GlaxoSmithKline Grant Supports Technical Academy

Dr. Lawrence Rouse smiles as he and Dr. Ethan Lenker sign an agreement to expand the PCC Technical Academy to more students.

WINTERVILLE—The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has awarded Pitt Community College and Pitt County Schools a $25,000-Ribbon of Hope grant in support of the PCC Technical Academy.

Launched as a pilot program last year, the academy offers Pitt County high school students college credits and high-demand workforce credentials simultaneously. The N.C. GlaxoSmithKline funding allows more students from Pitt County’s six public high schools to participate in the academy, which initially served 20 students from Ayden-Grifton and South Central high schools.

“We are so grateful for the generous support of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation,” says Steven Mathews, dean of PCC’s Construction and Industrial Technology Division. “The Ribbon of Hope grant will have a direct impact on local students and their families. This will help us provide them with the skills and training they need to move directly into the workforce.”

Due to significant student interest and the academy’s initial success, PCC President Lawrence Rouse and Pitt County Schools Superintendent Ethan Lenker signed an agreement in April to expand the program at the start of the current semester.

“There are presently 43 students in the PCC Technical Academy, taking courses in programs that are not offered at their respective high schools,” said PCC Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs Lori Preast. “We’re looking forward to adding curricula options in the years ahead and growing the academy further through increased student participation.”

High school juniors and seniors interested in the PCC Technical Academy must apply for program participation. Those selected can take PCC courses in either Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology, Electrical Systems Technology, Computer Integrated Machining or Industrial Systems Technology.

Each area offers training that can quickly lead to employment after graduation in jobs featuring higher-than-average starting wages and potential to support stable, long-term careers.

“This (academy) is a win for Pitt County Schools, Pitt Community College and the community as a whole,” Lenker said. “The additional support from GlaxoSmithKline Foundation will ensure the program’s success, as our students are provided academic and technical skills. As our partnership with PCC continues to grow, the opportunities for our student’s futures will also grow.”