PCC Focused on Carrying Positive Enrollment Momentum into Fall Semester

Three students smile as they stand in front of the William Fulford Building during the fall semester.

WINTERVILLE—As he prepares to step down after 15 years as president of Pitt Community College, Dr. G. Dennis Massey is certain there’s one statement he hopes to never hear again.

During a reception on campus to give faculty and staff a chance to wish him well on his retirement, Massey made the following observation: “I don’t want to hear one more time that Pitt Community College is the best-kept secret in this area.”

Though he smiled after making the statement, his message was clear: PCC has grown exponentially in terms of facilities, programs and students since its start in 1961 and is fulfilling its commitment to helping Pitt County build a skilled workforce.

With Dr. Lawrence Rouse set to become only the fifth president in PCC’s 57-year history on Aug. 1 and fall semester scheduled to begin Aug. 16, PCC employees will spend the next month or so doing their best to ensure the community is aware of the college’s educational programs and services and the benefits of higher education.

According to Massey, PCC administrators met this month to discuss ways to build upon the positive enrollment momentum the college is experiencing this summer. One strategy that emerged from the meeting was “Increase the Reach,” a campus-wide campaign to encourage continuing and prospective students to sign up for fall classes.

In addition to traditional marketing, PCC Vice President of Student Development Services Johnny Smith says “Increase the Reach” will feature PCC employees personally contacting students by telephone and through other means of correspondence.

“There’s a place for everyone here at Pitt Community College,” Smith said. “We’ve got great faculty and staff, class sizes that are conducive to interaction between faculty and students, and we offer more than 50 different clubs and organizations for students to develop personally and professionally outside of the traditional classroom setting.”

Smith said that, as strange as it may sound, initiatives like “Increase the Reach” become more important as the job market improves. People go to work, he said, making the goal of increasing college enrollment more challenging.

“People finding employment is exactly what we want to see happen, but we also want those who do find jobs to realize that there are still great learning opportunities for them at PCC,” Smith said. “There are degrees, diplomas and certificates that individuals can complete at Pitt to improve their chances of promotion at their current places of work or perhaps even find new employment that is a better fit for their skillset and interests.”

Sara Singleton, PCC Director of Off-Campus Programs & Evening/Weekend College, says a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce reveals the financial significance of a college education.

The report, she says, shows that over the course of a lifetime, individuals with associate degrees earn more than $400,000 more than individuals who only have high school diplomas. She said the earnings gap doubles when associate degree holders are compared to those without high school diplomas.

“What that means is even if you already have a job, coming to college and completing your associate degree pays off in the long run by increasing your take home income,” Singleton said. “And if you don’t have a high school diploma, it’s even more important to come back to school and start that process now, so that you can improve your lifelong earnings.”

Understanding that working adults have many obligations to balance, Singleton says PCC designed a number of learning opportunities especially for people with jobs.

“We offer classes that meet at night and on Saturdays, specifically to help working people best manage their multiple responsibilities,” she said. “We also offer one-stop admissions events on one Saturday each month, so that adult learners can complete multiple admissions steps in a single visit to campus.”

Singleton noted that PCC offers a variety of online courses and several program options that can be fully completed by taking classes at night and on the weekend, including associate degrees in business administration, criminal justice and university transfer, a diploma in Dental Office Administration, and a certificate in Business Supervision.

“The Business Supervisor Certificate is a great option for individuals who are currently working but want to be considered for supervisory positions,” Singleton said. “Local employers say many of their current supervisors will be retiring within the next 10 years and that will create opportunities for people with the right training to be promoted into those positions.”

Singleton also mentioned the many educational opportunities PCC offers through its Continuing Education Division that are particularly beneficial to people who are already working but still want to enhance their current skills or learn new ones. She said the list includes short-term certifications, training that leads to licensure in a job field, and add-on certifications that boost an individual’s earnings potential within their current field of employment.

Students planning to attend PCC this fall are urged to complete an admission application and sign up for New Student Orientation as soon as possible. Several orientation sessions will take place in July, and the next Adult One-Stop registration event is scheduled for July 14 at 8 a.m.