NCCCS President, team visit PCC's Workforce Certification Academy©

Photo 1: Dr. Scott Ralls, President, NC Community College System, talks with WCA graduate Linda Weaver, center, and WCA coordinator Ann Kirby. Weaver completed the Certified Production Technology (CPT) program in 2012 and is employed at Eaton Corp.

Photo 2: Pictured from left are: Judy Bradsher, Dean, Technical and Occupational Programs, PCC; Shara Bunker, Human Resources Executive, Spuntech Industries; Barbara Boyce, Associate Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Initiatives, NCCCS; and Teretha Bell, Coordinator, Special Projects and WIA, NCCCS. Boyce and Bell reviewed certifications students may earn in PCC’s Certified Production Technology Program.  

Dr. Scott Ralls, President of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) and several members of his leadership team visited Piedmont Community College’s (PCC) Workforce Training Center on Morgan Street last Friday to learn more about PCC’s Workforce Certification Academy© (WCA), a Continuing Education program that is successfully assisting unemployed and underemployed individuals in preparing for and acquiring jobs.

Dr. Ralls said his interest was piqued after he heard WCA leaders Angela Webb, director, Human Resources Development (HRD), and Dr. Doris Carver, Vice President, Continuing Education, present information on the program at a meeting of the North Carolina Rural Center Economic and Workforce Development Board. He brought along his staff to Roxboro to learn more and to see how PCC’s successful model might be implemented across the state.

PCC received a $70,000 Rural Community Mobilization Grant through the NC Rural Center to serve 124 individuals who met the program requirements. The program provides short-term training opportunities that target skill gaps and lead to industry-recognized credentials. That grant has been extended through June 2013.

During its first year, the WCA completed five cycles of Certified Production Technology (CPT), a training program offered through the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC). Of the 43 individuals enrolled in CPT, 30 received their CPT credentials and 33 have found employment to date.

Webb pointed to several factors that she believes differentiate PCC’s program from others. Although PCC’s Human Resources Development staff is tasked with delivering the program, it has combined the services of several of the College’s program areas to meet students’ needs. Secondly, the hiring of an experienced, knowledgeable instructor was critical to the program’s success. Instructor Mike Cobb has 35 years of experience in industry and was certified to teach CPT as well as the WCA’s newest program, Certified Logistics Technician, which began this semester. Thirdly, PCC offers the program’s courses face-to-face in a classroom setting with hands-on demonstrations rather than online. Instructors say this method works best for its students, many of whom have been out of school for many years.

Also critical to its success is its focus on student success with a personal touch. Webb said program staff work with students until they find employment. “Once they are with us, we work with them, even after the program ends, until they find employment,” she said.

Three WCA graduates shared their stories and answered questions for Dr. Ralls. One of the three told how she was close to having to live in her car after losing her job. Since receiving her CPT credential, she has found local employment and earns enough to support herself.

The CPT program includes three components: Orientation to CPT (48 hours); CPT Training (174 hours); and Job Search for CPT (18 hours). The new Certified Logistics Technical (CLT) training began with orientation in December with 26 students. Nineteen of these enrolled in the CLT training course, and 12 have received their CLT and Forklift certifications. Two have already gone to work.

Also presenting to the NCCCS visitors were Dr. Walter Bartlett, PCC President; Dr. Doris Carver, Vice President, Continuing Education; Mike Dossett, Vice President, Instruction and Student Development; Kelly Schelin, Assistant Director, HRD; Ann Kirby, Director, WCA; and Mike Cobb, WCA instructor.

For information on the program, contact Angela Webb at (336) 322-2132 or