Wake Tech Hosts Town Hall Meeting with U.S. Education Secretary
Secretary Arne Duncan Hears from Students, Faculty and Business Leaders
RALEIGH, N.C. (October 25, 2011) - U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Wake Tech's Public Safety Education Campus today for a Town Hall meeting with students, faculty, and community leaders to discuss the challenges facing community colleges and the future of education in our country.
Nearly 300 people attended the event, including Former NC Governor Jim Hunt. Wake Tech President Dr. Stephen Scott told the Secretary that Wake Tech had more than 5,000 students that couldn't get into classes this fall because they were full. Secretary Duncan touted President Obama's jobs plan, saying it would bring $163 million to North Carolina community colleges. "I want to help community colleges like Wake Tech expand so they can serve more students and help families get back on their feet," said Duncan. "The only way we strengthen the economy and strengthen our country is through great education."
Wake Tech Student Government Association President Melissa Reeves served on the panel for the discussion. Others in the audience included State Superintendent June Atkinson and Chair of the State Board of Community Colleges, Hilda Pinnix-Ragland. Several local employers came to share insights on workforce training, including representatives from Novartis, Wake Med and Red Hat.
The Town Hall was an open forum and participants shared issues of concern, including employment opportunities, waiting lists for classes, and ways to best train record numbers of community college students for high-demand jobs. U.S. Department of Education representatives held small roundtable discussions with select groups of faculty and students, before and after the Town Hall meeting.
Phase One of Wake Tech's Public Safety Education Campus opened in 2008, while Phase Two opened in the fall of 2010. About 34,000 square feet of the 100,000 square foot facility is still unfinished.