CAFÉ Event Celebrates 10 Years

It has been 10 years since the inception of the Career Academy for Educators (CAFÉ) program in Stanly County, a program dedicated to the success of educators and local employers collaborating on education and social skills needed for the future workforce.

David Hollars, Executive Director, Centralina Workforce Development Board, commented, "CAFÉ is the connecting force to expose educators to the workings of local businesses in Stanly County. It allows employers to highlight the skills needed for their work and advise educators on what they can do to help ensure students have those skills. The Centralina Workforce Development Board is proud to be a long-time supporter and partner for CAFÉ. It is truly a great model for how local partners can work together to meet the needs of their businesses and their community."

Participants in the program are key players in public school education, post-secondary education, and the business sector, with each having access to a network that encourages free exchange of ideas. The event also allows teachers to earn continuing education credits.

The 3-day event began at the Groves Building in Albemarle with 24 participants. Welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Heather Hill, Vice President of Academic Affairs at SCC; Danny Poplin, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Stanly County School System; Kathy Almond, President of the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce; and David Hollars, Executive Director for the Centralina Workforce Development Board. Additional remarks were given by Michael Smith, Stanly County Economic Development Director; Elizabeth Standafer, Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator for the NC Department of Commerce; and Gene Beneduce, Regional Manager, Industry Expansion Solutions, NC State University, who also gave a presentation on Lean Manufacturing.

The second day started with an overview given by Steve Cumming, SCC's Career and College Promise Coach, and a presentation about Welding for Women by Tabitha Ritchie and William Beaver, both welding instructors at SCC. Krista Bowers, Mary Rickaby, and Marion Kinley, from SCC's Economic Development Division, presented information on the College's new Manufacturing Production Technician Program. Solomon McAuley, Workforce Development Board, NEXGEN Specialist, spoke with the educators about building the next generation of talent.

On the final day of the program, Mrs. Dana Chaney, SCC Business Instructor, conducted a seminar entitled Making High Quality Decisions. Participants were also able to tour such local businesses and industries as Michelin USA 11, Chroma Provisions, Stanley Engineered Fastening, and Carolina Paper Converter.

"I enjoyed all of the new information I learned during my experience. This was a very eye-opening experience about all the local businesses that offer college-alternate work options for our students," noted CAFÉ participant Christy Wilson, South Stanly High School.

"As I speak to my students about their future, I plan to share local resources and opportunities for career choices right here in Stanly County," commented participant Melissa Belk, Fifth Grade Central Elementary.

"I loved the tours and being able to see how our county businesses operate and their ideas to reach future employees. It's great seeing their goals and plans for Stanly County's future," said participant Taylor Smith, West Stanly Middle School.

Krista Bowers, SCC, Economic Development Division Coordinator Level II, stated, "The mission of the CAFÉ program is to provide Stanly County School educators and counselors the opportunity to learn about career options available to students within Stanly County. Students can jump-start a career path in high school, tuition-free, through the Career and College Promise program at Stanly Community College. The CAFÉ program is designed to connect educators and counselors with our local business and industry to address the need to build a skilled workforce pipeline to aid in the continued manufacturing success of Stanly County."

This year's CAFÉ event sponsors included Centralina Workforce Development Board (CWDB), Stanly Community College, Stanly County Chamber of Commerce, Stanly County School System, and For Stanly, Inc. The meals and transportation were sponsored by the CWDB and For Stanly, Inc. Marion Kinley, Director of Economic and Workforce Development Division, would like to thank Krista Bowers for facilitating a great CAFÉ and her support team made up by Mary Rickaby, Misty Hughes, and Dustin Foley.

CAFE Participants 2017

2017 CAFÉ participants from left to right, first row: Michael Smith, Gene Beneduce, Vivian Barnette, Ginger Burris, Melissa Belk, Andrea Russell, and Isaac Russell. Second row: Phillip Little, Beth Safrit, Leesa Fuller, Penny Breslin, Christy Wilson-Kaber, Traci Diggs, and David Mueller. Third row: Krista McGuire, Pat VanHoose, Whitney Pratt, Jennifer Nahrgang, Jennifer Flowe, Taylor Smith, and Jenifer Brown. Fourth row: Shenise Watson, Julienne Fallen, Misty Hughes, Sharon Cole, Elizabeth Standafer, and Alan Turner. Fifth row: Adam Storms, Krista Bowers, Kathy Almond, and Marion Kinley.