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Brunswick Community College Mobile Enrollment

Editor’s Note: We saw Brunswick Community College’s mobile unit in the 4th of July parade in Southport and wanted to learn more. Being journalists, we waited until close to deadline and submitted a few questions to BCC staff. We hoped we’d get enough to write a nice little article, but what we got was so much more. We thought it would stand on its own as a great Q&A. It was also a great lesson learned about the college itself, and how prepared the college is to meet the needs of our growing county.

Recruiting students for courses, programs, and workforce credentials is a full-time commitment at Brunswick Community College. Connecting with students beyond the College’s traditional walls requires creativity and a commitment to year-round community engagement. As Brunswick County continues to grow, long-time residents and new arrivals deserve the very best community college experience.

With that in mind, BCC has employed the use of the Mobile Certification & Enrollment Vehicle to connect with potential students from all walks of life. This mobile resource is equipped with workforce credential kits like 3M, Snap-On, and Lincoln Electric. Virtual welders, safety supplies, precision measurement, and drop prevention equipment are also readily available for employers that need training. In addition, the vehicle’s Wi-Fi access enables students to enroll in workforce courses anywhere. BCC’s Vice President of Continuing Education, Economic & Workforce Development, Greg Bland, provided some additional insight into BCC’s most recent efforts.

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about enrolling at BCC?

No matter your age, background, or goals - enrolling at BCC will save you a significant amount of money. If you just finished high school, think carefully about your options. I never discourage university enrollment but I caution people to plan carefully. Families need to know that our elected officials have provided the Brunswick Guarantee. This last dollar scholarship is a national model. By choosing BCC and the Brunswick Guarantee, you can save your family $15,000-$30,000. Don’t assume that the university system is your only choice. BCC can help you arrive at your educational goal and your career without the burden of debt.

In addition, the Foundation of Brunswick Community College has a scholarship process that is student- friendly and easy to navigate. If you are considering a workforce course leading to a credential, please understand that $180 can dramatically increase your lifetime earnings. There are local donors that have established workforce scholarships to help regular folks that need training. Courses like massage therapy, esthetics, natural hair care, nail technician, pharmacy tech, electrical line worker, plumbing, and dental assisting can cost thousands of dollars at other institutions.

How can enrolling in a program at BCC help someone who is thinking about a new career?

Adults considering a new career receive something very special at BCC. The enrollment experience is combination of personalized care, local workforce knowledge, and straightforward advice. Our team has worked in Brunswick County for a long time, and we know what workforce trends are emerging. You will receive a straightforward answer about the occupational outlook that you are considering. We consider an inquiry to be an opportunity to build a relationship. When people are ready to make a career change, they need genuine human interaction, not automation. I work with people who care and we are proud of every workforce program; however, your enrollment must make sense to you. This process starts with your interests. The process must also include workforce data and informed decision making.

We consider it a privilege to help non-traditional students who are ready to embark on a new career. We strive to ensure that every potential student makes an informed decision. For example, the outlook for HVAC Technicians in our region is promising. This career can eventually lead to small business ownership, supervisory positions, or code enforcement. The opportunities in information technology, healthcare, public safety, and dental assisting are also extremely promising. At the same time, most of the individuals that I deal with want to know if their career pathway leads to opportunity or a dead end. At BCC, you will receive all of the facts, the entire picture.

We also have a growing number of adult students who are seeking advanced training in the arts (pottery, wood turning, metal sculptures, jewelry design). They are seeking ways to supplement their income through entrepreneurship and private sales. We have hundreds of students that have discovered BCC’s Southport Center to be a catalyst for training, income, and community.

What kind of programs does BCC offer?

Brunswick Community College offers a variety of seated and online classes to fit any busy life schedule. Our for-credit offerings prepare you to transfer to a 4-year university, obtain knowledge, and job skills to enter the workforce or excel in your current career. For those considering university transfer, our team encourages potential students to consider our existing articulation agreements that guarantee a university seat. Our partners include the following: Barton College, Campbell University, East Carolina University (ECU), Fayetteville State University (FSU), Lees McRae College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, NC State University, NC Wesleyan, Regis University, University of Mount Olive, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Pembroke, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Western Governors University. Looking beyond university transfer, BCC also offers pathways in the following areas: business, accounting, computer science, education, nursing, emergency medical services, cosmetology, pre-engineering, law enforcement, horticulture, turf grass management, exercise science, and more. I would like potential students to remember that BCC has embedded a variety of industry-recognized credentials in the pathways above. There is an advantage to enrolling at BCC because you can leave with a degree or license along with a credential that employers consider valuable. Each day, students are earning credentials and securing jobs (Snap-On, Greenlee, Festo, Certiport, Lincoln Electric, 3M, OSHA, NIMS, Starrett)

Who is responsible for operating the enrollment vehicle?

Brunswick Community College considers recruitment to be everyone’s responsibility. This work is considered a privilege. It is not unusual to see our President, Dr. Gene Smith, driving the mobile enrollment & certification vehicle to high schools to share program information. There are many other amazing staff members that share this important work; however, Rod Lattie spends the most time behind the wheel. Rod routinely recruits at area non-profits, retail locations, the Brunswick County Courthouse, and at community/faith-based events. Rod has never met a stranger and he is ready to share the outstanding programs that are offered at BCC. Rod is optimistic, kindhearted, and he believes in second chances! I often hear Rod tell people that “In less than a year, BCC can help you find a new career.” That is the workforce development motto that we live by every day.

With construction still growing in Brunswick County, how many trades courses are being offered now?

Population growth and new housing developments are routine topics of conversation among most of our residents. It is obvious that families want to move here and I cannot blame them. Brunswick County is the only place that I want to live and raise a family. It’s obvious that BCC is responsible for preparing the workforce for today and tomorrow. Workforce development is an essential part of our mission and our vision. “At Brunswick Community College, our vision is to exceed the expectations of our stakeholders for delivering quality education, exceptional workforce training and broad community enrichment.”

Homes, restaurants, retail centers, schools, highways, plumbing, code enforcement, electrical infrastructure and public safety are all part of the workforce equation. I am continuing to see a renewed interest in trades and skilled craftsmanship because the wages are getting better. Our trades and workforce enrollment has grown. As of today, BCC is currently offering 21 trades related courses that include blueprint reading, construction/carpentry, plumbing, electrical technician, electrical license renewal, lead safety removal, auto technician, boat engine repair, electrical line worker, machine technology (CNC), forklift operation, and HRD. As we grow this important area, it is important for employers to understand that we intend to teach the work skills that they need and expect on the job. Partnerships with local employers is the key to our success at BCC.


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