Wilkes Community College, John M. Belk Endowment, and myFutureNC are working together to better address the needs of local employers and adult students. Dr. Jeff Cox, President of Wilkes Community College, called on adults across the region today to quickly reconnect with the college as a first step to gaining the skills they need to secure the jobs they want.

“After a couple of years with challenges like no other, we know many adults are reexamining their work situations and area employers are searching for skilled talent,” said Dr. Cox. “That’s why we are making an extra push this summer and fall to connect adults to a variety of fast, flexible, and affordable programs at Wilkes Community College which can directly lead to open jobs in our communities.”

“From business administration to nursing, from information technologies to welding and construction, and many more, our courses offer a direct pipeline to many of our region’s top employers,” said Dr. Cox. “We hope everyone will visit wilkescc.edu, or attend one of our special upcoming events to quickly connect with us and explore all of the opportunities we offer that can lead to better skills, a better job, a bigger paycheck, and an even brighter future.”

The Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Future. campaign announced today is part of a project first launched in 2021 with five North Carolina community colleges to proactively reach out to and attract more adults back to college. The effort is expanding to five additional colleges in 2022, the second year of the initiative. Funded by the John M. Belk Endowment, other key partners in the initiative include myFutureNC, the North Carolina Community College System, the Belk Center for Community College Research and Leadership at North Carolina State University, and many others.

The campaign will include direct outreach and support to reconnect with adults in the area who previously earned some college credits but left without completing a degree or certification; special events and presentations on campus and in the community to showcase the college’s many programs and opportunities and a robust digital marketing and advertising campaign designed to reach and connect with more adult learners.

“The John M. Belk Endowment is pleased to partner with Wilkes Community College and these outstanding community college leaders to catalyze and supercharge their efforts to recruit and support adult students,” said MC Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment.

“We know that many North Carolinians are looking for new challenges or a fresh start, and we believe our community colleges are a great place for their journey to begin. Our goal is for all residents of our state to have access to an education that will lead to skills, credentials, and degrees, and ultimately the opportunities to achieve their dreams and to help meet the workforce needs across our state.”

“At myFutureNC, we are dedicated to ensuring that 2 million North Carolinians between the ages of 25-44 have a high-quality credential or a postsecondary degree by the year 2030. The vast majority of higher-wage jobs today require more than a high school diploma, but that is something that less than half of North Carolinians in this age range currently have,” said Cecilia Holden, President and CEO of myFutureNC. “Better skills lead to better jobs and to a stronger and more economically vibrant North Carolina. We are very pleased to be partnering on this important initiative.”

The John M. Belk Endowment is a private family foundation committed to transforming postsecondary educational opportunities to meet North Carolina’s evolving workforce needs. Its mission is aligned with the vision of its founder, the late John M. Belk, who served four terms as mayor of Charlotte and was CEO of the department store company Belk, Inc. Now led by Mr. Belk’s daughter, MC Belk Pilon, the John M. Belk Endowment continues to partner with innovative, results-oriented programs in North Carolina to further Mr. Belk’s values, legacy, and focus on the value of education as a means to personal fulfillment and community vitality. For more information, please visit jmbendowment.org.

myFutureNC is a statewide nonprofit focused on educational attainment that includes some of North Carolina’s most influential education, business, and civic leaders. The organization was formed with the goal to create a stronger, more competitive North Carolina. myFutureNC is working across sectors and in communities throughout the state to close gaps in the education pathway, to promote alignment between educational programming and business/industry needs, and to ultimately improve educational opportunities for all North Carolinians. For more information, please visit myfuturenc.org.