We are so very fortunate to have a healthy, robust, growing community college in the heart of our community.
Richmond Community College, on the western edge of Hamlet where it hugs Rockingham, is a gem — and a treasure to be guarded and nurtured.
From its nursing program to its ability to retrain the workforce to adapt to changes in business and industry, RCC is a leader and champion.
And as county elected leaders carve out a new budget for the coming 2012-2013 fiscal year, we strongly recommend continued financial support to the community college. A successful RCC helps to ensure a successful Richmond County.
Good news abounds, and the success story has many chapters:
• RCC signed a transfer agreement earlier this month with N.C. State University that will allow graduates of the Associate in Science degree program to transfer as juniors into NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. They then have the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degrees online or on the NCSU campus.
• A similar agreement is being developed with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke involving graduates of the Criminal Justice Technology, Human Services Technology and Early Childhood Education programs.
• For a limited time, dislocated or displaced workers were allowed to take the WorkKeys test for free at RCC.
• In April, Perdue Farms Incorporated of Rockingham signed on for a two-year customized training partnership with RCC. Training will allow employees to enhance various electrical, mechanical, safety and supervisory skill sets.
• In March, Progress Energy announced its partnership with the college, which supports RCC’s new Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology program. The company presented the college with a $50,000 check and announced that it had donated $450,000 worth of used equipment as an “in-kind” gift in support of the new program, which will prepare students to maintain electrical substations and relay systems, which are the backbone of the company’s electrical grid.
Earlier this month, RCC President Dale McInnis and the RCC board of trustees hosted members of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners.
The RCC board shared the college’s strategic plan for the future, and took commissioners on a tour of the campus to provide a snapshot of the college’s needs.
The biggest challenge the school is facing is space — space to accommodate the growing numbers of students, and space to accommodate new programs, school officials told commissioners.
The college is growing so quickly, it has been named the fastest-growing community college in the state for the past two years. Forty-two percent enrollment growth has been charted over the past five years, with 15 percent of that occurring in the past year.
McInnis made a point during the tour to thank county commissioners for support in the past.
“Not every county supports its community college the way Richmond County does,” said McInnis. “I’m thankful for the commissioners who have continued to support the efforts of this school. It is thanks to the support from the county that we’ve been able to achieve what we have.”
Commissioners have seen the value of investing in our future, and we’re hopeful that support does not wane.