VGCC is Workforce Development, Community Engagement, Entrepreneurship Haven

With the stroke of a pen, Vance-Granville Community College President Dr. Rachel Demarais joined more than 200 of her colleagues across the country to show support of entrepreneurship.

Demarais was joined by Tanya Weary, dean of South Campus and Dr. Jerry Edmonds, vice president of Workforce Development and Community Engagement on Tuesday, Feb. 23 for the virtual signing of the “Presidents for Entrepreneurship Pledge,” which took place at the community book read and discussion for Who Owns the Ice House: Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur.

The pledge outlines five action steps to increase focus on entrepreneurship and the impact community colleges have on the economic well-being of the communities they serve, according to information from the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE).

In signing the pledge, more than 200 community colleges across the country are making a commitment to play a greater role in stimulating economic development in their communities. “An entrepreneurial mindset is critical to solving today’s challenges for tomorrow,” Demarais said.

“As a lead workforce developer in our region, it is imperative that VGCC support economic development through both skills and entrepreneurial training,” she added. Programs offered through the VGCC Small Business Center as well as incorporating entrepreneurial thinking in the school’s trades programs contribute to promoting the idea of entrepreneurism, she said.

According to NACCE President and CEO Rebecca Corbin, the pledge is a way for community colleges to advance entrepreneurship and create jobs across the country. Community college presidents who take the pledge commit to these five action steps:

  • Develop transparency of community college and community assets
  • Create internal and external teams dedicated to entrepreneurship
  • Increase entrepreneurs’ engagement in community colleges
  • Engage in industry cluster development
  • Create broad exposure to their college’s commitment to entrepreneurship.

The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through community colleges. The association represents more than 300 community and technical colleges who serve more than three million students. For more information, visit Follow NACCE on Twitter at @NACCE and like NACCE on Facebook at National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.

Kerr Tar Workforce and NCWorks

Looking A Job – Look Here Before Feb 25

It’s a job seeker’s market, according to a local NC Works official who announced a couple of upcoming opportunities that could lead to employment.

Desiree Brooks, business services manager of the Workforce Development Board of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, said participants interested in work at Altec can register for an event that will begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25.

Altec, which builds bucket trucks, has a facility in Creedmoor in southern Granville County.

A second opportunity scheduled for Thursday is the Triangle Virtual Regional IT Career Expo, Brooks said. A group of area workforce development groups is hosting this event, which will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There are many opportunities in the Kerr-Tar region for jobs in the IT field, she said. A job may not be working for an IT company, but there are businesses hiring for IT-related jobs, she said. “We’re all coming together for a common need,” she said.
We all share the same goals – to improve workforce, not just in our area, but across North Carolina,” she said.

This virtual career fair is for employers who are looking for workers as well as for job seekers, she said. Register for this event online at or phone 919.693.2686 to get assistance or to learn more about either event.

Register Online for Vaccine with Franklin County Health Department

Franklin County residents can now register online for first-dose COVID-19 vaccinations, according to Scott S. LaVigne, county health director.

Please visit, where interested residents will find a link to the county’s COVID-19 Vaccine online booking system. Clink on the link, answer a series of questions to confirm your eligibility and proceed to book your first-dose appointment, according to information from LaVigne.

The online booking process was launched at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 15. “In Franklin County, demand for the vaccine is far greater than the amount of first-doses we are currently receiving,” LaVigne stated, but added that as manufacturers are able to produce more vaccine, the health department will be able to open up more appointment slots for residents to get the vaccine.

Any resident who doesn’t use email or have access to a computer to complete the registration process should call the health department’s dedicated COVID-19 Vaccine phone line at 919.729.0654. If asked to leave a message, please speak clearly and provide a phone number so a staff member can return the call.

Sheri Jones VGCC

VGCC celebrates Entrepreneurship Week

— courtesy of Vance Granville Community College

Vance-Granville Community College is celebrating National Entrepreneurship Week (Feb. 13-20, 2021) with a variety of virtual events for the community.

National Entrepreneurship Week (NEW), established by the United States Congress in 2006, is a celebration of small businesses, innovators, and creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life and drive economic vitality. “NEW is a time to celebrate, to be inspired and to get motivated to do what you love,” said VGCC Dean of Business & Industry Solutions Tanya Weary, who is coordinating the observance along with VGCC Small Business Center Director Sheri Jones.

VGCC’s online events kick off on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 9 a.m. with a video posted to the VGCC Facebook page (, entitled “What is Entrepreneurship?” followed on Sunday, Feb. 14, at 9 a.m. with another video posted on the Facebook page, called “Do What You Love!”

On Monday, Feb. 15 at noon, VGCC will present a lively, one-hour seminar, entitled “Give It to the People: Your Brand, Your Voice, Your Business,” with instructor Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, the CEO of Lady Bizness. Attendees will learn how to empower their brand, enhance their voice and increase their business. There will be opportunities to ask questions of the presenter. Registration in advance is required through

The next day, Tuesday, Feb. 16, at noon, the community is invited to “Lunch with an Entrepreneur – Learn the Failures and Successes of Starting a Business,” with Jason Shearin, a seasoned entrepreneur and owner of Lake Gaston Coffee in Littleton. Shearin will lead a discussion on what it takes to own your own business and will take questions from participants. Registration in advance is required through

Dean Tanya Weary will lead a webinar, “Business Plan 101,” on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at noon. She will explain how one of the most important tasks in starting a new business or growing an existing business is the business plan. Registration in advance is required through

On Thursday, Feb. 18, at 9 a.m., the college will showcase one of its recent alumni, Greg Kelly, who graduated from the VGCC Truck Driver Training (CDL) program, on VGCC’s Facebook page.

On Friday, Feb. 19, at 9 a.m., the community can attend a virtual “StartUp Crawl” in order to learn about, and take a virtual tour of, a pair of local business incubators: Frontier Warren and the Creedmoor Business Center. This will be accessed on the VGCC Facebook page.

The series concludes on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 9 a.m., with a session called “Taking the Initiative.” This video, posted to the VGCC Facebook page, is designed for people who have ideas for small businesses and are ready to take the next steps. Sheri Jones, director of VGCC’s Small Business Center, will discuss what these aspiring entrepreneurs need to do.

The Small Business Center has a variety of resources to support entrepreneurs through education and training. For more information on the Small Business Center, contact Sheri Jones at or (252) 738-3240.

For more information about National Entrepreneurship Week, contact Tanya Weary at, visit and follow the VGCC Facebook page (



SBI Special Investigations Unit Investigating Shooting of Suspect Involving Agent After Hours-Long Standoff

— press release

At approximately 5:00 pm on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, special agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s (SBI) Computer Crimes Unit and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force along with deputies from the Granville County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve an arrest warrant and search warrant at a residence located at 3147 Cannady Mill Road, Franklinton, North Carolina, in Granville County.  The arrest warrant was for:  1st degree statutory sex offense (1 count); 1st degree sexual exploitation of a minor (4 counts); disseminating obscenities to a minor (1 count).  The search warrant was for the production of child pornography.

Upon arrival, the suspect named in the arrest warrant, who was armed, retreated into the home.  The Franklin County SWAT, Wake Forest Police SWAT and SBI Special Response Team were called to assist with taking the suspect into custody.

After an 18-hours long standoff, at approximately 11:00 am on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, the suspect approached the door entrance from inside the home, armed with a long gun.  An SBI agent fired a shot striking the suspect.  The suspect was pronounced deceased on the scene.  The SBI’s Special Investigations Unit is now investigating and pursuant to standard operating procedure, the SBI agent has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The SBI always seeks to preserve life and to use the minimum amount of force necessary.  Rarely, there are those occasions where the use of deadly force is exercised by our agents.  As with every officer involved  shooting the case will be fully investigated and reviewed with the District Attorney.

Names of the suspect and agent will be released at a later time.

Virtual Hiring Event Tuesday, Feb. 9th, Sunrock

According to information obtained from the Kerr Tar Regional Council of Governments and NC Works, Carolina Sunrock will hold a virtual hiring event Tuesday, February 9th.

It will start at 11 a.m. To register, go online to

You are invited to join in for this virtual hiring event at Carolina Sunrock. Jobs opportunities are included for equipment operators, CDL A and CDL B drivers, pipe and grading foreman as well as others.

Call 919.693.2686 for more information or email or

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation Community Response Grants

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation’s annual grant program opens today, Feb. 1, 2021. The Community Response Grants provide up to $20,000 to nonprofits, governmental and educational organizations for programming that responds to the effect COVID-19 has on families and communities, according to Val Short, the foundation’s executive director.

Organizations that serve counties in the Triangle North Region comprised of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties are eligible to submit applications, Short said in information provided to WIZS. Individuals are not eligible to submit an application.

Find the link to the grant application at New applicants must register for an account. Any organization interested in submitting a grant application should schedule a meeting with Triangle North Healthcare to discuss the project. Virtual meetings via Zoom will begin next week, Short said. Call TNH at 252.430.8532 to learn more about the grant process. Completed applications are due no later than July 31, 2021.

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation began funding projects in 2013. To date, more than $2 million has been awarded to fund more than 80 health projects serving the four-county region.  The grants support programs in the focus areas of child well-being, chronic disease, mental health and substance use disorders, nutrition and physical fitness, and reproductive health.

Triangle North Healthcare Foundation is a regional healthcare grantmaking organization, established in November 2011 after the merge of Maria Parham Medical Center with the for-profit Duke LifePoint.  The foundation has been funded by an endowment that was created from the assets of the former nonprofit hospital.


New Production Technician Class; Real Skills, Better Pay, Certifications

— press release

Vance-Granville Community College is excited to announce a new Production Technician program. The program is designed to provide fast, hands-on training to learn job skills in safety, math, quality practices, teamwork, communications, problem solving, production processes and basic bio-processing. Our 96-hour program will prepare workers to help increase productivity, performance, competitiveness and enhance value/profit. The program will start February 15 and runs for only 16 days.

Learn skills needed to be effective contributors in production operations and achieve credentials that get employers’ attention. If you are already in the industry, improve your performance and obtain a higher-paying job within the industry. The Production Technician program is a competency-based training program designed to provide students with enhanced career opportunities in manufacturing. Students will be introduced to the concepts of process improvements and emphasizing the importance of quality and its role in company profitability and job sustainability.

This course prepares people to enter careers as a production technician, machine operator, packaging machine operator, assembly-line worker or assembly-machine operator. Often, entry-level production technician positions are the starting point for a new employee to advance within the company.  In this role, you need to understand and perform tasks based upon setup or job sheets, processes and the use of technology. According to Career Coach, new workers could start around $41,000. Entry-level compensation typically varies between $30,000-$40,000 per year.

Students completing the course:

  • are guaranteed a job interview.
  • receive the North Carolina Manufacturing Certificate.
  • are certified as a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt.
  • are certified forklift operators.
  • are certified in OSHA 10 safety.

Tuition scholarships are available. Full scholarships will be provided to the first eight applicants.

Act now, because class capacity is limited. To register for this course, visit

Dale Folwell

Treasurer Folwell Recommends Improved COVID Vaccine Distribution Plan

— from the office of North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell

For weeks North Carolina lagged behind much of the nation in administering the doses of COVID-19 vaccinations it received, and state Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, will outline the consequences of the state not being prepared for the rollout during his monthly “Ask Me Anything” conference call for members of the media on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Treasurer Folwell is advocating for a “PPP” approach to execute rapid, efficient supply chain delivery. Rather than concentrating immunizations in local health departments and more expensive hospitals, he believes it makes greater sense to expand availability of the shots to primary care physicians, pediatricians and pharmacies – the three Ps that have been reliably and professionally administering vaccines for more than 100 years.

The Department of State Treasurer has amassed about 26,000 health care providers in the State Health Plan’s Clear Pricing Project network. Many of them are willing and qualified to provide the shots but state health officials have kept them on the sidelines.

The treasurer contends the shaky rollout likely is contributing to more deaths, will increase poverty because business lockdowns will remain in effect until the vaccines can be more widely administered to contain spread of the virus, and students will continue to fall further behind in their education and suffer increased mental health problems because most schools remain closed.

Another topic the treasurer will discuss is the potential community harm from the pending sale of county-owned New Hanover Regional Medical Center to health care giant Novant Health.

Treasurer Folwell contends the acquisition is the latest in a series of hospital consolidations that have inflicted negative consequences on North Carolina taxpayers and health care consumers. An article in Fortune magazine supported his position that increased hospital concentration and monopolies lead to higher costs, lower quality and decreased access. The article noted 74% of North Carolina general hospitals belong to mega-health care systems. Only three other states have a higher percentage.

Free Alzheimer’s Association Workshops in NC in February; Diagnosis, Care Plans, Living With

The Alzheimer’s Association’s chapters in North Carolina are joining forces to host a three-part virtual education series on Wednesdays in February.

The Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter and the Alzheimer’s Association, Western Carolina Chapter will present different topics designed to help families learn more about the disease and how to help themselves and their family members suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

According to a press release from the Alzheimer’s Association, the workshops are open to individuals who have received a recent diagnosis or are in the early stages of dementia-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s. In addition, anyone interested in learning more about planning, resources, and services that are available may also attend.

There is no charge to attend the workshops, and participants can sign up for any or all three. Registration is required, however. To sign up, visit or call 1-800-272-3900.

“The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is life-changing and leads to many questions so this program is invaluable for recently diagnosed individuals and their care partners,” said Lisa Roberts, Executive Director of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “We want them to know that they are not alone and that we are here for them from the beginning of a diagnosis and throughout their journey with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.”

The first workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10 from noon – 1:15 p.m. Dr. Mark Pippinger, a behavioral neurologist with Novant Health, will lead the session titled “Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis: What does this diagnosis mean?” and will help participants understand the disease and the diagnostic process, as well as symptoms and approaches to managing care with professionals.

The second workshop is scheduled for Feb. 17 from noon-1:15 p.m. A panel of experts will discuss care plans and care teams, as well as provide a legal and financial overview and how a diagnosis can affect relationships with family and friends. The program is titled “Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis: The Power of Planning” and panelists include Corinne Auman (family caregiving and aging expert), Alyssa Botte (psychotherapist in memory counseling), and Marjorie Brown (elder law attorney).

The final workshop is scheduled for Feb. 24, again from noon to 1:15 p.m. Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisors will share their experiences of living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This workshop is titled “Navigating a Dementia Diagnosis: Live Well.”

According to statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association, 180,000 North Carolina residents are living with Alzheimer’s disease and 479,000 family members and friends provide unpaid care to their loved ones suffering from this disease. Visit to learn more.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s mission, through accelerating global research and early detection, is to end Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The Eastern North Carolina chapter provides patient and family services, information and referral, education, and advocacy in 51 eastern North Carolina counties. It offers opportunities to get involved and to make a difference, in addition to a variety of services including: a 24/7 Helpline, support groups, educational programs, and MedicAlert®.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, or the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter, visit or call 800-272-3900.