MEDIA RELEASE: Report: To Build a Strong Middle Class, North Carolina Must Support Its Community Colleges

A new report and roundtable discussion Sep. 27 will feature national experts and state leaders on breaking down financial barriers to post-secondary success

RALEIGH (Sep. 27, 2010) -- A strong community college system is one of North Carolina’s greatest achievements, but financial barriers prevent many from completing their education – and thus building a healthy middle class, a new report finds.

The report’s findings will be presented to media members -- along with other expert insights on how to build broad prosperity by boosting post-secondary education in North Carolina -- on Sep. 27 at Wake Technical Community College's main campus conference center beginning at 12 p.m.

North Carolina’s community colleges are essential for our state’s working families,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota of the NC Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center, one of the sponsoring organizations. “Helping people complete their educational programs is critical to creating shared prosperity throughout the state.”

The event will feature a roundtable discussion involving national experts, state lawmakers and the head of North Carolina’s Community College System, Dr. Scott Ralls. Rep. Rick Glazier and David Dodson of North Carolina MDC will also sit on the panel.

Plus, a representative from the non-partisan public policy research and advocacy organization Demos will present the findings of the report, “Building North Carolina’s Future Middle Class,” jointly released with the N.C. Justice Center.

To build a healthy middle class in North Carolina, we need wise public investments,” said Lucy Mayo of Demos, who will discuss the report’s findings at 12:35 p.m. “Community colleges create skilled workers who can fill the jobs of the future. Improving access builds a brighter future for everyone in North Carolina.”

Advance copies of the Demos report are available to reporters upon request.

Wake Technical Community College is located at 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603. The event takes place in the main campus Student Services Conference Center, Room 214.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, 919.861.1468, alexandra@ncjustice.org; Jeff Shaw, director of communications, NC Justice Center, 503.551.3615, jeff@ncjustice.org; Lucy Mayo, Demos, lmayo@demos.org, 212.389.1412.

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