Local News

FTCC Athletic Director named NJCAA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Region Ambassador

01 05 DR Shannon M Yates FTCC Athletic DirectorDr. Shannon Yates, the Fayetteville Technical Community College Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, has been selected as a NJCAA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Region Ambassador.

In a news release, the National Junior College Athletic Association said “Region Ambassadors will set the foundation for Region Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committees to make an impact on the regional and national level while placing an intentional focus on educating, empowering, and engaging NJCAA student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, and administrators.”

“I am very excited and honored to represent FTCC and Region 10 as an NJCAA Ambassador for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” she said. “I look forward to working with this group to promote and advance equality for both student-athletes and staff.”

Yates, who is in her first year at FTCC, has served in other capacities focused on equality and inclusion during her athletic administration career. She provided leadership and support for Title IX and gender equity initiatives while at Southeast Missouri and chaired the Gender Equity and Minority Enhancement NCAA Certification committee while at N.C. State.

The NJCAA has selected 39 individuals as Region Ambassadors.

“We’re excited to expand our EDI members who will bring diverse expertise, insight and energy into furthering our mission,” McTiernan said in the release. “The Region Ambassadors are comprised of a dedicated team of leaders committed to promote and advance equity, diversity and inclusion with an intentional focus to educate, empower and engage our student-athletes, coaches and athletic directors.”

The Region Ambassadors will join other NJCAA committee members and staff in a training session with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.

Pictured: Dr. Shannon Yates is the FTCC Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

First graduate of FTCC program for hard-to-employ individuals lands a full-time job

01 04 pic for spotlight post about GL job training grantA 38-year-old Fayetteville man is the first person to successfully complete a new job-training and job-placement program at Fayetteville Technical Community College called Project Cumberland Grow.

Eddie Morris’s success in the program led him to a full-time job with Comtech Inc., a supplier of wood trusses. He had interned with Comtech while participating in Project Cumberland Grow.

The FTCC-led program began last fall with $296,535 in funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation through its Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work initiative. The funding provided job training and job placement assistance for individuals considered hard to employ, including people who had been previously incarcerated for non-violent crimes, those who had experienced long-term unemployment and young adults aging out of foster care.

Morris was one of five graduates of the program’s inaugural job-training class. Four students entered the next phase – internships. In December, Morris completed his internship with Comtech, thus completing the program. He was offered a full-time job with Comtech in January.

“I liked the hands-on part of the training instead of being in a classroom all day,” Morris recalled. “This [program] helped me stabilize myself and become more structured.”

Prior to joining the program, Morris experienced personal losses. His youngest son died in infancy and his father died last year from complications of COVID-19. Morris turned to alcohol for solace and accrued multiple driving under the influence charges.

As a student in Project Cumberland Grow, Morris completed required counseling treatment as part of his probation. He said he has made a conscious decision to stay sober for himself, his fiancée and his children. FTCC Success Coach

Marvin Price Jr., who mentored Morris throughout the program, said Morris saw Project Cumberland Grow as an opportunity to create a new future for his loved ones.

“He told me, ‘I will not let you down, sir,’” Price said. “Through it all, Mr. Morris demonstrated perseverance, character and a commitment to prove not only to himself, but to those who have supported him along the way, that he was going to finish what he had started. He continued to look onward and upward.”

In Project Cumberland Grow, FTCC partners with local agencies, employers and nonprofits to identify prospective trainees. Participants work with a success coach and receive ongoing counseling during the program’s 15 weeks. They also take basic courses in electrical, HVAC, plumbing and carpentry trades. Morris earned a certificate for completing more than 300 hours of basic building construction training, a card indicating completion of OSHA 10-hour safety training course and the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s (NCCER) Core Credential.

“Jobs provide hope, opportunity, and dignity,” said Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President and Chief Executive Officer. “This initiative is a key component in building a skilled workforce to meet the needs of local employers.”

Seven students are currently enrolled in the program’s second cohort, which began Jan. 25. The Golden LEAF funding will support the program for two years and, FTCC plans to sustain the program in the future depending on its outcomes.

Fayetteville Technical Community College was established in 1961 and serves over 36,000 students annually with over 280 occupational, technical, general education, college transfer and continuing education programs.
The nonprofit Golden LEAF Foundation uses funding from the 1998 settlement with cigarette manufacturers to support economic and workforce development in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities.

Fayetteville Technical Community College named a Top Ten military friendly school in national ranking

01 01 military e1613598945137Fayetteville Technical Community College has been named a Top Ten Military Friendly School in the 2021-22 national rankings by Viqtory, an independent media firm that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities. FTCC ranked ninth among large community colleges.

More than 1,200 institutions participated in Viqtory’s annual survey to determine its 2021-22 list of Military Friendly Schools. Of the participants, 747 schools earned the Military Friendly designation.

Viqtory also determines the top ten schools in categories such as large community colleges and awards gold status both to the top ten and to other institutions within 10 percent of the tenth-ranked school. FTCC has been among the top ten in its category for several years.

“We are delighted to be recognized again as one of the nation's top Military Friendly institutions,” said FTCC President Dr. Larry Keen. “Fayetteville Technical Community College has a longstanding commitment to helping members of the military and their families. We continually appreciate the safety and security that they provide for each of us in this country. We’re pleased to be able to provide them with exceptional educational opportunities that are also affordable and convenient.”

The methodology, criteria and weightings for the annual Military Friendly list were determined by Viqtory with input from an advisory council of independent leaders in higher education and the military recruitment community.

Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey response set and public data from government and agency sources, within a logic-based scoring assessment. Institutions are measured on their ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

The 2021-22 Military Friendly Schools list will be included in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, which is published by Viqtory. The list is also available at militaryfriendly.com.

FTCC has a wide range of classes and programs are available in a variety of settings, including on FTCC’s campuses, at Fort Bragg and online. FTCC awards appropriate credit for prior military learning and follows up with comprehensive services to meet the special educational needs of military personnel and their families.

FTCC’s All American Veterans Center, on its Fayetteville campus, provides educational assistance and support to veterans. The College’s Transition Tech program provides industry-focused training for military members who are preparing for civilian life.

To learn more about FTCC’s programs for the military and veterans, visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/military-veterans/

Local woman's path to medical school began at FTCC

01 03 Amanda Parra 1Amanda Parra dreamed of becoming a physician but figured it was an idea that was well beyond reach.

She was a married stepmom of two teenagers. She had no experience working in healthcare. And she suspected the education she’d need would be too expensive.

So Parra explored healthcare careers that seemed affordable and attainable, as well as professionally satisfying, and she enrolled in the radiography program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

At FTCC, she earned an associate degree in radiography that helped her land a good job. She also gained the confidence to act on her dream of medical school.

Parra remembers the moment she started believing in her dream. She was chatting with Anita McKnight, the chair of FTCC’s radiography program.

“I said, ‘It popped into my head that I want to go to medical school,’” Parra recalled.

She waited for McKnight to look doubtful. Instead, the instructor smiled. “Yes,” she told Parra, “that’s possible.”

And Parra suddenly believed that it was.

“That was kind of the catalyst that helped me get to where I am now,” said Parra, who’s in her second year at Ross University School of Medicine. She hopes to specialize in emergency medicine. “That would dovetail with my X-ray experience,” she said.

Parra, who is 32, worked at various jobs in retail and banking early on but was bored by them. When her husband was reassigned to Fort Bragg, she decided she wanted to work in healthcare. “I was, ‘I want to do better,’” she said. “‘I want to help people.’”

She researched educational options and liked what she learned about FTCC’s health programs – “they had a good reputation, it was all accredited” – and the cost fit her budget.

Med school was not on her radar then. “I thought that was for rich kids and kids who are 24 or 25 whose parents can pay for stuff,” she said. “Not for me as a married stepmom.”

Parra loved FTCC’s radiography program. She said the faculty set high standards and demanded excellence but were also helpful and encouraging.

“They were just always so supportive,” she said. “They were always so warm and welcoming. It’s not the coddling kind of warmth. They’re always very honest.”

After graduating from FTCC in 2017, Parra worked full-time as a radiologic technologist at Moore Regional Hospital. At the same time, she also took a full load of classes at Campbell University. With full credit for her associate degree from FTCC, she earned her bachelor’s degree in health science in just over a year’s time. She then started applying to medical schools.

Parra started at Ross University School of Medicine in January of 2020 but had to take all of her first-year courses online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the school, which is located on the Caribbean island of Barbados, is open for face-to-face instruction. Parra flew there last month, but had to start her classes online while she waited out a required two-week quarantine.

Still, she was excited to be there – for the education, not the tropical paradise. Via a Zoom call, she said she expects to see some of Barbados in coming months. But she said most of her waking hours will be spent in class or studying.

“You have to set your standards,” she said. “Do I want to get Cs or do I want to get As?”

Parra wants As. She wants to become an excellent physician.

While at school, Parra is separated from her family. Her stepsons serve in the Navy now – a source of pride – so they’re no longer at home, needing her day-to-day attention. But her husband is still stationed at Fort Bragg and the couple miss each other. But, Parra said, the separation won’t be forever. “He’s been a huge supportive factor,” she said.

Meanwhile, throughout the years, she has remained in touch with McKnight and Michelle Walden, FTCC’s Dean of Health Technologies and she expects to continue to do so.

“I see them as my mentors and my friends,” Parra said. “I never in a million years would be here pursuing a medical career without them and all of the lovely professors and teachers at FTCC. I wouldn’t be here at all without FTCC.”

N.C. cities pass nondiscrimination ordinances without bathroom policies

13 nc flagFive years after House Bill 2 put North Carolina at the center of national controversy, cities in the state’s liberal enclaves are once again discussing discrimination and the LGBT community.

Six cities and counties in North Carolina have passed ordinances that designate sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes, and LGBT advocates are now pushing two dozen more to follow suit.

But the new ordinances studiously avoid the flashpoint of 2016 — bathroom policy for transgender people. Both LGBT advocates and the General Assembly appear hesitant to wade back in to that debate.

The six new ordinances are nearly identical and largely symbolic. They prohibit businesses from denying services or employment based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as federally protected classes like race, religion, sex and disability. Several also include prohibitions against discrimination based on hairstyles “commonly associated with race or national origin.”

Under most of the new ordinances, violators can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined $500 per day. These moves renew a debate that began in 2016, when the city of Charlotte passed a sweeping nondiscrimination ordinance that protected gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. More controversially, Charlotte’s ordinance also allowed people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, a measure aimed at making transgender people more comfortable.

Opponents feared that people would abuse the ordinance to illicitly use women’s bathrooms and changing facilities. Legal experts also said Charlotte’s ordinance essentially outlawed separate men’s and women’s restrooms.

In response, the General Assembly passed and then-Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, a measure that undid Charlotte’s ordinance and required people to use the bathroom of their biological sex in public buildings. The law touched off a national firestorm. The NBA moved its All-Star Game planned for Charlotte out of state, businesses canceled expansions and entertainers canceled performances as a form of protest.

Gov. Roy Cooper campaigned for office on repealing H.B. 2, and did so in March 2017.

The repeal bill included a provision that cities could not pass nondiscrimination ordinances, a provision with a sunset in December 2020.

Hillsborough became the first N.C. city to pass a nondiscrimination ordinance since the sunset, on Jan. 11. Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Greensboro, and Orange County quickly followed suit.

Mecklenburg County has passed a resolution professing support for the LGBT community but has not yet considered an ordinance.

Organizations like the N.C. Family Policy Council and the N.C. Values Coalition have lined up against the new ordinances, saying they violate women’s privacy and could harm religious institutions and faith-based businesses. For example, churches or mosques would not be able to take sexual orientation or gender identity into account when hiring even if their religious doctrine spoke to the matter.

General Assembly leaders have been relatively quiet on the new ordinances but have indicated they will not act unless these potential problems become widespread.

A spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, declined to comment. In an interview with Spectrum News, Berger said that any next steps would come from private legal actions if small business owners felt their religious liberty in jeopardy — not a new law.

“The courts are probably the appropriate forum for us to look at,” he said.


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