RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Triangle community colleges are seeing skyrocketing enrollment numbers for summer sessions as North Carolina’s public schools are finalizing plans for the fall.
“If we are going to recover like we should, it will be because, and through, the community college,” said Dr. David Johnson, President of Johnston Community College.
Johnson and others in higher education said community colleges are seeing a trend of growth after the coronavirus pandemic shortened the spring semester.
“We are seeing a lot of people who have lost jobs, or had reduced job hours, looking for opportunities for training, education, and ways to get back into the workforce,” added Brian Gann, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services at Wake Technical Community College.
The pandemic, according to Johnson, has only underscored the local need in the fields of healthcare, pharmaceuticals, information technology, and supply chain management.
“Actually they’ve got more openings than they can find recruits for,” he said.
As the economy continues to rebound, so does the demand for skilled laborers who know their way around an HVAC, welder, and engineering technology.
“After two years of experience, you can make over $100,000 driving a truck,” Johnson said.
Funding is a looming threat to derail programs all around North Carolina just as things begin to get back on track.
“We’re very concerned about funding next year because of COVID,” Johnson said. “The state is looking at about a $4 billion shortfall.”
“I don’t think it stops our momentum,” Gann added. “We just have to be ready to meet the need as it arises, and we will be.”
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