#CCMonth a Chance to Promote Two-Year Colleges

April 3-6 was "Student Appreciation Week" at Pitt Community College. The celebration included a variety of on-campus activities throughout the week, including food and games on Wednesday as part of "Student Appreciation Day." April is "Community College Month" in America, a time for public two-year colleges to promote their workforce development efforts and dismiss stigmas wrongly associated with community colleges.

WINTERVILLE—It’s April, which means it’s “Community College Month” at Pitt Community College and across the nation, a time when the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) asks Americans to consider the value of a community college education.

#CCMonth, as it is also known, is a coordinated effort by ACCT to highlight the economic, academic and equity advantages of community college attendance while dispelling longtime stigmas wrongly associated with public two-year colleges. Without them, many Americans would have no access to higher education.

“Community College Month is an opportunity for schools, like PCC, to show the communities they serve how they are positively impacting people’s lives by helping them acquire the skills necessary for securing gainful employment,” PCC President Lawrence Rouse said. “Our open-door policy, affordable training and many support services make high-quality higher education accessible to everyone, excluding no one, as the late N.C. Sen. Robert Humber once said.”

Rouse said PCC has been doing its part to develop a skilled workforce in Pitt County and the surrounding region for more than 62 years.

“We’ve listened to local business and industry leaders, school and government officials, economic development strategists and citizens to expand and/or adapt programming and services to meet their training needs,” he said.

In addition to college transfer curricula and short-term workforce development training, Rouse said PCC is a leader in health sciences, business, construction and public safety instruction. The college also offers basic skills courses, English Language Acquisition programming, personal interest courses and summer camps for children.

“When Sen. Humber and other local leaders advocated for development of an industrial education center in Pitt County, they envisioned an institution of higher learning dedicated to preparing a skilled workforce that would strengthen the local economy and improve the community’s quality of life,” Rouse said. “In short, they were hoping for precisely what PCC is today.”

But for all the good community colleges do, many people think of them as inferior institutions, and, in most states, they receive significantly less per-student funding than universities. It’s a combination Rouse says results in ongoing socioeconomic and demographic disadvantages and inequities.

“It’s well past time for everyone to see community college enrollment for the viable option it is,” he said. “We’re not a fallback opportunity for students whose four-year college plans fail to materialize.”