CH@T: It’s a new year at Central Carolina Community College. Here’s some insight into what’s on tap.

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Central Carolina Community College is launching a new school year, with fall classes beginning Aug. 15. This week, we speak with CCCC President Dr. Lisa M. Chapman and CCCC Chatham Provost Dr. Mark M. Hall, who share their thoughts about a number of topics.

Dr. Chapman has served as CCCC President since April 1, 2019. Prior to that, she served five years with the North Carolina Community College System in Raleigh as Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer. This is Dr. Chapman’s second stint at CCCC; she previously spent 27 years at CCCC in various positions, including Executive Vice President of Instruction/Chief Academic Officer.

Dr. Hall has served as CCCC Chatham Provost since 2014. He has been at the college since January 2005 and became lead instructor of the Humanities Department in 2008.

What’s happening with enrollment and trends at CCCC?

DR. HALL: Date to date, this fall’s enrollment has increased compared to about the same time as last year. The college is working on assisting students with registering earlier than they typically do to provide smooth semester beginnings, and this effort is reflected in our current enrollment numbers. We will know our official enrollment after the first weeks of the semester.

Based on the current enrollment trend, however, the college anticipates increased numbers of students taking advantage of the great opportunities at CCCC to learn and earn certificates and degrees that lead to family-sustaining employment and to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

While the college as a whole works steadily on letting our communities and potential students know about all the college programs that are available, the college’s student outreach, onboarding, and advising teams’ focused efforts have especially helped students find the best options for them and the best resources to support them.

What are your plans regarding COVID-19 and any changing health protocols?

DR. HALL: The college continues to observe the guidelines and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and its local health departments, and it updates its protocols as needed.

This fall, social distancing restrictions to classrooms have been removed, allowing for additional students to take classes in person. Online options have always been available to our students and will continue to be, but many of our students benefit from in-person classes, which remained in demand during the pandemic. The college is excited about providing additional in-person options for students.

To protect the health of everyone at our sites, the college continues to encourage optional mask wearing and other precautions, like remaining off-campus if experiencing symptoms of any illness.

How’s demand for adult education classes?

DR. CHAPMAN: Our community is experiencing significant economic growth and that means we need to continue developing the talent pipeline — both to meet short-term as well as long-term needs. While we continue to strengthen the alignment of our pathways with our K-12 partners, we are working on engaging with adults who may benefit from additional education and new skills as well as reconnecting with adults who may have stopped out during the pandemic. Our employers need them and these potential students can capitalize on the opportunity of better skills leading to better pay.

What’s new in regards to activity within Chatham County?

DR. HALL: The College’s Small Business Center in Chatham is collaborating with Innovate Carolina to provide programming at 79 Degree West at Mosaic.

The college will auction the Chatham Cottage early this fall, with auction dates to be announced soon.

Chatham K-14 Promise program participation remains strong as its fourth group of students enter the program.

Two additional electric vehicle charging stations have been installed at the Chatham Main Campus in Pittsboro as part of a grant program with Duke Energy.

The state budget includes $38 million for community college funding for industrial-related training for VinFast. How else is the budget addressing, or not addressing, needs at CCCC?

DR. CHAPMAN: We appreciate the raises the General Assembly supported for our community college employees and some special provisions they provided for certain instructional areas, but we still hope to see more substantial salary increases in the near future for our valuable team. We have been behind in pay for several years and now, in addition to that trend, inflation has presented increased challenges for families. We have exceptionally talented employees who are being recruited by industry on a daily basis and we have positions we are still struggling to fill. The bottom line is we need to offer more competitive salaries. CCCC needs our talented employees to continue serving as a first-class opportunity and leading workforce partner.

One of the most exciting workforce training opportunities in which we are engaged is the acquisition of the former Marelli manufacturing site expanding the Lee Main Campus footprint. With an eye on current and future manufacturing and life science industry partners, Lee County purchased the 21.4-acre, 220,000-sq.-ft. site to expand the area’s workforce development opportunities. When renovation is complete, the E. Eugene Moore Advanced Manufacturing and Biotech Solutions Center will be transformed to a one-of-a-kind, world-class education center — the largest facility in the state focused on addressing the workforce needs of advanced manufacturing and biotechnology.

The Moore Center will not only meet existing and critical regional workforce needs, but also will fuel regional economic development by showcasing North Carolina’s ability to attract, train, and retain a high-quality workforce. Renovation will begin very soon, occurring in phases based on available funding. The college greatly appreciates the assistance of Rep. Robert Reives II in facilitating conversations between Lee County and the N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality, and also that of Rep. John Sauls in assisting with securing state funding to support the necessary remediation as the site transitions from an industrial site to an educational center.

What’s new at Chatham’s Health Sciences Center Update?

DR. HALL: The Chatham Health Sciences Center continues to serve the community through medical-related programming, and the latest group of Medical Assisting students just graduated in July.

Programming continues to expand to include biotechnology (BioWork), Basic Law Enforcement Training, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS/EMT). Recently, a replica ambulance was installed in one of the classrooms to provide students with simulated training space.

The college is also pursuing approval to provide Physical Therapist Assistant programming at the site. The potential start date will depend on the timing of approval.

For more information about career and university transfer programs, vsit or call 919-718-7300.


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