SCC-Industry Partnerships Are Vital
The partnership between a community college and local industries is vital to the economic success of a region.
An example of an active partnership between a college and a business that has chosen to retrain workers instead of outsourcing labor is the relationship between Sandhills Community College and Unilever.
Located in Raeford, the Unilever and Sandhills alliance dates back to the 1990s when the manufacturing industry sector was slowing in North Carolina. Economic development in the state and, Hoke County in particular, became a critical concern.
During the last 19 years, Sandhills has partnered with Unilever in a number of ways.
The Dedman Center for Business Leadership at SCC has provided management and supervisory training, basic and advanced computer training, and employee training.
Through the center, the Focused Industrial Training program provided Unilever employees with technology and manufacturing equipment training. The college also assisted with implementation of a work force assessment program called WorkKeys.
A New and Expanding Industries Training project trained more than 250 people when the Unilever plant expanded.
When new state-of-the-art automated technology was put into place at Unilever, a Customized Industry Training project was begun with training contracted through Sandhills.
Through the Engineering De-partment at Sandhills Commun-ity College, an industrial systems technology certificate program was designed to provide skill-specific courses that matched employee training to manufacturing needs.
This certificate program is taught on site at the Unilever facility. Those who complete the program qualify for advancement into leadership roles and to progressive pay raises as they achieve their educational goals.
This effort has grown into a long-term commitment to provide a curriculum degree program in Industrial Systems Technology for Unilever employees.
This unique program is helping the plant maintain a high ranking among Unilever facilities worldwide, thereby preserving American manufacturing jobs at a time when such success stories are rare.
Unilever has been steadfastly generous in its support of the efforts of Sandhills Community College to meet the educational needs of the region.
Unilever helps support vocational training and college-level educational opportunities at the Sandhills Community College Hoke Center in Raeford.
The company contributed $50,000 to support building construction. The basic skills classroom at the center is named for Unilever in honor of this company's significant contribution to educational excellence in the county.
The Sandhills Hoke Center provides curriculum and continuing education programs, basic skills programs and the SandHoke Early College initiative. Unilever employees and their families benefit from these programs.
Members of the management team at Unilever have served on the advisory board for the Sandhills Hoke Center since 2003. This board, a partnership of business, community, college, and government leaders, is committed to expanding curriculum and continuing education programs, high school partnerships, academic support and student service offerings at the center.
In 2006, Unilever was inducted as a corporate member into the Mary Luman Meyer Society at Sandhills Community College. This distinguished group of individuals and businesses has contributed more than $100,000 in support of the college.
Since 1992, Unilever has also supported the Sandhills Community College Foundation golf tournament with significant product and cash donations. This tournament raises money for student scholarships and other student support services.
Unilever has also made significant contributions to the Sandhills Community College Guarantors Program. The program enables students who are faced with financial problems to stay in school and supports the college's guarantee that "no deserving student will be denied the opportunity for an education at Sandhills because he or she cannot pay for it."
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