The NC State College of Education has received a grant totaling $10,863,040 from the John M. Belk Endowment to significantly enhance the support the college provides to community colleges in North Carolina, specifically by developing a pipeline of talented community college leaders who align training programs with labor market demands and improve post-secondary student outcomes. The John M. Belk Endowment’s generous support will also enable the NC State College of Education to launch the Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research.

The grant is the largest ever made to the NC State College of Education since records have been kept and ranks among the Top 20 made to the university since 2010.

“This generous grant from the John M. Belk Endowment is a tremendous investment in NC State University, our state’s community colleges, and the long-term economic vitality of North Carolina,” said NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson. “Partnering with the NC State College of Education, the Belk Endowment’s support will ensure the ongoing preparation of strong community college leaders who are able to effectively address evolving labor markets and meet the state’s future workforce needs.”

“North Carolina’s community colleges are the economic engines of our state, and they play a critical role in fostering economic growth and training skilled workers to meet our state’s evolving workforce demands. We believe that investing in the current and future leadership of these institutions is key to their continued success,” said MC Belk Pilon, Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment. “Because of the NC State College of Education’s track record of designing highly impactful programs and preparing highly qualified leaders that meet North Carolina’s needs, we at the John M. Belk Endowment are confident they will leverage the resources the grant provides to prepare outstanding community college leaders and offer continued support to the state’s community colleges.”

Over the next decade, North Carolina is expected to add over a half-million jobs, with most of those in occupations requiring training or education beyond high school but not necessarily a four-year degree, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce’s employment projections. With these changing economic conditions, the skills North Carolina’s community college presidents need have evolved. Today’s community college leaders, for example, must ensure access for students, particularly nontraditional and underrepresented students, as well as find better ways to ensure program completion and strong postgraduate outcomes.

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Originally published June 4, 2018.