HAMLET — Richmond Community College will be joining forces with local industries and businesses to form an internship program for students that will train them to work in many fields including accounting, electronics, electrical, education, manufacturing, welding and healthcare.
The RCC Board of Trustees learned at its monthly meeting this week about the framework for the college’s internship program and the vested interest local companies have in supporting this initiative.
“The feedback that we are receiving from local businesses and industries is that they have jobs available, but they are having trouble finding qualified people with the technical skills to fill these jobs,” said Dr. Robbie Taylor, vice president for Workforce and Economic Development for RCC. “This internship program will allow us to connect our students with those jobs, giving them hands-on training outside the classroom. The companies will also pay students for these internships.”
Taylor said pay would vary according to each company, and students will submit resumes and go through an interview process before being hired for a semester by the company. Students’ performance on the job, including technical skills, communication abilities, work habits and punctuality, will also be evaluated by a program supervisor.
“Our students will gain experience building a resume, applying and interviewing for a job, developing technical and soft skills, and they will gain exposure in a field before deciding if it’s a suitable career for them,” Taylor said. “This will also allow us to showcase our students to companies, and hopefully what started as an internship will turn into full-time employment.”
Lee Eller, director of Customized Training for RCC, has been instrumental in developing the internship program and assessing what companies need.
“We already have 12 to 14 companies eager to get on board and hire our students for internships,” Eller said. “We even have several companies that said they will pay tuition for students while they are interning. So not only would our students be paid to work, but college tuition fees would be covered by the company as well.”
The internship program will be fully implemented by fall semester 2016, but the college will begin offering a couple of internships in industrial systems beginning this spring semester.
“Our staff has been working on this internship program for over a year, and they’ve come up with something that is very unique,” RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis said. “This is another way the college will be helping people get started in great careers.”
After months of waiting on the General Assembly to finalize a state budget, the board of trustees was able to review the allocations RichmondCC will receive from the state and approve the college’s operating budget of $27,234,994 for 2015-16. State allocation for the college is $16,818,806, which is a 3.86 percent increase from 2014-15.
In other business, the trustees agreed to a resolution of support for the Connect NC Bond Act that will be decided on by voters in March. The passage of the $2 billion bond would fund higher education, parks and other infrastructure. If voters pass the bond referendum, RCC will receive $7.22 million for long-standing facility improvements and renovations.
It was also announced that RCC’s Small Business Center received the NC Community College System Small Business Center Network “Center of Excellence 2015” award in the area of Overcoming Challenges.
The Small Business Center came to the aid of entrepreneur Shalonda Taylor, who opened an ice cream shop called the Scoop N Dip in Laurinburg.