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CoastLine: Community Colleges On The Coast Focus on Vocational Options

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Carteret Community College
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Carteret and Brunswick Community Colleges offer different aquaculture programs.

Community colleges can be an alternative to traditional universities for students. They’re an option for people not interested in 4-year degrees – but who want to learn a trade and get a credential.  While there is a clear shift towards this vocational business model, community college officials with Cape Fear, Brunswick, and Carteret Community Colleges say college transfer students – people who go on to pursue 4-year degrees -- are still more than half of the student body. 

David Brooks recently wrote in a column for The New York Times, “This is still a country in which nearly 20 percent of prime-age American men are not working full time. This is still a country in which only 37 percent of adults expect children to be better off financially than they are. This is still a country in which millions of new jobs are through alternative work arrangements like contracting or consulting — meaning no steady salary, no predictable hours and no security.”

In North Carolina, community colleges are working with local employers to teach specialties.  One example:  Duke Energy wants qualified power line technicians – who also happen to have a commercial driver license.  There is a program for that at Cape Fear Community College.  

North Carolina legislators have allocated $22 million in recurring funds for community colleges because of concerns over “low salaries” and challenges these colleges face with “recruitment and retention”. 

Guests:

Perry Harker, Vice President, Corporate and Community Education, Carteret Community College 

Jim Morton, President, Cape Fear Community College
 
Lois Smith, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Brunswick Community College