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Education Matters Podcast

Education Matters Podcast


Listen in to whats going on in education and what really matters for our students and economy. Local education experts speak to you about the hot topics and what you need to know... because Education Matters.

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Education Matters 31: NC Works Certified Work Ready Communities

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, Dec 17, 2015

Special Guests:

Websites & Resources

Certified Work Ready Communities workreadycommunities.org/
NC Chamber ncchamber.net/foundation/ncworks-certified-work-ready-communities/
NC Works www.nccommerce.com/ncworks

Workforce development has been a priority in North Carolina for many years. A talent pipeline with the necessary foundational and technical skills for success is a primary goal for education and workforce professionals.

In 2011, the NC Eastern Region began a pilot program to certify counties as NC WorkReady. This pilot serves as the model for the statewide NCWorks Certified Communities initiative. The partnership and collaboration among the North Carolina Chamber, Department of Commerce, Community College System and the Department of Public Instruction create a seamless framework for communities to become certified as work ready.

High school seniors in public schools who have a CTE concentration (four technical credits in a Career Cluster) take the ACT WorkKeys® assessments needed to earn an ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®). Community colleges throughout the state serve as instructional and testing centers for adults and transitioning youth. The North Carolina Chamber serves as the organization that will designate counties as NCWorks Certified Communities.

The NCWorks Certified Communities initiative supports economic development by providing a workforce with documented foundational skills. Other benefits include competitive cost models through lower employee turnover, decreased training time and costs, and related efficiencies that enhance North Carolina's global competitiveness. Increasing support of the ACT NCRC is a key strategy; the goal is to have eight of the 10 largest employers in each participating county recognize or recommend the workplace credential.

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Education Matters 30: Ensuring That NC is #1 in Workforce

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Nov 10, 2015

The North Carolina Community College System embarked on a strategic planning initiative called Align4NCWorks to secure North Carolina’s role as a national leader in workforce development through collaboration, innovation and local impact.

The plan is to connect with and build on the Governor’s NCWorks initiative, Jobs Plan and other state efforts, while drawing on the models and ingenuity of local communities.

Best practices that are scalable have been identified in both parts of the State. The team in the west decided to pursue the following initiatives: Certified Work Ready Communities, NC Works Certified Career Pathways, Manufacturing Camps, and the EXTREME STEM Tours.

Listen in to learn about Align4NC Works and find out how North Carolina plans to become #1 in workforce development.

Tracy Hall, Director of Education Matters

Todd Ashworth, Financial Planner with Renaissance Financial and member of Hickory Young Professionals

Special Guests:
Dr. Matthew Meyer, Associate Vice President for STEM Innovations, North Carolina Community College System

Websites & Resources


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Education Matters 29: Catawba Careers & Hot Job Videos!

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, Aug 27, 2015

Catawba Careers is an innovative video driven website created as a new media option to post and advertise career opportunities in the Catawba Valley. The website features Hot Job! Videos specific to local positions featuring people who are currently working for area businesses. These videos are designed to appeal to young adults in high school, college, and beyond. The intention is to bring a greater awareness of our local companies and the positions available with links to the education and training required.

The Hot Job! Videos and the Catawba Careers website are tools that teachers, guidance counselors, career coaches, and career centers can use to connect students to local careers. The site is complete with current job openings, career related news and events, resources for career exploration and preparation, and so much more!

Education Matters, Jackson Group Interactive, Catawba Valley Community College, Catawba Chamber of Commerce, Innovate Catawba, and Hickory Young Professionals work collaboratively to develop the website and videos.


Tracy Hall, Director of Education Matters

Todd Ashworth, Financial Planner with Renaissance Financial and member of the Hickory Young Professionals

Special Guests:

Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President, Catawba Valley Community College


Alan Jackson, President/CEO, Jackson Group Interactive


Websites & Resources

Catawba Careers www.catawbacareers.com

Catawba Community College www.cvcc.edu

Jackson Group Interactive www.jginteractive.com

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Education Matters 28: Young Professionals Making An Impact

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Dec 23, 2014

Hickory Young Professionals recently recognized the Top 10 Under 40 in Catawba County.  Education Matters hosts Tracy Hall & Todd Ashworth welcome as in-studio guests 2 of those 10 young professionals (Lindsay Keisler & Heather Benfield) who are making a positive impact in their careers as well as their community.  Find out why they were chosen for this honor and the ways that they would like to see other young professionals get involved in education and community leadership roles.


Websites & Resources


Hickory Young Professionals http://www.hickoryhyp.com


Challenger High School http://www.catawbaschools.net/schools/Challenger/default.aspx


Catawba County Chamber of Commerce http://www.catawbachamber.org/



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Education Matters: Connecting Kids to Careers & College

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Nov 25, 2014

Education Matters is back and now in full implementation. This episode's guests have been working diligently to implement the innovative ways we are connecting students from 8th grade to 12th grade to local career opportunities, while helping them to be aware of the training and education needed for those jobs.


Special Guests:

Trina Williams, Career & Technical Coordinator for Hickory Public Schools



Jeanne Turner Simms, Career Development Coordinator for Hickory High School



Cole Lackey, Senior Class President at Hickory High School


Website & Resources








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Education Matters 26: Empowering Women for the Workforce

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Mon, Dec 23, 2013

Women in North Carolina face many challenges in the areas of economic security, poverty, health, well-being, employment, earnings and political participation. The Women's Resource Center works to improve lives and empower women through workforce development, advocacy, enrichment programs and community partnerships. They serve wormen and families in Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba.

Special Co-host:
Wanda Horvath, Counselor for Students with Disabilities and Special Programs at CVCC.

Special Guest:

  • Cindy Rose, Executive Director at the Women's Resource Center
  • Dr. Jane Everson, Director of Training & Development for ACAP Community; Retired University Professor / Administrator and former member, WRC Board of Directors

Website & Resources

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Education Matters 25: Apprenticeship Catawba

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Wed, Nov 20, 2013

Apprenticeship Catawba is an exciting new partnership between local advanced manufacturers, Catawba and Alexander County schools and Catawba Valley Community College.

Did you know jobs in Mechatronics and Computer Integrated Machining are in demand?

Would you:

  • Enjoy a career working with robots, computer aided design or electronics?
  • Want an oportunity for a college scholarship and NO student loans?
  • Want to take a college classes your junior and senior years in high school at no cost to you?
  • Want a career that pays well?

If you are a high school junior or senior Apprenticeship Catawba might be a way to get a great start on your future!

Special Guests:

  • Kim Abernathy, Human Resource Director at Technibilt
  • Crystal Glenn, Executive Director of Business, Industry and Workforce Development Innovation Center at Catawba Valley Community College

Apprenticeship Catawba Information


Call (828) 327-7000 ext. 4294 for more information

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Education Matters 24: Career & College Promise

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, Oct 31, 2013

Special guests:

Roxy Poovey
Public School Liaison at Catawba Valley Community College
(828) 327-7000 x4594

Laurie Wegner
Director of Admissions at Catawba Valley Community College
(828) 327-7000 x4618


CVCC Website

NC Dept. of Public Instruction Website

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Education Matters 23: Career Readiness

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Mon, Sep 16, 2013

Did you know that high school seniors across North Carolina  have the opportunity to earn a NC Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), a portable skills credential powered by the ACT National Career Readiness Certification?  This credential gives employers and students a uniform, standard, objective measure of key workplace skills. It certifies that a person has the skills that are transferable between industry sectors and across jobs within a sector. North Carolina  is one of eight states across the country who are participating in the National ACT  Certified Work Ready Communities initiative. Check out our latest podcast to learn more about the benefits of the CRC, for both students and employers, as well as how communities can become more competitive for economic development by recognizing the CRC.
Special Guests:
Debra Lyons, Vice President of Community & Economic Development for ACT, Inc. 
Jo Anne Honeycutt, Career & Technical Education Director for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Important links:
ACT Certified Work Ready Communities: www.workreadycommunities.org
NC Career & Technical Education: www.dpi.state.nc.us/cte/

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Education Matters 22: Hickory Young Professionals

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Mon, Aug 05, 2013

Special Guests:

  • Todd Ashworth, Chairman of Hickory Youn Professionals; Financial Consultant with Renaissance Financial Managers
  • Lindsey Lawhon, HYP Member and the Executive Director for the Council on Adolescents of Catawba County

For More Information:

Hickory Young Professionals
Website: www.hickoryhyp.com

Contact info:
Todd Ashworth tashworth@capital-invest.com

Council on Adolescents of Catawba County
Website: www.coacatawba.org

Contact info:
Lindsey Lawhon llawhon@coacatawba.org

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Education Matters 21: Workforce Development & Economic Outlook

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Jun 25, 2013

Special Guests:

  • Scott Millar, President of Catawba County Economic Development
  • Christa Francisco, Human Resource Manager at Sarstedt, Inc.
  • David Waechter, President & CEO of Verdant? BioEnergy

For More Information:

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Education Matters 20: Graduation: Hopes, Fears and the Future!

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, May 16, 2013

The time is now!  What do you do, where do you go and how do you get there?  Tracy and Lamar welcome local seniors to the table as they tell us what is going through their heads just days before graduation!  

Special Guests:

  • Shaquille Smith, Senior from Hickory Career & Arts Magnet
  • Runy Lee, Senior from Challenger Early College High School
  • Austin Fry, Senior from Newton Conover High School
  • Lynsey Braim, Senior from Newton Conover High School

For more information:

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Education Matters 19: Great Opportunities in Healthcare

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Wed, Apr 17, 2013

We welcome Sonya Fleming, Director of Organizational Learning at Catawba Valley Medical Center (sfleming@catawbavalleymc.org) and Tonja Pool, Catawba Valley Community College Program Director of Emergency Medical Science (tpool@cvcc.edu) as we discuss the opportuinities in Healthcare education!  More than doctors and nurses... the possibilities are endless! 


For more information:

Catawba Valley Medical Center

Website: www.catawbavalleymc.org


Catawba Valley Community College            

Website: www.cvcc.edu

Education & Training for Health Services http://www.cvcc.edu/Health_Services/


College Foundation of North Carolina

General Website:  www.cfnc.org

Explore Careers: https://www1.cfnc.org/Plan/For_A_Career/Explore_Careers/_default.aspx




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Education Matters 18: Pathway to Prosperity

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Fri, Mar 15, 2013

Our guest this month, Dr. Amy Loyd, is the director of the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a coalition of nine states including NC. Pathways to Prosperity is a partnership between Jobs for the Future and Harvard University’s School of Education. Anyone interested in education's link to economic development owes it themselves to read Harvard University's excellent Pathways to Prosperity report. When you read the report, you'll find it underscores something we've known in Catawba County for quite some time: that "education beyond high school is the passport to the American Dream" and that, in addition to academics, we must ensure that our students graduate career-ready so that they will be able to succeed in the competitive workplace that awaits them. 

Many of the recommendations in the report are strikingly similar to CVCC's own Education Matters program. For more information on the program and how your business can become an Education Matters partner, click on the links below.


·      Amy Loyd bio link: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news-impact/2012/05/study-break-amy-loyd-ed-l-d-candidate/

·      Pathways to Prosperity report: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news_events/features/2011/Pathways_to_Prosperity_Feb2011.pdf

·      Pathways to Prosperity Network: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/news-impact/2012/06/pathways-to-prosperity-network-launches/

·      Jobs for the Future: www.jff.org


·      Education Matters web site: www.educationmattersincatawba.org

·      Education Matters information packet: http://educationmattersincatawba.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Education_Matters_CV_Information_Packet.pdf

·      Education Matters application: http://educationmattersincatawba.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Education_Matters_Business_Application.pdf


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Education Matters 17: Entrepreneurship & Small Business Start Ups

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Fri, Feb 15, 2013

What is entrepreneurship? And how does it help the economy? Joining hosts Tracy Hall and Lamar Mitchell this episode, are Gary Muller (Department Head of Business Programs and Coordinator of the Jobs Creation Center at Catawba Valley Community College) and Jeff Neuville (Director of the Small Business Center at CVCC). They discuss entrepreneurship initiatives on the high school and college levels, and talk about the programs at CVCC that prepares students to enter the business world.

For more information: 

Catawba Valley Community College: www.cvcc.edu

Gary Muller            

Phone:828.327.7000 x4672            

Email: gmuller@cvcc.edu


Jeff Neuville            

Phone:828.327.7000 x 4102            

Email: jneuville@cvcc.edu



Kauffman Foundation announcement about selecting CVCC as one of three colleges to implement their Innovation Fund of America program: http://www.kauffman.org/newsroom/kauffman-foundation-lorain-county-community-college-select-3-schools-to-pilot-entrepreneurship-education-funding-program.aspx.



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Education Matters 16: Conover Station and Manufacturing Solutions Center: A Public-Private Partnership for Manufacturing Innovations, Workforce Development and Education

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Dec 11, 2012

Some innovations in manufacturing have come to Conover, NC that are opening the door for unique educational opportunities for area students.  Dan St. Louis & Donald Duncan sit down with hosts Tracy Hall and Lamar Mitchell to discuss these developments and how the public and private sectors worked together to bring about the Conover Station and Manufacturing Solutions Center.  

For more information visit www.manufacturingsolutionscenter.org and www.conoverstation.com

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Education Matters 15: Anti-bullying Initiatives in Catawaba County Schools

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, Nov 15, 2012

The Education Matters podcast welcomes Dr. Dan Brigman, Catawba County Schools Superintendent and Kathryn Nelson, junior at Fred T. Foard High School and Girl Scout to discuss some major initatives going on in our school systems to help combat bullying.  See the details below to get more information!

Rachel's Challenge:


Stand Up Speak Out in Catawba County:


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Education Matters 14: Celebrating Diversity

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Wed, Oct 17, 2012

Now is the time to "Celebrate Cultural Diversity"!  Join Tracy and Lamar as they welcome their guests, Idris Stover, Vice President & Manager for BB&T's Affirmative Action & Diversity Programs and Steve O. Hunt, Executive Director for CVCC's Office of Multicultural Affairs, to this latest episode of Education Matters.  

You can find out more at: 
CVCC Office of Multicultural Affairs http://www.cvcc.edu/About_Us/Multicultural_Office/

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Education Matters 13: Get the Not Out of Your Life - Future Workforce Alliance

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Sep 18, 2012

This episode, Education Matters is proud to present a new campaign by the Future Workforce Alliance called "Get NOT Out of Your Life". FWA intends to significantly increase the percentage of working-aged adults who attain degrees, earn certificates, or complete other advanced training beyond high school that has a direct relevance to the region's workforce. Listen in as Lamar and Tracy are joined for further info by some key players in this initiative and learn what you can do to assist helping this program succeed!

The 2012 Catawba County Early Childhood Conference will be Saturday September 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tarlton Complex at CVCC. The conference is titled "Back to School Blast: Building Better Bodies and Brains" and features Dr. Jean Feldman. Visit www.catawbakids.com today to register. Registration is $25 by September 7 and $30 by September 21. Registration includes a box lunch, door prizes and training materials.

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Education Matters 12: Art Education - Creativity, Careers & Innovation

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Aug 07, 2012

When schools look at streamlining their budgets the Arts are often the first programs cut.  In studio today with hosts Tracey Hall & Lamar Mitchell are two folks with some thoughts on why keeping the Arts around is vital to having a complete, well-rounded education.  Kim Ellington, Director of the Potters’ Workshop, discusses how the pottery traditions of Catawba County influence Art Education while Brian Morris, Department Head for Applied & Fine Arts at Catawba Valley Community College, talks about the career potential for students that get in-touch with their artistic side.

Running Time: 45 minutes

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Education Matters 11: Classrooms of the Future

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, Jun 21, 2012

As usual, the Education Matters team addresses the major topics in Catawba County education.  Join us this episode as we welcome Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President of CVCC, Dr. Walter Hart, Superintendent, Hickory Public Schools, and Dr. David Stegall, Associate Superintendent, Newton-Conover Schools to the microphones.  The guests today have a vested interest in the future of education and feel a lot depends on the community involvement through local businesses.  The importance of partnerships along with technology, and the unique opportunity we have to offer access for all students through multiple types of learning environments makes for some interesting conversation!  Don’t miss this powerful episode!

Running Time: 49 minutes

For more information on the organizations represented in this episode, visit their web sites (listed below):
Catawba Valley Community College: www.cvcc.edu
Hickory Public Schools: www.hickoryschools.net
Newton-Conover City Schools: www.nccs.k12.nc.us
Catawba County Schools: www.catawbaschools.net

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Education Matters 10: Internships and Apprenticeships

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, May 15, 2012

Education Matters goes outside their “norm” this month by bringing on some unique guests – students! Tracy and Lamar welcome Logan and Jacob from local high schools to speak about their current internship and apprenticeship. Is it guiding them to their ideal career path? Or does the “real world” intimidate students? Sharon Turner, the Career Development Coordinator for Catawba County Schools, steps in to explain the benefits of programs like these and how local businesses are not only helping students prepare for the future, but are benefiting from the experience as well. Listen in and see how you, your children, or business could gain from this program!

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Education Matters 9: Nontraditional & Unique Learning

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Wed, Apr 18, 2012

In this episode of Education Matters your hosts Tracy Hall and Lamar Mitchell invite guests Trina Williams, Career and Technical Education Coordinator for Hickory Public Schools, and Geoff Crosson, The Discovery High School English Department Chair for Newton-Conover City Schools, to discuss the growing trend of the nontraditional high schools who create a unique learning environment to both cultivate and educate the youth of the Catawba Valley. These educational institutions include coursework from college classes, career & technical instruction and the capabilities to better develop a trade that will help students enter the workforce or continue with higher education. Join the talk on Education Matters as we discuss the benefits and impact on student success that these nontraditional high schools offer. Find out the future of these schools and more on this episode of Education Matters. Running Time: 45

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Education Matters 8: Education Matters Extreme STEM Tour

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Wed, Mar 14, 2012

This episode of Education Matters brings a round table discussion featuring your hosts Tracy Hall and Lamar Mitchell with guests Dale Mull, president of Flowers Baking Company in Newton, NC; Carol Moore, science curriculum coordinator of Catawba County schools; and Karen Cale, career and technical education director for Catawba County schools. These panelists engage in a discussion involved the recent Education Matters Extreme STEM Tour that took place in Catawba County during the month of March. The tour provided a five-day period that brought 1400 8th grade students and staff behind the scenes of science, technology, engineering and math focused occupations. The mission of this program was to introduce students to a growing sector of the workforce that will provide them greater opportunities than what the may realize. Join the talk on Education Matters as we discuss the affects programs such as the Education Matters Extreme STEM Tour has on young people and their education. Running Time: 47 min

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Education Matters 7: Poverty and Education

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Jan 17, 2012

In this week’s episode of Education Matters, Lamar and Tracy tackle the issue of disadvantaged youth, opportunities provided for them and the effects of poverty on the education of young people. Astonishing statistics set the stage for an in depth discussion on the trials that disadvantaged youth face, the stress that poverty has on their education and health, and the importance of communication within a community.

Special guests Alanda Jackson, executive director of the Hickory Housing Authority and Amanda Freeland, Parent Program Coordinator for Catawba County Dept. of Social Services emphasize the work that is being done behind the scenes to provide relief for disadvantaged youth and encourage listeners to lend a helping hand in helping motivate and inspire the leaders of tomorrow. From hunger to sickness, and from embarrassment to pride, this week’s episode of Education Matters integrates local issues into a national epidemic that is affecting millions of youth across the country.

For more information on the programs and events mentioned in this episode, please visit the following links:

To find out how you can help, you can contact Alanda Jackson at ajackson@hickoryhouse.org, and Amanda Freeland at afreeland@catawbacountync.gov.

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Education Matters 6: Fostering Business Partnerships

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Tue, Dec 13, 2011

Join Tracy and Lamar for a discussion with special guests, Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, President of Catawba Valley Community College and John Bray, President/CEO of Vanguard Furniture, regarding the importance of building partnerships between businesses and education. Workforce development, higher education availability, preparing for the economic future, and much more are discussed in this very important episode.

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Education Matters 5: Math, Science, and Robots!

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Mon, Nov 14, 2011

Creative, abstract, innovation... Math? Joining Lamar and Tracy this month on Education Matters with guests Dr. Jeffrey Isenhour Principal of Jacobs Fork Middle School and Crystal Glenn, Executive Director of CVCC Workforce Development & Innovation Center. The group discusses the growing need for math, robotics, and science in the business world today. What are our schools doing to enforce that? What can get these kids excited about these fields? Education Matters - so tune in and educate yourself!

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Education Matters 4: Preparing Students for Careers

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Thu, Oct 20, 2011

Tracy and Lamar bring in two special guests - Cynthia Eades, Human Resources Director for Catawba County, and Todd Ashworth, Financial Consultant with Renaissance Financial Managers - to talk about the importance of getting businesses to connect with students. The group talks about how, with better preparation, students can become more competitive in the future job market. What does the future hold and what more can we do?

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Education Matters 3: Preschool Education

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Sun, Sep 11, 2011

Tracy and Lamar discuss the importance of Preschool Education and the challenges these programs are facing across the state. Their special guests this month are Kim Salyards, Executive Director for the Catawba County Partnership for Children, and Brice Melton, Development Head for Early Childhood, Health and Physical Education for Catawba Valley Community College. To visit the web site for the Catawba County Partnership for Children, please visit http://www.catawbakids.com/. To visit the web site for Catawba Valley Community College, please visit http://www.cvcc.edu/.

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Education Matters 2: Mentoring

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Fri, Aug 12, 2011

Lamar and Tracy bring in special guests Chris Johnson with Young People of Integrity and John Eller with Catawba County Social Services to talk about the concept of "mentoring" and the impact it can make on students. The group also discusses how best to implement a mentoring program, and specifically talk about their "Lunch Buddies" program for helping middle school students.

To learn more about the "Lunch Buddy" program, download a flyer at this link.

To learn more about the Young People of Integrity program, please visit http://www.youngpeopleofintegrity.org.

To sign up to be a Lunch Buddy mentor, contact either Lamar Mitchell at lmitchell@championsofeducation.org and 828-324-6966 x2028 or Chris Johnson at ladell222000@yahoo.com or 828-228-4110.

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Education Matters 1: Why Education Matters

info@themesh.tv (The MESH)
Fri, Jul 15, 2011

Lamar Mitchell from Champions of Education and Tracy Hall from Education Matters discuss the format of their new show, address the budget issues facing the educational community in North Carolina, and talk about ways organizations or individuals can get involved with helping make "education matter" in our area.

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