Wake County voters approved $353.2 million in bonds in the November 2022 general election to pay for Wake Tech's strategic growth, which is crucial to preparing the skilled workforce the region's growing economy requires.
Wake County’s population is not only growing, it is getting older as well. The average age of county residents has jumped by more than two years over the last decade, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. An aging population means additional investments in health and wellness are vital to the area's long-term quality of life, which is why expanding Wake Tech's health sciences programs is the key priority in the 2022 Wake Tech Workforce Forward Bond. Other strategic areas of growth include information technology, industrial training and life sciences.
Bond funds will pay for construction of a 120,000-square-foot facility on the Perry Health Sciences Campus. This critical new building will allow Wake Tech's high-demand nursing programs to expand and the potential addition of mental health, physical therapy, occupational therapy and respiratory therapy programs. The facility will house a "simulation hospital" to support nursing and other degree and non-degree health care programs, as well as state-of-the-art laboratories for imaging programs.
Wake Tech's Western Wake Campus will move from leased space in Cary to a permanent 34-acre campus in southwestern Wake County, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 1, N.C. Highway 55 and the new N.C. Highway 540/Triangle Expressway. Initial construction there will include a Workforce Development Center with life science, information technology and industrial training labs to support the dynamic job growth in the region. The site will also include the relocation of business and entrepreneurship programs, University Transfer opportunities and campus operations.
Wake Tech’s RTP Campus has emerged as a major attraction for new and advanced technology companies growing in the Research Triangle region, as well as a unique home for education collaboration, including RTP Bio and the new Wake Early College of Information and Biotechnologies. A third building on the campus will allow the life sciences and information technology programs, especially cybersecurity, to expand, while also continuing advancement of education and industry partnerships.
Bond funds will support needed renovations and upgrades at Wake Tech's original Southern Wake Campus and at all campus locations. Keeping facilities up to date with new technologies, sustainable processes, security enhancements and accessibility upgrades is a significant part of the college's commitment to maintain quality as it grows to meet the workforce needs of the community.
Here are some of the ways investments in Wake Tech make a difference:
A recent study by Georgetown University's Center for Education and the Workplace ranks Wake Tech in the top 20% of all colleges and universities in the nation – and the top 10% in North Carolina – for student ROI 10 years after graduation. About three-quarters of Wake Tech students live in Wake County – most others come from neighboring counties – forming the basis of the region's future workforce. The vast majority of Wake Tech students remain in the area after graduation and have an average annual income almost $10,000 greater than that of a high school graduate.
Independent studies indicate that Wake Tech generates more than $1 billion annually for the local economy, with each dollar invested in Wake Tech generating more than $7 in added income and social savings.