From health care workers to electrical linemen, North Carolina has a widespread lack of technical and skilled workers.
Closing the skills gaps is as important to workers and the state as it is industry. The average liberal arts graduate from a four-year institution earns $41,800 a year. The average graduate of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s eight-week truck driving program makes $40,000 to $50,000 annually.
Education is considered the universal salve for societal ills and economic distress. But the sausage-making process, the minutia of what is funded and how, is what distinguishes an education system that puts students at desks from one that puts them in jobs.
In this year’s legislative session, North Carolina’s Community College System will ask lawmakers to fund job-training certificate programs at the same rate that they fund curriculum courses like English and statistics. Currently, community colleges get 34 percent less per student from the state for their short-term certification programs, such as truck driver training and home health aide certificates.