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ECC Instructor Setting Standards for NC

Desmond Sykes, an instructor with the Division of College and Career Readiness at Edgecombe Community College, has developed an onboarding training program for new CCR instructors.

The Division of College and Career Readiness at Edgecombe Community College is among NC community colleges that are leading the way in developing new strategies for training instructors.

Desmond Sykes, College and Career Readiness (CCR) instructor, completed an intensive train-the-trainer program earlier this year. Among other requirements, he developed an onboarding professional development system for new instructors.

A focus of College and Career Readiness is to assist adults who have not earned a high school credential by helping them prepare to take the high school equivalency exam and continue on to post-secondary education and/or enter the workforce.

As Sykes explains, “While all of our students are focused on earning their high school credential, they may have varying levels of education. Some may have dropped out after the eighth grade, and others may lack just one or two high school credits. In addition, they could be anywhere from 18 to 80+ years old.

“Our instructors have to be prepared to teach all of these students,” he continues. “We use videos, music, engaging PowerPoints, and other creative tools to teach lessons. We also encourage our students to focus on what lies ahead, whether it’s to matriculate to college-level programs and/or compete for employment opportunities. Their high school credential is not an end, it’s a beginning.”

According to Dr. LaShawnda Washington, director of ECC CCR, Sykes’ onboarding training program will be used as a model for other programs throughout the state. “Mr. Sykes is a shining star in the College and Career Readiness arena in the state. We are fortunate to have him on our team at Edgecombe Community College.”

In 2022, Sykes instructed the Transition to Digital Skills class, a course that enables CCR students to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be more proficient in the use of technology.

The course teaches computing basics, how to use the internet and email, social media etiquette, and career search skills. Students learn how to navigate the Microsoft Office suite of products, which includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Once students have completed lessons on each application, Sykes presents them with a certificate of completion.

Students enrolled in CCR programs can enroll in the Transition to Digital Skills course free of charge while they are working to obtain their high school equivalency credential.

To learn more about earning a high school credential at ECC, please contact Desmond Sykes at or Dr. LaShawnda Washington at