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ScaleUp WNC to Fund Small Business Projects

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – A-B Tech Community College was awarded a $125,000, per year, five-year contract from AdvantageWest for a regional small business project called, “ScaleUp WNC.” The funding will further support the college’s work with start-up and other businesses through its Entrepreneurial Development Foundation.

The initiative will provide intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to 150 local, high-growth entrepreneurs over the five-year period. AdvantageWest, the nonprofit economic development partnership for the state’s 23 westernmost counties, was one of eight organizations in the country selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the contract.

Eligible businesses must be based in WNC, have been in business at least two years, have annual revenues of $150,000 to $750,000, have at least one full-time employee and have identified opportunities for business expansion. ScaleUp WNC will offer two, eight-week training sessions a year with 15 participants in each session.

For more information, visit http://www.ScaleUpWNC.com

Photo caption –  Shown, from left: AdvantageWest Interim Director Kathi Petersen; Steve Poland and Marilyn McDonald, from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College; AdvantageWest Vice President Matthew Raker; Hope Huskey, from the Cherokee-based Sequoyah Fund; Emily Breedlove, from Small Town Ventures, in Bryson City; Mike Arriola, Deputy Director of the SBA’s North Carolina District Office; and 1st Vice Chair Stephen Duncan, of the AdvantageWest board of directors.

NC Veteran Affairs Scholarship Recipient Payment Information

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

ASHEVILLE NC – NC Veteran Affairs Scholarship recipients need to see Joyce Dover Evans in the Roberson Building at 93 Victoria Road if they plan to use the scholarship to pay for the current semester. Recipients must sign a form giving permission for charges to be billed against the scholarship semesters. Contact Joyce at 398-7156 or [email protected]

A-B Tech Reaccredited by SACSCOC Until 2024

Friday, December 26th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) officially announced the reaccreditation of A-B Tech for the next 10 years during the organization’s annual meeting in Nashville last week.

A-B Tech has been continuously accredited by SACSCOC since 1969. SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body for 11 southern states and Latin America for higher education institutions that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.

“This is wonderful news that affirms the quality of programs, faculty and staff at A-B Tech,” said President Dennis King, who oversaw A-B Tech’s reaccreditation process last year.  “A-B Tech’s reaccreditation assures our students and community that we are effectively fulfilling our mission. SACSCOC accreditation is significant because it determines whether our students’ degrees, certificates and coursework are accepted by four-year institutions and potential employers.”

A-B Tech also participates in the North Carolina Comprehensive Articulation Agreement, a statewide agreement governing the transfer of credits between N.C. community colleges and N.C. public universities, to create the smooth transfer of students. Several state private colleges and universities also endorse the articulation agreement, including local institutions Brevard College, Mars Hill University, Montreat College and Warren Wilson College.

Colleges seeking reaccreditation must demonstrate compliance with SACSCOC requirements and also develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that addresses student learning issues. A-B Tech’s QEP will focus on student online success with the goal of improving the readiness of students entering 100 percent online classes. For more information about A-B Tech’s SACSCOC accreditation and QEP, please visit: abtech.edu/SACS.

The process for accreditation assesses an institution’s effectiveness in the fulfillment of its mission, its compliance with the requirements of its accrediting association, and its continuing efforts to enhance the quality of student learning and its programs and services.

500 Mugs for Sierra Leone

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Former A-B Tech Ceramics student, Sara Kurtz, has organized a fundraiser and exhibition called, “500 Mugs for Sierra Leone,” which includes mugs donated by various artists, students, and organizations from across the east coast of the United States including mugs created by current A-B Tech Ceramics students.

Kurtz is co-founder of Project Tumara, a non-profit organization that will provide scholarships towards school supplies and tuition to children in Sierra Leone. The mug sale and exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, December 5 in Mendenhall Student Center Gallery at East Carolina University, where Kurtz is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Art with a focus in Ceramics.

“We are hoping to make this event an annual event that will happen each year in the first week of December. As far as this particular event goes, I began planning it in August and I have been working on various aspects of the event all semester. The thing that I think is so wonderful with this fundraiser is that it allows American students the opportunity to learn about school life in Sierra Leone and allows them to participate in helping students just like them afford an education,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz is a huge supporter of education, which was the main reason she started the non-profit Project Tumara with another ECU student Issa Thullah. “We had the opportunity to travel to Sierra Leone last winter and we met countless children who had to work on the streets selling goods such as water and soda because they couldn’t afford to go to school. We hope to raise enough money to send at least 35 students back to school next year,” she said.

Each mug will be sold for $20 and all proceeds will go towards the scholarship program to ensure that students in Freetown, Sierra Leone can have access to education. To order a mug online, visit http://www.projecttumara.org/500-mugs

A-B Tech Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement

Monday, November 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A-B Tech Community College’s Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners – charities, families, businesses and individuals – to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support, and help create a better world.

Taking place December 2 – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – #GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are synonymous with holiday shopping.

The A-B Tech Foundation joined #GivingTuesday to support the Lavender Fund. The Lavender Fund provides scholarship opportunities to support single parents with children at home who want to go back to school to gain the education and confidence needed to change their current situation and become financially independent. The program is designed to help student-parents enroll in college and stay in school. The Foundation also has other initiatives and scholarships to support students.

“#GivingTuesday is a worldwide day of giving focused on ordinary people coming together to do extraordinary things.  One of the most extraordinary gifts we can give is access to education. A scholarship is a true game-changer for our community college students.  It gives them an opportunity to create a future with no limits,“ said Sue Olesiuk, Executive Director, A-B Tech Office of College Advancement.

Seeing an opportunity to channel the generous spirit of the holiday season to inspire action around charitable giving, a group of friends and partners, led by the 92nd Street Y (92Y), came together to find ways to promote and celebrate the great American tradition of giving. Thought leaders in philanthropy, social media and grassroots organizing joined with 92Y to explore what is working in modern philanthropy and how to expand these innovations throughout the philanthropic sector.

The concept gained steam, and with the help of the United Nations Foundation and other founding partners, more than 10,000 organizations have joined the movement and are providing creative ways people can embrace #GivingTuesday and collaborate in their giving efforts to create more meaningful results.

“#GivingTuesday is a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO of the UN Foundation. “The most meaningful gift we can give our children, loved ones, friends and neighbors is the commitment to work together to help build a better world.”

“I do have moments when I feel overwhelmed but then I think of the people who have invested their time, energy, and finances in me; who say, ‘You can do this.’ Thinking of this empowers me,” said Bethany D., a Lavender Fund recipient at A-B Tech.

Anyone interested in joining A-B Tech’s Foundation #GivingTuesday initiative can visit abtech.edu/donate

A-B Tech Students Receive Golden LEAF Scholarships

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Five students from A-B Tech Community College will receive scholarships through the Golden LEAF Scholarship program for the North Carolina Community College System.  The Golden LEAF Scholarship program, designed to help North Carolinians attend the state’s community colleges, is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The scholarship can be used for tuition, books, fees, supplies, transportation and childcare related to attending classes during the 2014-15 academic year, and industry-recognized credential testing expenses that address skill gaps upon course completion.  Eligible students must demonstrate financial need and reside in rural counties that are tobacco-dependent and/or economically distressed. Scholarships for both occupational and curriculum students are available during the fall, spring and summer semesters.

Students from Madison County who were awarded scholarships and their programs of study are Becky Gattis, Criminal Justice Technology; Marvette Flasher, Welding Technology; Ashley Kent, General Occupational Technology/Pre-Nursing; Crystal Arrington, Criminal Justice Technology and Ronnie Rager, Electrical Systems Technology. The total amount awarded to curriculum students for the fall semester is $3,462.

Students must be residents of the following western regional counties to be eligible: Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, or Yancey.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation is proud to have awarded over 8,000 Golden LEAF Scholarships to help North Carolinians attend our state’s community colleges,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “Our hope is that these scholarships will help build the talent, knowledge and skills of our current and future workforce, especially in the rural areas of our state.”

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,275 grants totaling more than $561 million since its inception. For more information, about the foundation, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call (888) 684-8404.

A-B Tech Emergency Services Education Building

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and Buncombe County are dedicating a new $5.9 million building Tuesday that will house A-B Tech’s emergency services programs.

The new, 41,000-square-foot structure was built at the county Public Safety Training Campus in Woodfin. Officials will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.

“This classroom building is building on a vision that will set A-B Tech apart from the rest of the state and the southeast,” said Skye Myrick, dean of emergency services for A-B Tech.

One thing that sets the building apart is its location on the 30-acre campus which has a driving track, burn buildings and other structures for hands-on emergency training, Myrick said. Those other facilities opened in 2012.

The new building includes classroom space as well as lab space for emergency sciences such as a cardiac lab.

It also includes a “crime scene apartment” that can be used to replicate real-life scenarios. The space include a fuming hood for processing of fingerprints.

“In the Hemlock building, we had a crime scene lab, but this is much more state-of-the-art than we had in the Hemlock building,” Myrick said. “And since we’ve been out of the Hemlock building, we have not had a crime scene lab.”

The emergency services programs moved out of the Hemlock building in 2011 after lead contamination from a firing range was discovered inside that building. The programs are currently housed on the Enka campus.

The new building will house fire services technology, criminal justice, basic law enforcement, emergency medical sciences and critical care transport. It will allow A-B Tech’s Emergency Services Division to grow by 2.5 percent annually, according to Myrick.

A-B Tech’s Emergency Services Division includes both curriculum programs and continuing education. The division has 565 curriculum students and 6,700 professional continuing education students, according to Myrick.

“We will start some of our professional continuing education classes the week of Oct. 27th,” Myrick said. “And then all of our curriculum will move out here in January.”

“It’s going to be really exciting for people to see when we have all of our students here in the building,” she said.

One feature is a “tiny town,” a model that allows emergency services personnel to practice responding to an emergency.

“It looks like a train set or a model set someone would have at their home, and it’s very much like that,” said Tommy Brooks, fire coordinator for A-B Tech’s Emergency Services Division.

But in this setting, instructors can use the model to stage an accident.

“We can also use the structures to establish a fire scene where we have a structure on fire. The fire officers will come in. They will stage their equipment just as if they were in a real incident. Except they can do it here, make the mistakes, correct those and then when they go on the real call, they will recall those actions they had to take. Things that worked, things that didn’t,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the new facility was needed.

“They can come here, they can start teaching a ropes class inside the classroom then go to the training center and put it to actual use. It’s very valuable to have this,” he said.

The new facility is one of several projects being paid for with the sales tax approved by voters in 2011.

Fund Your Future with A-B Tech and Goodwill

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A-B Tech Community College and Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina are holding a free event to help community members find ways to pay for college from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 3 at the Goodwill Training Center, 1616 Patton Avenue.

Fund Your Future will feature multiple workshops and information sessions with Q&A segments. The College Foundation of North Carolina will have a representative on site and there will be information about the Workforce Investment Act Funding.

An open computer lab will provide opportunities for assistance in completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), applying to college and other services. There will also be referrals for basic computer skills, placement test preparation and career planning.

Long Lines and Short Fuses No Match for Therapy Dogs

Monday, April 28th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – The stampede in Student Services April 1 for registration on a first come, first serve basis for special programs was quieted by four-footed helpers beginning at 8 a.m. That’s when the first therapy dog appeared on the scene do some emotional calming, coined “stress relief” by much of the A-B Tech staff. Rebecca Howell, Director of Counseling and Advising Services, requested the dogs for this registration day because she knew how the staff would be overextended and how the registrants’ patience would be taxed.

As lines snaked through corridors and lobbies, potential students understood they were in for a long wait and, at that, class size was limited. Then the therapy dogs accomplished the improbable – they managed to put smiles on hundreds of faces and even babysat young children whose parents ran out of ideas to keep them content.

A-B Tech Students in NASA’s Aerospace Scholars Program

Monday, March 24th, 2014

ASHEVILLE NC – A-B Tech Community College students Kris Ridenour and Mike Blackwater were two of the 40 students in the United States chosen by NASA to participate as Aerospace Scholars at the Marshall Space Flight Center February 26-28.

Community and junior college students from across the nation apply to be part of the National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) project. Participants apply what they have learned during the year to work with NASA engineers.

“The NASA NCAS engineering contest was the most challenging fun we have ever experienced. The three-day contest, coupled with the three interactive engineering lab tours, was very educational and will most likely end up being a career changing experience,” said Blackwater.

They competed for a spot in Huntsville through an application process and scores from online lessons, where they created plans for their own Mars mission including a 3D rover design.

Ridenour and Blackwater were encouraged to apply for the program by instructors Tammy Sullivan, Math Chair and Jim Sullivan, Civil Engineering and Geomatics Technology Chair. “I wouldn’t have tried to do it if it weren’t for her (Tammy’s) encouragement,” Ridenour said.

Ridenour is studying computer engineering after 10 years in the Army where he served as a scout. “I decided to come to A-B Tech to do something more out of life,” he said.

“Kris is extremely bright, dedicated and loves to learn.  He is such a wonderful addition to our class with his real-world knowledge and experiences.  For example, when we were studying Laws of Sines and Cosines, he shared with the class how this is used in the Army during different missions and in-field training,” Tammy Sullivan said.

Blackwater was in the rental real estate field and wanted a bigger challenge. He said his dream job has always been to work at NASA. “As long as I’ve known him, he’s been interested in space and NASA, and at one point he was signing his e-mail with, ‘Mike Blackwater – Future NASA Scientist,’” Jim Sullivan said.

“He’s a pleasure to have in class, in many ways a catalyst who makes the entire class more engaged with his enthusiasm for learning. He’s taken the initiative to form study groups for many of his classes, which improves the performance of everyone in the group. He’s a great student and a natural leader, gregarious and fun to be around,” Jim Sullivan said.

While at NASA, students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for building a functional prototype rover and forming a company infrastructure, including budget, communications and presentations. A-B Tech was represented on the team that won the rover competition held at Marshall. The on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter