Regional representatives of U.S. Senator Ted Budd and U.S. Senator Thom Tillis visited and toured Southeastern Community College on Sept. 25. The tour included a walkthrough of the workforce training mobile lab, the mobile welding lab, the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, the cosmetology department’s salon, the masonry classroom, the nursing simulation lab and the chemistry lab.
“Super impressed with all the great things going on at Southeastern Community College,” said Adam Caldwell of Tillis’ office. “We’re so blessed in North Carolina to have such a strong community college system. So, anytime we can highlight what’s going on at Southeastern, we’re happy to do that.”
Caldwell explained that Senator Tillis is in full support of community colleges like SCC to meet workforce and student educational needs. Caldwell said his favorite part of the tour was the nursing Simulation lab.
Representing 22 counties in N.C., Sam Shumate of Budd’s office said he enjoyed the opportunity to visit SCC. He was impressed with the diversity of programs on campus and the direct partnerships with high schools and local businesses such as Columbus Regional Healthcare System to help address the top workforce-related needs in the community.
“I really liked the mobile welding unit and the access that local high schools in Columbus County have to that,” Shumate said. “It’s always great to see institutions of high education taking what they offer directly to the high schools and just the innovative ways they’re able to do that.”
SCC President Dr. Chris English emphasized the importance of having senators engaged with the college. He said that having the regional directors on campus to see “the work that we’re doing” is important to the college’s success. English explained that both senators will “continue in their efforts increasing access to the high-demand, high-skill, and high-wage career pathways.”
“Senator Tillis’ and Senator Budd’s office have truly been interested in Southeastern Community College and what we’re doing for workforce development,” English said. “I’ve been a strong advocate for a long time to promote Pell funding for short-term workforce training classes, and we’re very fortunate that Senator Budd and Senator Tillis are supporting that bill. It seems like that there’s a lot of support there on the national level.”
SCC Executive Vice President Dr. Sylvia Cox said that community colleges are best equipped to be nimble and address workforce needs.
“That support we get from our legislative body to continue that work is critical,” Cox said. “So, having the opportunity to show them how we’re training students and educating them on a one-on-one basis is so important.”
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