RCC hosts a Legislative Day Luncheon
Robeson Community College was honored to welcome North Carolina Senator Danny Britt, and North Carolina House Representatives Brendan Jones and Jarrod Lowery, to its campus today.
“This is our first legislative luncheon since COVID and we are excited to share the State of Robeson Community College with you,” said RCC President Melissa Singler as she welcomed the North Carolina legislators and other invited guests to campus. “Without your support and partnership, there would be no Robeson Community College.”
President Singler shared information on enrollment and growth happening at the college during her address.
“During the height of the pandemic, the North Carolina Community College System saw a 14% drop in enrollment in the 2021-2022 school year compared to 2018-2019. RCC’s enrollment jumped 17% during the same time frame,” Singler said. “I attribute this to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, our willingness to think outside the box, and the continued support of our partners both in local and state government and in business and industry.”
Singler also announced that enrollment at RCC continues to grow.
“At present, we are 4% higher than we were during the 2021-2022 school year,” she said.
But Singler told those attending the event that it’s not just about enrollment numbers, but student success.
“We have declared this the year of student success,” Singler said. “We know growth without student success is still failure.”
The college is focusing on student retention, quality instruction and enhancing instruction through on-going training for faculty.
Singler thanked Senator Britt and Representative Jones for “answering the call” in providing funding for a career and technical building on RCC’s campus.
“In order to continue to grow and prosper, our students needed space designed for today’s ever-advancing industry, along with areas to continue to upskill our workforce in the tried-and-true trades,” Singler said. “That building is now in the design phase.”
Although Representative Lowery is newly elected to the House, President Singler reminded everyone that he is no stranger to partnering with RCC.
“Due to his efforts, we were gifted the trucks and trailers that launched our very successful Truck Driver Training program,” Singler stated.
Senator Britt spoke briefly, thanking President Singler for her leadership on helping to make the career and technical building happen.
“I thank all the people who worked with me on it, all of the Board Members, to make it happen,” Britt said. “I want to continue to bring back dollars to Robeson County and Robeson Community College, I’m glad to be a part of the process.”
“I am a community college graduate,” Britt added. “There are a lot of students who will take that path, and if we can get them on that path in 8th and 9th grade, and hold on to them in high school for a little bit longer, then we might get something done on our dropout rate, that’s what’s critical.”
“We recognize the benefit of quality education and the benefit of a quality workforce and what Robeson Community College does to help Robeson County,” said Britt. “It’s not just the college transfer programs, but the technical programs as well.”
President Singler’s efforts were met with praise and appreciation by Jones and Lowery.
“I think we need to give a round of applause to Madame President,” said Representative Jones. “The President does a great job advocating for you guys.”
Representative Lowery echoed those sentiments, saying, “We have an awesome president here. It cannot be overstated how great of an institution this is and the leadership that it has.”
“Economic development starts right here,” said Jones. “Education is the key to economic development.”
“Just look at what’s happening in Robeson County right now, in 10 years it will be unrecognizable,” as he predicted the future growth of the region. “The transformation that this county will see, and the task that the people of this county will have… just imagine what this campus will look like in 10 years.”
Looking over at President Singler he said, “And, I know that you will be here to lead the charge.”
Lowery touched on how critical community colleges are to the future of North Carolina.
“Being able to have a partner at RCC is awesome,” said Lowery. “The company I work for works because of the graduates right here at RCC…that story could be told thousands of times across North Carolina because it’s our community colleges that train people and educate people that truly keeps North Carolina running.”
“So, Madame President, thank you for what you do,” Lowery said with admiration. “Community colleges are critical and I understand how critical they are across the state.”
“It is very critical to making sure that we not only have a workforce today but a workforce tomorrow,” Lowery said. “RCC will be the way to make sure we have that workforce training available, and this delegation will work hard to make sure that you have the funding and the programs that you need.”
President Singler thanked the delegation and guests for their support during her closing remarks.
“We are extremely grateful to Senator Danny Britt, Representative Brenden Jones, and Representative Jarrod Lowery for their continued support of Robeson Community College and the entire Great 58,” Singler said. “We are equally appreciative to every one of you for your continued support and we look forward to working with you, partnering with you, on future initiatives that will keep Robeson County thriving for years to come.”
The event was catered by RCC Culinary students, who created a St. Patrick’s Day menu, complete with salad, sauteed vegetables, roasted potatoes, chicken marsala, beef brisket, rolls, and for dessert, key lime pie.