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Secretary Carey visits HCC on “Education Works” Tour


In support of Gov. Bev Perdue’s education budget, North Carolina Administration Secretary Moses Carey Jr. visited Halifax Community College (HCC) May 18 as part of a week-long “Education Works” Tour. While on campus, he talked about the importance of education in the economic recovery.


“We need to make sure that education continues to work…We want to make sure that we don’t turn the clock back by cutting the budget to the extent that we have to deny the opportunity for the same experiences that some of us have had over the years for the young people in this room in the Early College,” said Carey. In addition, Carey talked about investments in education and how those have attracted businesses to the state.


“People may think that we do not pay attention to the community and state issues that are going on, but we do,” stated Roanoke Valley Early College (RVEC) student speaker Charell Vincent. “We are the future of economic development and that is why it is so essential for us to remain on this path of education in the Roanoke Valley Early College. By investing in education now you are helping everyone in the future.”


Halifax County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Cathy Scott emphasized what an asset HCC is to the community. “Jobs are most important for our future and by working together, we can make sure that we do all the things so that industry knows they will have the workforce for the future,” said Scott.


The secretary then took questions and comments from the audience. Of those, Halifax County Commissioner James Pierce expressed that the county has a 12 percent plus unemployment rate.


“There are exiting things going on in economic development, but without the community college, which is a critical component of our economic development effort, we would fail,” he said. “The community college is very important for the young folks, but in a community like ours where the unemployment is so high, it is very critical, too, to the adults that are retraining and trying to get themselves in shape to find another job.”


“We certainly need an educated workforce,” said Halifax Regional Medical Center CEO Will Mahone who talked about employee turnover and its associated costs. “We understand that educating health care workers is expensive…but it’s life or death. Our patients in our area deserve the same standard of health and standard of treatment as anywhere else in the state.”


Some other comments included: the need for increased numbers of graduates, technology/equipment needs, continued tuition waivers especially for EMS, fire and law enforcement workers, continued tuition waivers for inmates at correctional facilities, and recruitment of technology companies that offer higher wages.


HCC President Dr. Ervin V. Griffin Sr. added that HCC’s enrollment has increased by 28 percent over the last four years. “We help people to be where they need to be,” he said.


Griffin also talked about the possibility of losing lottery monies that provide student scholarships. In the last few years, 217 HCC students received nearly $200,000 in these funds. “The money may not seem like a lot to other places, but for our county and our students, it is very important. We really need that lottery money to go back in for our students.”

  Secretary of Administration Moses Carey Jr.
Secretary of Administration Moses Carey Jr.