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Golden LEAF Foundation awards BCC

Bladen Community College has received support from the Golden LEAF Foundation to implement the BCC STEM and Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Career Coach Project.


The $168,725 award provides 50% of the funding required to place a Career Coach counselor at Bladen County’s two high schools. The NC Community College System has also provided grant funding for the other 50% of the Career Coach position.


A Career Coach will interact with and counsel high school students about career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and advanced manufacturing and technologies. The goals of the project are to connect students to careers in high demand occupations, to connect students to programs at BCC, and to coordinate a summer program that will provide students with opportunities to explore careers available in the area labor market.


Golden LEAF funds will be used to purchase equipment for the college’s Advanced Technology Center and assist with hosting a Summer Career Talent Institute. The equipment will be used to simulate real work experiences and develop skills that address employment needs at local STEM-related and advanced technology businesses and industries. The program will also help students obtain credits in welding, machining, electrical and carpentry.


“Golden LEAF is pleased to help build a pipeline of workers in Bladen County,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF President. “This grant will help build the talent, knowledge and skills for good-paying, in-demand jobs in STEM fields.”


BCC Vice President for Workforce and Continuing Education Sondra Guyton agreed. “We are committed to introducing young adults to the career opportunities in advanced manufacturing and technology in Bladen County, and subsequently to similar jobs throughout North Carolina and across the country,” she stated.


Barry Priest, Vice President for Student Services, is excited about the new position. “A Career Coach at the high school level gives us a chance to understand a student’s inherent gifts, and coach them into academic decisions that set them up for success. It is a chance to guide a young student into the best possible career path for their unique interests.”

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding received from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For almost 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grantsmaking, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.

The Foundation has provided lasting impact to tobacco-dependent, economically distressed and rural areas of the state by helping create 61,000 jobs, over half a billion dollars in new payrolls, and more than 65,000 workers trained or retrained for higher wages.


Bladen Community College is dedicated to providing optimal educational opportunities for students. To speak with a counselor or learn more about academic success at BCC, call 910 879-5500.

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