Community colleges to upgrade skills of NC manufacturing workforce

“Money should never be a reason not to earn a high school equivalency diploma,” says Nicole Worley, director of College and Career Readiness (CCR) at Sandhills Community College.

Classes to help individuals meet high school diploma requirements, the High School Equivalency (HSE), and those to help them learn the English language, English Language Acquisition (ELA) are offered at no charge. Sandhills also helps students pay the cost of the HSE tests.

“Now more than ever, people need greater job security,” said Worley. “They need reliable work and to be able to earn a sustainable wage. We encourage our students to put in the time and effort now so they and their families will reap the future benefits of their efforts to achieve a solid education.

“We like to remind our students that an education is something no one can ever take from them. We have seen some of the hardest working, most determined students overcome some very tough challenges.”

The first HSE graduate of the current academic year was a young man from Raeford who wanted to work at Unilever—a leading international manufacturing corporation. He did not have a high school diploma. Worley reports that “In a matter of weeks, this young man put in the hours, met all program requirements, and advanced his way through the successful completion of the official GED® tests. This gentleman had a plan and a goal, and he let nothing stand in his way of achieving it. Sometimes our students inspire us when we thought we were inspiring them.”

This semester, CCR ran an “Attendance Challenge.” Recognized with an award, the student with the highest level of participation was honored.

According to Worley, the most recent award winner stood out not only because she outpaced her classmates in online class hours, but she also did not have internet access. To connect to her class, she sat in her backyard and, with permission, borrowed her neighbor’s WiFi.

The student is the mother of a special needs child and expecting her second child very soon and was trying to complete as much of the class as she could before her baby was born. “Now that is resilience that leaves us inspired,” said Worley.

HSE and ELA Fall Semester Classes

CCR holds HSE and ELA class opportunities in Pinehurst, Robbins, and Raeford and through an online/hybrid format.

Pinehurst classes are held Mondays through Thursdays 8 a.m.-2 p.m., and Mondays and Wednesdays 6–9 p.m.

Classes at the Robbins Center are 6–9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The Hoke Center offers classes Mondays through Thursdays 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5:30–8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The hybrid format requires prior qualification.

The completion of 10 hours per week online and attendance at one face-to-face class each month.


Seats are available for these classes. Orientation is required to be placed in the correct level class and can be completed online. For questions or to register, visit or call (910) 695-3980 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays or 9 a.m.-Noon on Fridays.

Campus Health Precautions

For the continued safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, Sandhills Community College has converted as many classes as possible to online or hybrid (online plus limited face-to-face interaction). Face/mouth coverings are required when on campus. Additional hand sanitizing stations have been installed and a deep cleaning is carried out each evening using EPA-approved disinfectants and foggers. A campus-wide sanitizing wipe down of door pulls and light switches is carried out twice each weekday and the use of water fountains has been discontinued. Service desk shields have been installed in high traffic areas.

Feature photo by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.



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