Grant funding, stable enrollment key to clean RCC audit

Could be become first NC college designated ATE Resource Center

HAMLET — Richmond Community College is in good financial standing, according to information presented to the RCC Board of Trustees at a meeting Tuesday night.

Casey O’Keefe of LB&A Certified Public Accountants presented a favorable annual audit report to the board for fiscal year 2013-14, followed by updates being given on 2015 spring enrollment and 2014 grant funding.

RCC_50th_logo_horizontalDespite national and state trends of declining enrollment at community colleges, RCC’s student body has remained about the same, reported RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis.

“A lot of that has to do with the efforts of our faculty and staff, who are willing to put in the extra time to build relationships with our students and make sure they stay on the path to earning a college degree and bettering their lives,” said McInnis.

According to figures presented to the board Tuesday night, RCC should see a slight increase from Spring 2014 enrollment numbers once 12-week courses begin Feb. 9. McInnis pointed out registration for those 12-week courses will remain open throughout the week, with additional information available by contacting the college or viewing RCC’s website.

Grant funding

An area lauded by RCC board member Dr. Al Covington and admired by O’Keefe during his audit report was RCC’s ability to secure grant funding, helping to stabilize enrollment and improve services.

The college is in the process of wrapping up seven projects assisted by grant funding, including expansions at the John E. Forte Building, improvements to classroom technology and projects focusing directly on mentoring and workforce development.

The project that received the most attention at Tuesday’s meeting was a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant recently applied for in Advanced Technological Education (ATE) that would greatly impact RCC’s renowned Electric Utility Substation and Relay Technology program.

Grants Coordinator Dr. Cynthia Reeves explained that if RCC is approved for the $200,000 grant in 2015, the college would become eligible for a $500,000 grant paving the way for RCC to become the first college in North Carolina to be recognized as an ATE Resource Center. Reeves said RCC staff is working closely with staff from an ATE Resource Center in South Carolina to apply for the grants.

“This grant is important because it would allow us to create a pipeline from the high schools to our substation program, which is rapidly growing due to industry demands,” said McInnis.

Another public school partnership highlighted Tuesday involved RCC working with Richmond County Schools for a Golden LEAF Foundation grant for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Transformation. The college has also submitted a letter of inquiry for a Golden LEAF grant in Scotland County that would expand the healthcare workforce by converting the Morgan Center into a clinical facility that would allow RCC to expand its Practical Nursing program.

Workforce and Economic Development

Several other new programs were also highlighted Tuesday by RCC’s Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development Robbie Taylor.

The college will begin offering a new online course Monday to train Electronic Health Records specialists and is also offering online Emergency Management Dispatch courses.

The Electronic Health Records course costs $180 and will run from Feb. 9 until May 31. The class prepares students to take a certification exam administered by the National Heathcareer Association, which requires a $105 testing fee.

The first portion of Emergency Management Dispatch courses were held in January, with nearly 1,700 students successfully completing courses that focused on Crisis Negotiation, Protocol, Electrical Hazard and Emotional Survival.

The next portion of classes will begin Feb. 8.

Also new to RCC’s course offerings is Truck Driver Training.

The first two weeks of the class will be spent in the classroom, followed by six weeks behind the wheel. The eight-and-a-half-week program has been approved for veterans’ benefits. Cost of the course is $2,500.

In order to qualify for the class, students must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license with no limiting restrictions. Students must also be able to read and speak English well enough to take instructions from highway signs, converse with officials and complete the required reports.

Upon completion of the course, students will take the final road test for their commercial driver’s license at RCC’s training facility. Students will not have to go to the DMV. The final day of class is scheduled for May 12.

For more information about courses offered through RCC’s Workforce and Economic Development, call Alicia Butler at 910-410-1706, email to or visit

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