matching the needs of employers looking to hire,” President Obama’s memo said. “To achieve this goal, employers must identify the skills and credentials required for in-demand jobs and help develop training programs; workers and job seekers must have access to education and training that meets their unique needs and the requirements for good jobs and careers; and employers must have easy ways to find workers who have or can acquire those skills,” it said.