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Remarks on Wake Tech's 50th Anniversary

October 30, 2013
Remarks on Wake Tech's 50th Anniversary

MR. SPEAKER: I rise to congratulate Wake Technical Community College on its 50th Anniversary.

In the late 1950s, the North Carolina General Assembly launched an innovative concept in higher education and provided funding for new industrial education centers that would train adults with the vocational and technical skills needed in the region for emerging industries.

In 1958, Wake Technical Community College, then named Wake County Industrial Education Center, started offering a few classes to about 70 students. By 1963, the new institution had found a home, and the W.W. Holding Industrial Education Center officially opened in October 1963, with 34 full-time students and an additional 270 students taking classes at community sites. Today, Wake Tech has expanded to five campuses, and is soon to develop a sixth. The college also operates two centers and dozens of community sites throughout Wake County. It offers 180 associates degrees, diplomas and certificates, preparing students for immediate employment and increasingly serving as a gateway to four-year institutions. Enrollment has grown to nearly 70,000 students this year, making Wake Tech the largest community college in North Carolina. It is the second fastest growing community college in all of America!

For years, North Carolina’s leaders have recognized the critical role that technical and community colleges play as drivers of economic growth and renewal. Visionaries such as Governor Terry Sanford understood that community colleges could help lift generations of North Carolinians out of poverty, and that they could be a powerful magnet drawing new businesses and industries to our state. Nowhere has the success of this vision been more prominent than in the “Research Triangle.” Education has been the catalyst for this economic transformation, and our region’s community colleges – Wake Tech in particular – have served as its engine.

Wake Tech has produced world-class business leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as highly capable workers, and has done so while constantly reinventing itself as industries have evolved or given way to new ones. I commend Wake Tech on its ability to recruit and retain quality faculty, and its ability to maintain flexible, accessible, customized educational and training programs for North Carolina citizens. Its effective and beneficial community partnerships, outstanding ability to identify the workforce needs of the region, and commitment to measuring resource allocation and quality outcomes are only part of what make Wake Tech such an asset to the region. Fifty years after opening its doors, Wake Tech is still leading the way in world-class training, education, and workforce development.

In honor of its 50th anniversary, Wake Tech has launched a new logo, featuring a torch to symbolize the role Wake Tech plays in helping students find their way along the path of higher education. The new motto, “Lead the Way” speaks to students’ ability to take charge of their lives as they learn and grow, as well as to lead and inspire others. It is also fitting as an allusion to the innovation and focus on the future that have been a hallmark of Wake Tech programs and services for the last 50 years.

I extend my congratulations to Wake Technical Community College on their fiftieth anniversary and look forward to the 50 years to come!