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ECC Joins Initiative to Reconnect with Adult Learners

Leaders from the John M. Belk Endowment and Education NC toured Edgecombe Community College this week as part of the NC Reconnect initiative to reengage adult learners. From left are Chuck Kaylor and MC Belk Pilon of the John M. Belk Endowment; Emily Thomas, Nation Hahn, and Molly Osborne Urquhart of Education NC; and Rebecca Stamilio Ehret, ECC instructor.

Teams from the John M. Belk Endowment and Education NC visited Edgecombe Community College on Tuesday to launch the college’s participation in NC Reconnect.

NC Reconnect is an initiative that unites community colleges with partners from across the state to reengage adult learners.

Spearheaded by the John M. Belk Endowment, NC Reconnect is assisting community colleges with the resources and support needed to help colleges reconnect with their adult learners who have stopped out and assist them in returning to college and completing a workforce credential.

At the heart of NC Reconnect are the 380,000 North Carolinians ages 25-44 who have some college but no degree.

“We think we can help them get across the finish line and increase their economic mobility,” says MC Belk Pilon, John M. Belk Endowment’s president and board chair. “Closing this (attainment) gap inherently helps us close the equity gap.”

She and other officials from the John M. Belk Endowment and Education NC toured ECC programs on the Tarboro campus, including automotive, welding, engineering, and construction. The group met with instructors and students and participated in a hands-on engineering activity. To wrap up, college and community leaders shared current efforts to engage students as well as challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

“We are excited to partner with the John M. Belk Endowment to focus on adult learners in our community,” says ECC President Dr. Greg McLeod. “The average age of our students is 27. We are a college of adult learners, and their barriers to completing their programs are varied and complex. Through support such as quantitative and qualitative research, marketing, and direct student outreach, NC Reconnect will help us make strategic decisions to better serve these students.”

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