RALEIGH – The NC Community College System’s new president likes to use two words to describe community colleges’ role in North Carolina’s future: critical and essential.
“When I think about North Carolina’s future, we know we’ve got to expand the number of North Carolinians with education beyond high school. Community colleges are critical to achieving that goal,” Peter Hans, who was named May 1 to head the system, says in the accompanying video.
“We know we’ve got to close the skills gap for employers, providing our citizens with the talents and the skills that they need to be successful at work. Community colleges are critical to that,” Hans says.
“We know we’ve got to bridge the rural-urban divide in our state. Community colleges are the best avenue to move with agility on that question.
“And of course we know that the very nature of work is going to change in the coming years. Community colleges are going to be essential – essential– to training and retraining and providing skills for workers and citizens for decades to come.”
Hans notes that studies suggest at least 60% of North Carolinians need to have education beyond high school to fill the jobs of the future – yet the state is currently in the low-40% range.
“Community colleges are absolutely essential to reaching those goals,” he says. “If North Carolina’s going to succeed, we’ve got to support the community colleges.”