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Wake Electric grant provides technology for VGCC Library

— courtesy VGCC

A grant that Wake Electric Membership Corporation awarded to Vance-Granville Community College has been used for a project to provide enhanced technology for students in the Library on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County.

The $3,000 Classroom Technology grant purchased three 48-inch LED smart TV monitors allowing for large-screen displays in each of three study rooms in the library, as well as a Microsoft Surface tablet device that can also be used by students in those study rooms.

“We are very excited that our students can now use this interactive technology in our library to help them study and succeed in their classes,” said VGCC Director of Library Services Elaine Stem, who applied for the grant. “Our study room usage has doubled in the past year, and I know this new technology will only increase the demand for the study space.”

Stem explained that the rooms previously had 19-inch monitors, which were not well-suited for use by groups of students, or even by individual students needing high-quality visual representations. “We are very appreciative to Wake Electric for supporting VGCC students,” Stem added.

Whitney Duke of Henderson, a student in the VGCC Associate Degree Nursing program, uses one of the new monitors to study bones in a study room at the VGCC Main Campus Library. (VGCC photo)

Wake Electric awards Classroom Technology grants to public K-12 schools and community colleges in its service area. The funds for the grants come from WEMC members who agree to round up their light bill to the nearest whole dollar through the “Operation RoundUp” program. Wake Electric is a non-profit electric utility serving over 42,500 consumers in parts of Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Vance, and Wake counties.

For more information on library services at VGCC, call (252) 738-3279 or visit library.vgcc.edu.

–VGCC–

(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS.)

VanGuarantee Continues to Shine in National Spotlight

— courtesy VGCC

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees celebrated news from President Dr. Stelfanie Williams that the college’s VanGuarantee scholarship continues to gain national attention. The announcement was made on Nov. 20 at the board’s bi-monthly meeting on the Main Campus.

The trustees also welcomed two new board members and heard the results of a campus-wide campaign to raise money for the VGCC Endowment Fund.

In her report to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Williams said the “Community College Daily,” a publication of the American Association of Community Colleges, shared in October an annual report on the College Promise Campaign, described by the association as a movement focusing on providing a free community college education to qualified students.

In the past 12 months, the AACC said, more than 50 new programs were announced similar to VGCC’s VanGuarantee. “New College Promise programs are evolving at a rapid pace because communities and states recognize that a high school education is insufficient to secure a good job and a decent quality of life in today’s economy,” the report said, adding that there are now more than 200 such programs across 41 states.

The VanGuarantee benefitted 47 Vance-Granville students during the 2016-2017 fiscal year, according to VGCC’s Financial Aid Office. A total of $50,514 was disbursed to help those students.

Designed to help eliminate any financial barriers standing between students and their academic goals, the VanGuarantee was announced in March 2016, with the first scholarships awarded in the Fall 2016 semester. The innovative scholarship program was made possible by a $1.6 million bequest to the college from the estate of Wilbert A. Edwards, a Vance County native, who was living in Oxford at the time of his death. Edwards’ gift, announced in 2015, is the second largest in the history of VGCC.

The AACC said the annual report highlighted the efforts to create College Promise programs in rural areas of the nation, “which on average have fewer students attaining college credentials than students in cities,” citing specifically the program at Vance-Granville.

“More than half of the nation’s 1,400 community colleges in the United States are located in rural areas, and they serve a third of the nation’s community college population,” the College Promise Campaign annual report for 2017 says. “Some … like Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina have the responsibility to serve a broad geographic area for their local populations. The aim of these rural programs is to help more students enter and complete a community college education within their region through shared education, business and philanthropic partnerships that identify sustainable financial resources for the College Promise.”

New Trustees

Xavier Wortham of Oxford, left, is sworn in as a newly appointed member of the VGCC Board of Trustees by Ninth Judicial District Court Judge Carolyn J. Thompson at the board’s meeting on Nov. 20. Wortham has been appointed to a four-year term by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper. (VGCC photo)

The Board of Trustees welcomed Xavier Wortham of Oxford as a newly appointed trustee at the meeting. Wortham, who works as executive director of the Oxford Housing Authority in Granville County, was sworn in by District Court Judge Carolyn J. Thompson, who serves District 9.

Appointed for a four-year term on the board by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper, Wortham replaces Michele Burgess of Henderson, who had served since September 2013.

Also joining the board for a one-year term was Sophie Taylor, who was recently elected president of the VGCC Student Government Association. Taylor, who is a student at Franklin County Early College High School, will serve as a Student Trustee, representing the interests of her fellow VGCC students at all meetings of the trustees.

Faculty-Staff Drive for Scholarships

The co-chairs of the annual faculty and staff drive for the VGCC Endowment Fund announced to the Trustees that $21,036 was raised this fall from among employees on Vance-Granville’s four campuses to support the mission of the college and students through scholarships.

VGCC Board of Trustees Chair Danny W. Wright celebrates the announcement of $21,036 raised in the Faculty-Staff Drive for the VGCC Endowment Fund this fall. Co-chairs of the campaign were Andrew Beal, public information officer for the college; Willie Mae Foster-Hill, receptionist at Main Campus; and Jeremy Lambert, assistant director of financial aid. Kay Currin, VGCC Endowment specialist, made the presentation to the trustees at their Nov. 20 meeting. Shown from left are Wright, Beal, Foster-Hill and Currin. Lambert was unavailable. (VGCC photo)

The drive co-chairs were Andrew Beal, public information officer; Willie Mae Foster-Hill, Main Campus receptionist; and Jeremy Lambert, assistant director of financial aid.

VGCC awarded 306 scholarships, including several funded by faculty and staff contributions, at its annual awards dinner this October.

Capital Projects

Trustee Donald C. Seifert, Sr., chair of the board’s Building Committee, and Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, gave updates on several capital projects.

A final report on the assessment of needed exterior masonry repairs to buildings on the Main Campus is expected soon. Some county funds and additional monies from the Connect NC Bond will be used to restore, structurally repair and waterproof campus-wide building masonry rooflines, walls and bridges.

A report is expected in January on options to replace existing deteriorated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and to replace obsolete fire alarm systems on the Main Campus, using funds from the Bond.

A portion of the renovations to the Welding Lab at the VGCC Franklin County Campus is expected to be completed in December, with the remaining work being done during the Summer Term next year. State Bond funds are being used to add eight welding booths to the existing lab at the campus near Louisburg and to add a demonstration area in an adjacent classroom.

Other Action

In other action:

• Trustee Abdul Rasheed, chair of the Budget Committee, presented a motion, that was approved, to write off $1,021.84 in uncollectable student accounts under $50 from the college’s financial accounting records and no longer recognize them as collectible receivables for financial reporting purposes.

• Graham, reporting for the board’s Investment Committee, noted the college’s investments have grown by 9.3 percent since the beginning of the calendar year.

• An informational report on new employees, retirements, resignations and changes in positions was provided by Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the board’s Personnel Committee.

• In her report to the board, Dr. Williams highlighted recent accomplishments and opportunities at the college. She noted the Vance-Granville Community Band concert will be held on Monday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in downtown Henderson.

Presiding over the meeting was Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright.

The Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Jan. 22 at the Main Campus. Normally held on the third Monday of the month, the meeting in January is being moved to the fourth Monday because of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday.

–VGCC–

(VGCC is an advertising client of WIZS.)

VGCC President appointed to major education commission

— courtesy VGCC

Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of Vance-Granville Community College, has been appointed to serve on the “My Future NC” Commission, a new statewide group focused on educational attainment.

My Future NC was recently created by the leaders of the North Carolina public education systems, including the president of the University of North Carolina, Margaret Spellings; the acting president of the North Carolina Community College System, Jennifer Haygood; and the state superintendent of public instruction, Mark Johnson. The Commission’s work is being underwritten by grants from The John M. Belk Endowment, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Goodnight Education Foundation. My Future NC brings together top leaders from education, business, non-profit organizations and state government.

The commission will study and discuss state education and training needs, identify obstacles to meeting those needs, and generate policy recommendations. President Spellings is the co-chair for the effort, along with Dale Jenkins, chief executive officer of Medical Mutual Holdings, and Andrea Smith, chief administrative officer of Bank of America.

Dr. Williams is one of two community college presidents on the panel, along with Dr. Jeff Cox of Wilkes Community College. Other members of the commission include corporate and non-profit foundation chief executives, a local school superintendent, a university chancellor, a legislator, and a pair of members of the clergy. Darryl Moss, the mayor of Creedmoor and a member of the VGCC Endowment Fund board, has also been appointed to the commission.

“We have two North Carolinas when it comes to education and opportunity — the affluent, well-educated population centers — and the small towns and rural communities that have been left out of the rising economic and educational tide that has lifted our state,” said President Spellings. “And North Carolina is one of only a few states without a comprehensive strategic plan from pre-K through post-secondary education. The goal of this effort is simple but by no means easy: to develop a multi-year education plan that recommends a robust attainment goal for the state and a broad-based agenda for a stronger and more competitive North Carolina. We can do better and we should do better—the future of our great state depends on it.”

The commission’s goal is to complete its work by the end of 2018.

“Higher education is an absolute imperative for the future of our state and our workforce,” said Andrea Smith, Bank of America CAO and My Future NC co-chair. “Two of every three new jobs now require some form of post-secondary education — whether that’s training credentials, an associate degree, a four-year degree or higher. This reality underscores how critical education is to career growth and how important it is to increasing economic mobility.”

“I am honored to join a distinguished group of North Carolina leaders who will bring our diverse perspectives to the challenges of strengthening and aligning our state’s excellent educational institutions so that all children and adults can succeed,” President Williams said. “I bring to this task my experience from VGCC, which reflects the entire education pipeline, with our two five-star child care centers as well as our partnerships with K-12 school systems, with the business community and with universities.”

Williams became the sixth president of VGCC in 2012. Since then, she has focused the college strategically on educational excellence, continuous improvement, employee and student engagement in college life, and institutional stewardship. During her tenure, the college has added seven curriculum degree programs, secured the largest grants in the college’s history, the second-largest private donor gift, and held six consecutive highest-yielding annual golf tournaments for scholarships. With a focus on student success, the institution has improved completion rates, graduating the largest classes ever in 2015 and 2016, and initiating a private donor-sponsored college promise program called the “VanGuarantee” in an effort to make college more accessible for students with the greatest financial need.

Prior to leading VGCC, Williams served as faculty and in several administrative capacities at other North Carolina community colleges. She also currently serves as adjunct faculty for the North Carolina State University College of Education. Williams holds dual baccalaureate degrees from Duke University, a graduate degree from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate from North Carolina State University. In 2014, she was awarded the I.E. Ready Distinguished Leadership Award by North Carolina State University.

For more information about My Future NC, visit www.myfuturenc.org.

–VGCC–

VGCC Trustees adopt budget for 2017-2018

The Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees adopted a budget of $32,324,089 for the new fiscal year at its bi-monthly meeting on Monday, Sept. 18, on the college’s Main Campus.

The trustees approved VGCC’s budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 on a recommendation from the Budget Committee of the board, chaired by Trustee Abdul Sm Rasheed.

On the Current Expense side of the budget, $19,552,255 comes from the State of North Carolina, $2,578,292 from the four counties served by the college, and $9,652,832 from institutional funds. In the Capital Outlay budget, $35,649 comes from the State, $502,442 from the counties, and $2,619 from institutional funds.

At the county level, Vance County is contributing $1,151,597 to the current operating funds; Granville, $752,184; Franklin, $369,168; and Warren, $225,625, with an additional $79,718 coming from institutional funds. Among capital improvement funds from the counties, Vance is contributing $41,220; Granville, $28,740; Franklin, $20,000; and Warren, $6,000. The county capital improvement funds also include one-time funding of $304,831 and a Main Campus fund balance of $101,651.

The 2017-2018 budget is allocated as follows: institutional support: $5,195,362; curriculum instruction: $10,001,433; continuing education: $2,690,176; academic support: $1,299,114; student support: $2,074,683; plant operations and maintenance: $2,015,066; proprietary/other: $2,499,903; student aid: $5,215,433; capital outlay, excluding capital improvements: $792,209; and capital improvement projects: $540,710.

Among institutional budget highlights, Steve Graham, VGCC’s vice president of finance and operations, noted that 47 VanGuarantee Scholarships were awarded in the total amount of $50,514 to qualified students during the 2016-2017 academic year, with a similar amount budgeted for the new year. The VanGuarantee program was made possible by a bequest from the estate of Wilbert Edwards of Oxford, with the aim of ensuring that every student residing in Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren counties, who wants to earn a college degree, will be able to do so. This scholarship program guarantees that student financial need, that is unmet by federal financial aid and other support, will be covered.

In other action:

  • The board’s Building Committee noted that the roof replacement project for Building 6 on Main Campus has been completed, and repairs to the parking lots at South Campus are done. The committee is preparing for future projects, including exterior masonry repairs and renovations and the replacement of heating and air systems and fire alarm systems at the Main Campus, and renovation of the Welding Technology lab at Franklin Campus, among various other capital needs.
  • The Curriculum Committee, chaired by Trustee Barbara Cates Harris, presented new appointments to the Advisory Committees for college programs for the 2017-2018 academic year.
  • Trustee L. Opie Frazier, Jr., chair of the board’s Investment Committee, reported the college’s investments have grown by 7 percent since the beginning of the calendar year.
  • Trustee Sara Wester, chair of the board’s Personnel Committee, provided an informational report on new employees, retirements, resignations and changes in positions.
  • In her report to the board, Dr. Stelfanie Williams, VGCC’s president, highlighted recent accomplishments and opportunities at the college.

Presiding over the meeting was Board of Trustees Chair Danny Wright.

The Board of Trustees will hold its next regular meeting on Nov. 20 at the Main Campus.

VGCC announces free Small Business Summit with holiday focus

The Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center has scheduled its sixth annual Small Business Summit for Tuesday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., at the Lake Gaston Lions Club in Henrico. Entitled “Making the Holidays Pay Off,” the free event is designed to help local businesses plan ahead for the upcoming holiday season with innovative marketing practices.

CenturyLink is the presenting sponsor for the event. Local partners helping VGCC to organize the summit are the Chamber of Commerce of Warren County, the Warren County Economic Development Commission and the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center.

Business representatives and interested members of the community are invited to attend. Registration is now open at tinyurl.com/holiday-summit.

The day starts off with registration and networking with attendees and vendors at 8 a.m. The first hour-long seminar will be “Shop Local — Buy Local — Invest Local to Gain More Business for You and Your Area” at 8:30 a.m. Presenter Martin Brossman will help participants get the most out of a “Shop Local” program, including the use of social media.

“Holiday Event Planning for the Small Business Owner” follows at 9:45 a.m. with Lisa Gingue of Vino Oasi in Stem. Gingue will discuss planning events that attract holiday shoppers.

At 11 a.m., Brossman will present “Take Photos like a Pro to Get More Business with Your Social Media.” This session covers the basics of low-cost photography techniques to attract more customers with social media and web marketing.

The keynote presentation, from noon until 1 p.m., will be “Get Social! Grow Your Business!” with Kristen Baughman and Stacey Price Sprenz, both of Raleigh-based Tabletop Media Group. Baughman, the founder of the agency, and Sprenz, a photographer, will teach attendees how to take their social media to the next level using photos and videos. They will offer a few tips and tricks on how to promote participants’ businesses and unique holiday offerings to media outlets and social influencers in their community. Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries.

Lunch will be provided free of charge to the first 100 registered participants by CenturyLink. For more information, contact VGCC Small Business Center Director Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or [email protected].

–VGCC–

VGCC instructor graduates from leadership program

Dr. Kambiz Tahmaseb, a Biology and Chemistry instructor at Vance-Granville Community College, recently graduated from the North Carolina Community College Leadership Program (NCCCLP). He is one of approximately 35 community college faculty and staff members from across the state who completed the program this year.

The six-month leadership program, which includes face-to-face instruction at various locations, provides preparation and training to develop future community college leaders. The program is highly experiential in nature, and, this year, participants worked in teams to address challenges at hypothetical community colleges. They became involved in every aspect of those colleges, from naming and branding to strategic planning.

In addition to strengthening their leadership skills, NCCCLP participants learn about the structure and governance of the community college system, enjoy opportunities for networking, and form a diverse pool of qualified educational leaders.

“The major lesson I learned from the program is that leadership is not about being the president of a college, or a company or a nation,” Dr. Tahmaseb said. “Leadership happens in every level of our lives. In the NCCCLP, I learned a lot about myself, and how I interact with others, both in my private life and professional life, and how those interactions affect how I may influence those individuals. The lessons I learned will help me as a husband, father, teacher and colleague.”

A resident of Durham, Tahmaseb earned bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry at Willamette University in Oregon and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science at Wright State University in Ohio. He was also a postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tahmaseb joined the VGCC faculty in 2012 and has taught both face-to-face and online science courses, spending most of his time at the college’s South Campus near Creedmoor. He is also currently serving his second term as the elected vice president of external affairs for the North Carolina Community College Faculty Association.

The North Carolina Community College Leadership Program was created in 1989, under the auspices of the state chapter of the American Association for Women in Community Colleges, to provide an interdisciplinary approach to leadership training through professional development. Graduates have used the skills and connections gained from the program to be more successful leaders in all areas and at all levels in the North Carolina Community College System.

–VGCC–

VGCC to hold Bone Marrow registration events

Vance-Granville Community College, in partnership with the Project Life Movement, is planning a three-day, three-campus bone marrow registration drive in October.

Members of the community are invited to join VGCC students, faculty and staff at one of the events being held on three of the college’s campuses: Tuesday, October 3, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the seminar room (G1131) on South Campus, located between Creedmoor and Butner; Wednesday, October 4, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the student center/lounge in Building 2 on Main Campus in Vance County; and Thursday, October 5, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the multi-purpose room on the Franklin County Campus near Louisburg. 

At each event, participants will have their cheek swabbed to provide DNA that will enter a growing bone marrow donor registry. The painless registration process takes only a few minutes, but could save a life if a participant turns out to be a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant. Such treatments are the only hope for many people diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, sickle cell anemia and other blood cancers and diseases. Around 60 percent of those in need of a donation currently cannot find a donor match, according to Project Life, a national movement that started with students at Davidson College and has spread to more than 25 other schools. VGCC first held a college-wide bone marrow registration event with Project Life in the fall of 2015.

Participants must be between the ages of 18 and 60 and in good health to be on the bone marrow registry.

Taking the lead on this initiative at VGCC are students in the Radiography program.

For more information, contact Radiography Clinical Coordinator/instructor Stacey Soles at (252) 738-3515 or [email protected], or Ann Henegar at (704) 299-6310 or www.projectlifemovement.org.

Anyone who is unable to attend one of the VGCC events but wants to join the bone marrow registry can find more information at www.deletebloodcancer.org.

–VGCC–

VGCC invites community to Manufacturing Day

Vance-Granville Community College will hold a “Manufacturing Day” celebration on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., in the Civic Center on the college’s Main Campus in Vance County. Job seekers and students are invited to attend and to learn more about manufacturing and related careers.

Local manufacturers and equipment vendors will provide demonstrations and information highlighting their products and their employment opportunities. Attendees will learn about career options in the region’s industries and the technical skills required to succeed in such careers.

Participants are set to include Altec of Creedmoor, Boise Cascade of Roxboro, Glen Raven of Norlina, Mars Petcare of Henderson, CertainTeed of Oxford and Carolina Sunrock of Butner, among others.

Representatives of VGCC technical programs, including those that provide education and training related to advanced manufacturing, will also be on hand. These include curriculum programs in Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Automotive Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology, Mechatronics Engineering Technology and Welding Technology. VGCC’s Admissions and Financial Aid departments will also have representatives there. Attendees will also be able to learn about the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP), a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at a community college and paid, on-the-job training at a participating employer.

Event organizers hope to develop a pipeline of highly trained and skilled employees. “VGCC and industry partners are working together to address the skills gap, connect with future generations, and educate them about the outstanding opportunities that manufacturing careers can provide,” said Ken Wilson, project manager for the TechHire grant at VGCC, which supports advanced manufacturing training and information technology training.

The VGCC event is one of many across the country celebrating National Manufacturing Day (also known as “MFG Day”). The annual observance was established by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

For more information, contact VGCC Academic & Career Coach Tiffani Polk at [email protected] or (252) 738-3291.

Five VGCC Students Participate in Signing Ceremony for Apprenticeship Program

Five students from Vance-Granville Community College were among a dozen who committed to participate in the North Carolina Triangle Apprenticeship Program (NCTAP) at a signing ceremony in Wake Forest on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The students are now apprentices with eight industries in Granville, Franklin and Wake counties as they finish high school and earn their associate’s degrees at either VGCC or Wake Technical Community College. VGCC students Baylor Chapple and Sebastian Hughes, both of Louisburg, will be working at CaptiveAire in Youngsville, Xavier Durham of Warrenton with Dill Air Controls Products LLC in Oxford, and Zach Willey of Raleigh and Micah Peters of Youngsville with Revlon Inc. of Oxford.

Working through Wake Tech, the signees and the other companies were: Spencer Downing, Accu-Fab Inc. of Raleigh; Ben Elkins and Rhett Keaton, Bühler Aeroglide Corp. of Cary; Daniel Benson, Schmalz Inc. of Raleigh; Brennan Burns and Reily Rhoades, Schunk Intec Inc. of Morrisville; and Nathaniel “Nate” Corl, Superior Tooling of Wake Forest.

Parents of the apprentices and employers from the participating industries joined the students on stage for the signing ceremony as each made a commitment to follow the program. 

“We are grateful to NCTAP for providing the leadership to foster the collaboration between public and private partners that makes this effort successful,” VGCC President Dr. Stelfanie Williams shared with the students, their parents, industry representatives and guests at the dinner and ceremony in the Wake Forest Renaissance Center.

“Apprenticeship is a proven strategy to close the skills gap and meet the workforce needs of industries while at the same time making education more affordable for promising young students,” Dr. Williams added. “To our apprentices, the benefits of this wonderful program are nothing short of life-changing, and that’s why we are so excited to be an educational partner for NCTAP.”

“To our new apprentices, I want to extend congratulations and a warm Vanguard welcome, on behalf of Vance-Granville,” Dr. Williams added. “You are truly ‘Vanguards,’ because you are leaders and pioneers, and you will lead the way for many more apprentices in the future. You will also develop into leaders for your industries.”

NCTAP is a partnership that seeks to provide new opportunities for local students and to prepare a skilled workforce. Typically starting in the junior year of high school, NCTAP is a four-year program that leads to a student obtaining an associate degree at the community college and paid, on-the-job training at the participating employer. Eligible students’ tuition is covered by a waiver from the state of North Carolina. After they graduate from high school, students in the program will be employed full-time by the company.

“Apprenticeships are not exactly what people think they are,” said Marc Bertoncino of Bühler Aeroglide, chairman of NCTAP and master of ceremonies for the event. “This is a very beneficial program for the companies. This is a very beneficial program for young people starting their careers.”

Dr. Stephen Scott, president of Wake Tech, cited the importance of apprenticeships, internships and cooperative education in “bridging the skills gap,” adding, “Parents, we want to tell you that your kids are going to have a job for the next couple of years. They are going to graduate from either Wake Tech or Vance-Granville Community College. And they will have a good paying job and zero debt when they come out (of college). They will have the opportunity to further their education even beyond where this program takes them. So that is a win-win for everyone in this room.”

Bertoncino praised N.C. Sen. Chad Barefoot, R-Wake, for his help in getting legislation changed to boost the apprenticeship program. Whereas companies previously had to pay the state to have an apprentice, Barefoot helped enact legislation that now has the state providing reimbursement for tuition.

“There are apprenticeship programs across the state of North Carolina, but this particular group (NCTAP) has played a really important part in where apprenticeships are today,” Barefoot said. “This continued growth and expansion reaching into new communities will ensure that NCTAP remains the model apprenticeship program for the State of North Carolina.” He added, “Apprenticeships are the key to a successful future for the manufacturing industry of our state.”

Also speaking were Kathryn Castelloes, apprenticeship director for the N.C. Department of Commerce, and Wake Forest Mayor Vivian Jones. Robbie Earnhardt, owner of Wake Forest-based Superior Tooling and former chairman of the apprenticeship program, was recognized by Bertoncino for his vision, leadership and passion in guiding and promoting NCTAP. In attendance also were representatives of the offices of U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC.

Representing VGCC’s NCTAP participating industries were Chris Clough and Cindy Walsh of CaptiveAire, Stephen Tsotsoros and Vanessia Alvarado of Dill Air Controls, Sean Anderson and Pat McKinney of Revlon, and Shaler Chewning of Glen Raven in Norlina. The latest industry to join NCTAP, Glen Raven will be taking its first interns in the coming year. Also present from the VGCC TechHire program were Ken Wilson, project manager, and Tiffani Polk, academic and career coach.

All schools participating in NCTAP can send students to the educational partner institution that best meets the needs of the industrial partner, Wilson said.

VGCC scholarship endowed by family in memory of parents

A new Vance-Granville Community College scholarship has been endowed in memory of Robert and Elizabeth Williford by their children. The Willifords were well-known as the longtime owners and operators of the Oxford Ace Hardware store. Their four children, Elizabeth Dale Williford of Indian Beach/Salter Path, Rob Williford II of Oxford, Dot Williford Wilson of Chapel Hill and John Williford of Oxford, along with Rob’s wife, Lori, and John’s wife, Teresa, recently gathered at VGCC to celebrate the creation of the new scholarship.

The Robert T. “Buster” and Elizabeth Brent Williford Memorial Scholarship will be awarded at the Presidential Merit Award level. In awarding the new scholarship, preference will be given to students from Granville County and to those who are enrolled in VGCC’s Accounting and Business Administration programs.

Buster Williford died in 2011, and his wife, also known as “Betty B,” in 2013. Both were Granville County natives and members of Oxford United Methodist Church.

The Williford children remembered their father as intelligent and “self-taught,” but lacking much formal education. “Daddy didn’t go to college,” Rob Williford said. “Education was important to him, in part because of his lack of it. He always told his children to get an education because it’s something nobody can take away from you.” Dale Williford likewise recalled that her father always instructed his children and grandchildren, “Think, think, think.” After rising to become vice president of McCracken Oil in Henderson, Williford went into a new business venture by purchasing the Oxford Ace Hardware store from a neighbor in 1974. John and Rob Williford bought the store from their parents in 2001. The business is a longtime supporter of the VGCC Endowment Fund Golf Tournament and is the oldest continuously-operating Ace Hardware store in North Carolina.

“Betty B,” born Elizabeth Brent Mayes, attended Greensboro College for one year. She became her husband’s constant companion in life and in business, as the co-owner of the store and creator of its “Bridal and Gift Shoppe” section. Her children recalled that she was an excellent bookkeeper and that their parents formed “a great team.” “They worked hard, but they put family first,” said Dot Williford. “Momma supported and worked closely with Daddy. She was always right there beside him.”

“I think that our parents would be proud of us for helping people to further their education,” Rob Williford added.

“We are thankful to the Williford family for supporting VGCC students through this scholarship that honors the legacy of a remarkable couple who were active in the community while raising four children and growing a landmark local business,” said Dr. Stelfanie Williams, president of VGCC. “The scholarship will help students for years to come who are gaining the education they need to achieve success in business.”

Through the Endowment Fund, VGCC has awarded more than 8,800 scholarships to students since 1982. Scholarships have been endowed by numerous individuals, industries, businesses, civic groups, churches and the college’s faculty and staff. Tax-deductible donations to the VGCC Endowment Fund have often been used to honor or remember a person, group, business or industry with a lasting gift to education. For more information about the Endowment Fund, call (252) 738-3409.

–VGCC–