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Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, North Carolina

At NC3, we’re fortunate to have both secondary and post-secondary schools within our network! These schools are truly dedicated to changing the lives of students in Career and Technical Education. NC3’s School on the Rise is a monthly achievement award granted to schools that have shown consistent growth in issued certifications since joining the NC3 network. We think it’s time to highlight those schools and give them the recognition they so rightfully deserve.

It’s with great pleasure that we announce this month’s NC3 “School on the Rise” recipient, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College!

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, located in Salisbury, North Carolina, has been an NC3 Leadership School since 2016. We were fortunate enough to speak to Tony Bean the Program Chair for Engineering and Engineering Technology, and Carl Smith, the Light Duty Diesel and Automotive Technology Instructor about Rowan-Cabarrus’ successful and diverse CTE programs across the NC3 programs of transportation, advanced manufacturing, and welding.

Rowan-Cabarrus has shown incredible growth and expansion in three different NC3 Certification Programs: FESTO, Lincoln Electric, and Snap-on. 

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is located in an area that occupies a large volume of industrial manufacturing facilities, which require employees with proper credentials. When asked about Rowan-Cabarrus’ goals and strategy for their expansive CTE program Carl Smith stated, “from the automotive and light diesel side, we, the instructors, see this as a great opportunity to give our students additional training and provide that training to the communities that we serve by offering automotive/diesel shops an opportunity to gain additional knowledge for their employees as well. As for other areas, like welding and engineering, we have a lot of these types of jobs in our area, and employers are seeking quality, trained employees.” Tony Bean also added that a lot of the industries in the area call the college asking for continuing education classes and professional development opportunities available for their employees, notably for FESTO manufacturing certifications.

NC3 certifications benefit not only students, but also professionals currently working in the industry as well. There are about 200 industries within a 100-mile radius that use the exact same FESTO equipment that Rowan-Cabarrus uses to teach their students.

The wide range of industry certifications offered isn’t the only thing that makes Rowan-Cabarrus Community College stand out amongst other institutions in its region. Tony noted that he’s particularly proud that each program they offer has a strong advisory board that consists of industry representatives in the region. This ensures that the school’s curriculum is keeping up with current industry standards. Rowan-Cabarrus also takes part in industry internships and work-place learning. Tony Bean stated, “we usually have industry wanting more interns than we’ve got students, and the majority of my students who intern have a job before they even leave school.” 

A common theme amongst successful CTE programs is community support, which Rowan-Cabarrus has an abundance of! 

So, what’s next for this school? Tony Bean remarks on some plans for the future by stating, “We want high school students to be able to earn College and Career Promise Certificates (CCPC) in their junior year, so they can start earning college credits with us their senior year.” Carl Smith added that he also hopes to launch additional certifications and further promote them to more and more repair shops. He’d like to see Rowan-Cabarrus offering certifications to students as part of their training, so they’re ready for work on day one of their jobs. Training completed prior to getting on the job site will not only help this future generation of workers understand the tools, but it will also allow them to complete their jobs correctly the first time. 

We’re honored to have Rowan-Cabarrus Community College within our Network of NC3 Leadership Schools, and we can’t wait to see how much more they’ll grow!

Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in May 2020!

Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985,

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