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RCC’s Kenny Locklear featured in November edition of BusinessNC

As we are emerging from a post-COVID era, meeting workplace challenges and the needs of employees, continue to be at the top of employer’s minds.    

That’s what leaders from across North Carolina met to discuss in October during a roundtable discussion hosted by BusinessNC. The meeting, held in Raleigh, featured Robeson Community College’s very own Assistant Vice President Kenny Locklear.

“COVID-19 changed the world and the way we work,” stated Locklear. “It was an honor to be a part of this roundtable discussion to see what challenges other organizations are facing, to gain ideas of what we can do and to see how we can work together to create solutions.” 

Also serving on the panel were Doug Blizzard, Vice President of Catapult Employers Association; Steve Lawler, the President and CEO of North Carolina Health Care Association; Tony Pustizzi, the owner of Four Star Strategies and North Carolina Partner with Safe Haven Defense, a workplace violence preparedness consulting firm; Jessi Thaller-Moran, a partner and employment law and litigation attorney with Brooks Pierce; and Skip Woody, the area Executive Vice President of Gallagher Global Risk Management.

As far as the number one workplace issue, Locklear said that attrition rates continue to be on the minds of administrators, but that since the pandemic, many lessons have been learned.

“Within our organization, COVID actually has helped retention because we moved from a straight face-to-face world to a remote world very quickly. We saw value in that,” stated Locklear during the discussion. “So a lot of our instructors are now teaching online classes. A lot of the classes that were required face-to-face have changed gears to an online platform.”

Workplace safety reminds a top concern of employers, and that is a sentiment shared by Robeson Community College. Locklear stated the safety of our students and employees remains RCC’s number one priority, but with rising wages, the competition to keep security officers has become difficult.

“Our students have to be safe,” Locklear said. “We’re having to raise our pay, which affects our bottom line. We’re seeing that on college campuses across North Carolina.”

One question asked during the discussion was how community colleges fit into training the next generation of workers.

One panelists, Steve Lawler answered in-part, “We’ve got great community colleges that really are the cornerstone of healthcare, especially in small communities. I’ve run a hospital where my entire nursing staff was community-college trained nurses.” 

“We’re trying to grow as leaders,” Locklear said, also pointing out how RCC’s recruitment efforts start as early as elementary school.

“Ten years ago, that was unheard of,” Locklear said. “We go into the school systems to plant those seeds… we found that we really need to reach them in second or third grade.”

To read the full transcript of the roundtable discussion board, please visit this link: https://issuu.com/businessnc/docs/bnc_nov2023/66

 

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