The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 24, 2013

Edgecombe Community College receives national award

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THE DAILY SOUTHERNER

TARBORO — Edgecombe Community College (ECC) received a national award Tuesday night for its efforts to prepare students to be successful in careers and the workplace.

Edgecombe was among four honorees that received national awards in Washington, D.C., during a gala that concluded ACT’s inaugural College and Career Readiness Campaign.

The college received the national Career Preparedness Award.

“We are thrilled beyond words by this singular recognition,” says Dr. Deborah L. Lamm, president of ECC. “For a school like Edgecombe, which serves 13,000 people a year, to receive a national award is a highlight for all of us at the college who work hard every day to prepare students to be work-ready.”

ACT established the College and Career Readiness Campaign to create awareness around the goal of college and career readiness and to recognize exemplary efforts across states in advancing this goal.

“The individuals and organizations we honored this week prove that college and career readiness can be achieved,” says Jon Whitmore, ACT’s chief executive officer. “Our campaign is intended to encourage more people to take up the cause, to support them in their efforts, and to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments.”

According to the ACT organization, “Edgecombe Community College recognizes the struggles facing its students in today’s labor market. Located in a county facing a 16.6 percent unemployment rate, Edgecombe actively combats these difficulties through job fairs, mentoring programs, student assistance funds, and other programs meant to ensure that students are ready to succeed after graduation.

“With campuses in Tarboro and Rocky Mount, Edgecombe Community College led the process for Edgecombe County to be recognized as one of the first Work Ready Communities in North Carolina, and it frequently partners with area companies to ensure that its students graduate with the skills and the recognition needed to be successful in their careers.”

Central to the college’s career preparedness efforts is the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), a job skills assessment system that is utlized by employers nationwide. All ECC students are given the CRC assessment in curriculum program courses. Over the past three years, 70 percent of Edgecombe graduates have earned a Certificate of Career Readiness.

Within the college’s continuing education division, a CRC is required for health occupations programs, such as nurse assistant and phlebotomy, as well as the Back-to-Work program.

The college has awarded more than 3,400 CRCs, equivalent to over 13 percent of the workforce in Edgecombe County.

Selection criteria for the Career Preparedness Award included accessibility of career readiness assessments and career preparation programs; relationships with local employers; student success indicators including graduation and transfer rates to four-year colleges; dedication to career planning; and leadership opportunities for students outside the classroom.