Established on July 1, 1970, Person Technical Institute (PTI) offered the first opportunity for higher education in Roxboro and Person County. Today, now Piedmont Community College (PCC), the institution continues to cultivate a well-trained workforce for local industry while also partnering with K – 12 educational institutions to establish trustworthy programs that offer high-quality learning opportunities at a lower cost.
After operating in various buildings around the city and county in its first years, the College gained overwhelming support of Person County citizens, who passed a $2.5 million bond issue for new college facilities. The permanent campus was constructed on a 178-acre farm off Carver Drive in Roxboro.
The College’s service area expanded to include Caswell County, effective July 1, 1985. The Caswell County Campus opened on 15 acres in 1987.
Several name changes later, PCC captures the hearts of many as they recall how the College has changed their lives, and the lives of those they love.
“Piedmont Community College has been a tremendous blessing for our family,” notes Lona Hargis Lockhart. “From my mother in the early days, through the years, to present, our family has benefited from the presence of the college in so many ways.”
“My mother, Lillian Hargis Hubbard, attended classes for Nurse Aide under the guidance of Mrs. Minnie Ella Montgomery,” shares Lona, “In addition, I attended PCC and received my Associates degree in Executive Secretarial Science, and recently retired from Beulah Baptist Association after 21 years of service.” Lona received scholarship funding from Collins and Aikman “that enabled me to take classes while raising my family.”
Lona’s family also took advantage of the convenient location and reasonable cost of PCC. “My husband Ricky took various industrial classes… my son, Alan, received his accounting degree and my daughter, Leslie received her nursing degree from PCC. My other son Kenny also studied various classes at PCC in the electrical field.”
In addition to her immediate family, Lona revealed that four brothers, a sister, one sister-in-law, and three nieces and nephews also expanded their opportunities from courses taken and degrees earned at PCC.
This example resonates with many, as others can easily share the same positive experiences throughout the years and over the generations.
Over the Years:
With a myriad of classes scattered throughout the county in its early years, Piedmont Community College has grown to offer programs that have changed in a developing economy. With a focus on transfer opportunities as well as programs to better prepare individuals for the workplace, PCC has developed meaningful partnerships with county entities, including economic development and local school systems.
These collaborations have created viable gateways for members of the community, offering a higher education at a more reasonable cost, including programs that are free or offer financial assistance through grants or community supported scholarships, like Lona received.
Available Programs at PCC:
With an open door policy, Piedmont Community College is truly the “communities” college, welcoming all to fulfill their dreams and build greater aspirations for their future.
• Tuition Free Career and College Promise (CCP) Program: High school students have the option to earn tuition-free college credit while still in high school in either Career Technical Education Pathways or College Transfer Pathways, earning credits that will transfer to North Carolina’s public universities and some private institutions.
• Person Early College for Innovation and Leadership (PECIL): In Fall 2016, 50 eager 9th graders arrived at PCC to begin a new adventure as the first students of PECIL. In 2020, this program will host 250 students who will earn a high school diploma and two-year Associate of Science degree – tuition free!
• University Transfer Programs: Students can complete two years of coursework at PCC and transfer these credits towards a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution, enabling PCC graduates to be admitted as juniors based on a statewide agreement to ensure a smooth transfer.
• New Public Safety Administration Program: PCC is the first college in the State of North Carolina to offer Public Safety Administration. With over 30 programs of study, including unique areas such as Digital Effects & Animation Technology, Electrical Power Production Technology, Gunsmithing, Mechatronics Engineering Technology, and Agribusiness Technology, students have a myriad of options.
• Short-Term Training: With hundreds of educational and training opportunities for businesses, industries, and individuals through Continuing Education, PCC is providing a well-trained workforce for local industries – which equates to higher pay for community members.
• Public Safety Training: Working with local agencies, PCC provides training to the Public Safety sector, whether it is for fire fighters, law enforcement officers, EMTs/Paramedics, or nursing professionals.
• Workforce Certification Academy©: Recognized statewide as a model workforce training program, PCC’s Workforce Certification Academy offers industry-recognized manufacturing credentials to successful graduates. In fact, in 2017 Piedmont Community College was ranked as the leader for North Carolina by the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) for the number of manufacturing credentials awarded to students!
• Free Small Business Seminars and Incubator: Located in Uptown Roxboro, PCC’s Business Development and Entrepreneurship Center is a small business hub, where individuals can benefit from the small business incubator, business development services, and free seminars. These features are also available on PCC’s Caswell County Campus.
• Free High School Equivalency Classes: Free classes in literacy education, occupational and pre-baccalaureate training, English as a second language, and classes to prepare for the high school equivalency exam are offered through Adult Basic Skills.
In the Community:
Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to volunteer and participate in community events. Our partnership with the Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness helps us expand these opportunities. In addition, PCC co-sponsors activities at the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex, Caswell Council for the Arts, as well as events like “Jingle on Main”.
To further learning in art and culture, the College engages local school programs and community groups in the annual “Step into the Arts” event and has recently been named a School of Global Distinction by UNC World View.
Providing a much needed service in the community, PCC also operates a 5-Star Child Development Center where the highly qualified and educated staff cares for and educates children ages 2- 5; the program offers an active summer program for school aged children (6-12), as well.
Other partnerships have flourished, benefiting our overall community members. Free classes held in and around the Roxboro Housing Authority, community conversations with the Caswell Chapter of the Health Collaborative, expansion of small business center support with Carolina Small Business Development Fund, guaranteed interviews for successful students with a variety of local industries are just some of the ways we are broadening education in homes and work environments for all community members.
What the Future Holds:
PCC will continue to strengthen programs of study to match the needs of the work-force, ensuring that students are well prepared for their future endeavors. Creating work-based learning for all programs of study, in person and virtual settings, is just one example.
Articulation agreements between PCC and 4-year institutions will be a focus as the cost of education escalates and more people turn to community colleges for their first two years of higher learning.
An emphasis will continue to be placed on economic development, as well. PCC’s Agribusiness Technology program will expand as the Center for Educational and Agricultural Development (CEAD) becomes a reality in Caswell County. In Person County, a focus on manufacturing will persist with plans for an Advanced Technology Center (ATC) that will benefit employment opportunities for citizens at local industries.
As the College celebrate 50 years, it is an extraordinary time to become a Piedmont Community College Pacer, as a student or a champion of higher education in and around Person and Caswell counties!