Long Range Plan
2013 - 2018
Approved by Cleveland Community College Planning Council, April 8, 2013.
Table of Contents
The purpose of the Cleveland Community College 2013 – 2018 Long Range Plan is to determine the direction for the College using multiple types of data from which to draw conclusions. As the College shifts towards a data-driven decision making approach, the Long Range Plan provides an opportunity to identify needs for change and develop institutional-level decisions based on evidence. To develop the plan, the College administration, operating via the Planning Council, asked the Director of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness to compile data summaries from various internal and external sources. The data summaries were then presented to the Planning Council where the Director of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness suggested areas of improvement identified after a review of the aggregate data.
The first data source used in the development of the LRP is Isothermal Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report (CEDS), which provides data pertaining to Cleveland, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford counties. The report comes from the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. The CEDS report provided information on population, educational attainment, industry, and occupations.
The second data source included external feedback gathered from program-level Advisory Committee Recommendations. The minutes from the advisory meetings were reviewed and recurring themes emerged. These themes played a major role in prioritizing which areas of improvement to incorporate into the LRP. Themes included significant interest in co-op and internship opportunities and a focus on STEM-related offerings.
The third data source consisted of internal data gathered from various survey instruments. Data reported from Completer Surveys and Non-Completer Surveys indicated students are satisfied with the overall quality of the College. Faculty and staff ranked the College above the national norm base for institutional structure, supervisory relationships, teamwork, student focus, and overall on the PACE Climate Survey (Personal Assessment of College Environment). The CCSSE Survey (Community College Survey of Student Engagement) results indicated the College’s area of lowest student engagement is active and collaborative learning. This particular finding ties directly to the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (incorporating Active Learning Strategies to increase student engagement), and supports the desire to expand co-op and internship opportunities. Program Reviews illustrate the desire of both faculty and students to expand hands-on learning opportunities, STEM offerings, and partnerships with business and industry.
The fourth and final data source is a conglomeration of information gathered from multiple sources, including the North Carolina Workforce Development Commission, Region C Workforce Development State of the Workforce Report and the Region C Planning and Development Commission Long Term Labor Projections Report through 2018. The State of the Workforce Report stressed the importance of short-term credentialing via national/industry recognized certifications as a way of getting people back to work at a faster pace than the traditional two-year degree programs.
Upon reviewing all data sources and giving consideration to suggested areas of improvement, the Planning Council agreed upon four key implications:
- The first key implication is the significant interest among area employers, faculty, and students regarding internships and co-op opportunities.
- The second key implication involves placing a greater emphasis on our STEM-related offerings by increasing our marketing efforts.
- The third key implication centers around creating a STEM Initiative, designed to work closely with business and industry to identify STEM-related skills needed in today’s workforce.
- The fourth and final key implication addresses the importance of offering national/industry recognized certifications to provide short-term credentialing opportunities designed to give students an advantage over others in the job market.
During the spring of 2012, Cleveland Community College’s Planning Council initiated development of a Long Range Plan for 2013-2018. The Planning Council Chair (also Director of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness), was asked by administration to formulate data summaries of all existing internal and external data and gather current regional and local data related to the workforce in the college’s service area. Upon completion, the data summaries were presented to the Planning Council in the fall of 2012, along with the Chair’s recommendations for areas of improvement moving forward. A timeline was created to give structure to the development of the Plan, with a target date for completion of December, 2012.
After compiling the data summaries and regional/local workforce data, the Planning Council reconvened on September 24, 2012 to review and discuss the findings. The Chair presented the information and offered suggestions for possible key implications for inclusion in the Long Range Plan. The Planning Council supported the Chair’s suggestions and agreed with the overall direction proposed.
During October and November of 2012, the Planning Council Chair assembled the key pieces of information, added appropriate narrative, and completed a draft to present to Planning Council during the spring semester of 2013. After presenting the draft to the Planning Council on February 4, 2013, Council members asked that additional data sources be incorporated into the Plan. Data from the Isothermal Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy report was used to fulfill that request, providing more current data projections. The Planning Council reconvened on April 8, 2013. Upon approval of the Planning Council, the Long Range Plan will be presented to the Cleveland Community College Board of Trustees at their May 14, 2013 meeting, after which the Long Range Plan will be added to the College’s website. Faculty and staff will be informed at the next Convocation.
Given the current economic and political climate, it is understood that budgetary constraints will play a significant role in hindering significant program expansion at Cleveland Community College for the foreseeable future. As such, this Long Range Plan focuses primarily on improvement in the following four areas:
- Program Advisory Committees - Emphasis is placed on using feedback to identify areas of improvement as well as developing standard protocol for conducting Advisory meetings to provide a more consistent mechanism for gathering meaningful feedback.
- Further development and enhancement of co-op/internship opportunities for students.
- Nurturing partnerships between CCC and local business and industry to identify industry-specific skills sets which are currently non-existent in the available workforce and incorporating skill-building activities and assignments in appropriate programs to provide those skills to our students.
- Placing greater emphasis on STEM offerings with an energetic marketing effort targeted at both county residents (specifically unemployed/underemployed), and local business and industry.
The Cleveland Community College Long Range Plan utilized service area data projections provided via multiple data sources. This data played a part in determining changes to the demography of our service area through 2020. The data also allowed the College to view how it compares to the rest of the state and the nation.
The North Carolina Community College System defines Cleveland Community College’s service area as Cleveland County. Although the Isothermal Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy report (CEDS) is a regional report, a key data point utilized which was specific to Cleveland County, was population growth. The educational attainment data included herein, however, is regional. The College used other data sources to identify projections for high growth industries and high growth occupations, which are included in subsequent sections of the Plan.
The following information on population growth and educational attainment are excerpts from the CEDS report:
Population Growth – Population projections from the North Carolina State Data Center show that the region’s population growth is projected to slow over the course of the next decade. Between 2000 and 2010, the region’s growth slowed from 1.4% per annum to 0.5% and thus, added only 11,700 net new residents. It is anticipated that growth will continue to slow. According to projections from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc., (EMSI), the region’s growth will fall further to 0.4% per annum from 2010-2010, or only 8,400 new residents.
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Educational Attainment and High School Graduations – Given the dramatic loss of jobs in low skilled occupations, it is certain that workers will need to upgrade their skills and educational levels to compete for jobs in higher skilled industries. Many of the better paying occupations coming to the region demand more technology, computer training and experience than were required by the region's traditional manufacturing industries. Education is a key component in the future economic success of the Isothermal region.
Educational Attainment 2001-2012, Isothermal Region
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Source: EMSI, 2012
Since 2001 there has been significant improvement in the educational levels of the region. As noted above, the percentage of the Population with High School degrees or higher has increased from 74% to 80% in 2012. In addition, the number of people with Associate degrees or higher has increased from 21% to 26% during this same time period. Although the Isothermal region is slightly behind the State and Nation in Educational attainment, the growth in Isothermal’s educational capital has out-paced both the State and the Nation since 2001, as shown in the chart below:
Increase in Educational Attainment, 2001-2012
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Source: EMSI, 2012
To illustrate educational data specific to Cleveland County, the following table was included, as excerpted from the Charlotte, USA website, www.charlotteusa.com:
|Population 25 and Older||65,920|
|High School Diploma||34.0%|
|Graduate or Professional Degree||5.2%|
|2012 SAT Score, County Average||1424|
|2012 SAT Score, State Average||1469|
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Additional data sources were used to ascertain population levels, projected growth for our region, workforce development recommendations, and long term occupational projections. The sources for these data are identified in each of these respective sections.
Population – The 2010 US Census reports Cleveland County as having a population of 98,078. The following charts illustrate various segments of the population:
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STEM Emphasis - The 2011 State of the Workforce Report by the North Carolina Commission on Workforce Development indicates “At least 42 percent, perhaps many more, of the new jobs being created in North Carolina will require at minimum some post-secondary education, many in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—STEM—disciplines.” The information gleaned from this report influenced two of the key implications included in this iteration of CCC’s Long Range Plan.
Long Term Occupational Projections - The Labor Market Information Division of the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina projected the following growing occupations in its Long Term Occupational Projections for 2006-2016:
|Associate Degree Growing Occupations||Annual Openings|
|Computer Support Specialists||758|
|Paralegals and Legal Assistants||402|
|Medical Records & Health Information Technicians||290|
|Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technicians||173|
|Veterinary Technologists & Technicians||167|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||122|
|Civil Engineering Technicians||116|
|Electrical & Electronic Engineering Technicians||102|
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|Vocational Training Growing Occupations||Annual Openings|
|Nursing Aides, Orderlies, & Attendants||6575|
|Preschool Teachers, Except Special Ed||5920|
|Hairdressers, Hairstylists & Cosmetologists||4147|
|Automotive Service Technicians & Mechanics||4102|
|Licensed Practical & Licensed Vocational Nurses||3396|
|Real Estate Sales Agents||2293|
|Emergency Medical Technicians & Paramedics||1712|
|Welders, Cutters, Solderers & Brazers||1678|
|Fitness Trainers & Aerobics Instructors||1489|
|Bus & Truck Mechanics & Diesel Engine Specialists||1210|
|Security & Fire Alarm Systems Installers||484|
|Skin Care Specialists||371|
|Computer, Automated Teller & Office Machine Repairers||323|
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As budgetary constraints have resulted in a “holding pattern” regarding the addition of new programs for the foreseeable future, the College will use this as an opportunity to focus inward in an effort to improve the programs and services already being offered. Data compiled from both internal and external sources will illustrate the College’s intent in this regard in the Summary of Information and Suggestions for Moving Forward section, which follows.
Summary of Information and Suggestions for Moving Forward
Advisory Committee Minutes - There is significant interest among area employers regarding internships and co-op opportunities. This was noted across multiple programs, including Medical Office/Office Administration, Computer Information Technology, Early Childhood Education, Electrical/Electronics, and Automation Engineering Technology. The level of interest expressed provides the College with an opportunity to work with local business and industry to provide real-world, hands-on experience to our students and could lead to employment for them as a result. The College should consider expansion in this area by encouraging committee chairs to propose such arrangements to advisory committee members where applicable. The College should also consider proposing a change to the co-op program at the system level which would make it more attractive to the student and beneficial to the employer.
Advisory Committees – The College should stress the importance of advisory committees. A renewed effort in this area will provide more consistent feedback from external constituents. Currently, some advisory committee chairs are not seeking feedback regarding how to improve our programs, thus defeating the committee’s purpose. This may be due to the fact that they are not aware they need to gather this information or do not know how to elicit this information from committee members. To rectify this, the College should create a protocol for conducting advisory committees that includes a standardized list of information to be provided to the committee, as well as a standardized list of questions to ask which will prompt members to provide feedback and suggestions on how we can improve our programs.
Region C Workforce Development Information – Cleveland County has historically provided a large, low-skilled labor pool that met the needs of employers in a local market heavily comprised of manufacturing-related jobs. Before and during the Great Recession, many of those jobs were either outsourced to countries with cheaper labor costs or restructured and automated in a way that requires a higher skill level than is currently available. Due to the shift towards a knowledge-based economy, many of the low-skilled dislocated workers are struggling to find employment where they can earn salaries comparable to their former levels. This is especially true in rural, micropolitan areas. In effect, employers are looking for workers possessing higher-level skills, who are creative thinkers, are technologically savvy, and are willing to work for pre-recession level wages. Excerpt from State of the North Carolina Workforce, 2011 – 2020 Executive Summary, Item 5:
"At least 42 percent, perhaps many more, of the new jobs being created in North Carolina will require at minimum some post-secondary education, many in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – STEM disciplines. This may represent an underestimate because businesses are increasingly opting to replace lower-skilled workers (lost through attrition and layoffs) with more highly educated or trained employees. An even higher share of new-higher wage jobs will require STEM-related skills, and many of those jobs will require post-secondary education or industry-recognized credentials. In particular, STEM jobs will constitute an increasing share of higher and medium-wage jobs, creating significant barriers to employment for unprepared young and existing workers. For many low-skill workers and students, gaining access to STEM academic training, as well as affording the time and resources to take the training could represent potential insurmountable barriers due to the breadth of the gap between their current skill level and the skill level required for emerging or in-demand jobs."
In order to cultivate a workforce capable of meeting the needs of post-recession employers, the College should consider placing a greater emphasis on STEM courses. Informing College constituents of STEM-related courses/programs could be achieved via marketing. In this context, marketing would not be limited solely to materials the College sends to county residents, but would also include targeted marketing to local business and industry. In addition to targeted marketing, consideration should also be given to creating a STEM initiative where the College would work directly with business leaders to identify specific STEM-related skill needs that are not currently being met. Once skill needs have been identified, the College could tailor specific courses/programming to address and rectify deficiencies, in an effort to provide businesses with qualified applicants. By incorporating a strategy aimed at targeting both county residents and business/industry leaders, the STEM initiative could lead to greater employment opportunities for our service area.
Coupling the STEM initiative with an expanded co-op/internship program focused on partnering with local employers has the potential to pave the way to full-time employment for students while producing a workforce prepared with the necessary skills to meet employer needs. This two-fold approach provides the College with an opportunity to offer the following benefits to our students and the community:
- Gives students hands-on, real world experience in the workplace that could eventually lead to employment.
- Build stronger relationships with local business/industry by working with them to:
- Determine what specific STEM-related skills they seek which are lacking in the current workforce by creating an inventory of desired skills.
- Focus on STEM-related skill building and incorporate activities and assignments into the curricula to help develop the desired skills identified in the skills inventory.
- Develop co-op/internship opportunities, thus giving employers an opportunity to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of our students, putting employers in a better position to give us meaningful feedback on how to improve our programs.
To further perpetuate and expand the STEM Initiative, the College should also focus on Career and College Promise programs offered to area high school students. A concerted effort to incorporate STEM-related courses and skill building activities into the curricula of high school students would better prepare them for the rigors of additional, higher-level college coursework or for entering the workforce at a higher skill level.
BOT adopted May 14, 2013
Friday, July 11, 2014 09:53:30 AM