SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Rowan-Cabarrus Community College recently moved three technical programs to the College's Cabarrus Business and Technology Center (CBTC) on Highway 29.
Electrical Systems Technology, Electronics Engineering Technology and Construction Management Technology programs are now housed with the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology (AHR) and Information Technology (IT) departments.
The move is three-fold, according to Dr. Hasan Naima, dean of the College's engineering and business technologies programs. First, the movement of programs will accommodate the bond projects taking place on North Campus. Secondly, each of the three programs is receiving updates. Most importantly, consolidation of the programs in a single location makes sense for the programs because of how the division's certificate program is structured in conjunction with AHR and IT.
Naima explains that certifications are "stackable." The more a student adds, the better his or her workplace qualifications, and the higher their potential salary.
"We are doing customized training in all the fields," Naima says. "Our mission is better wages and better training to help students get back to the middle class."
Naima acknowledges that the community college is the backbone of education for the workforce. "We are an affordable, accessible place for learning and training."
Combining the five programs in one central location helps create that accessibility, Naima says. "We have to work smart. Innovation is utilitizing what you have in a new approach."
The electrical program is now situated in one wing of the CBTC. New equipment still waits in huge wooden crates in the hallway. The fresh smell of plywood greets students as they work in the electrical lab, filled with fuse boxes, pipes and other equipment. The existing AHR area was once two classrooms, but is now one expansive space filled with all sorts of industry equipment used for hands-on learning.
The electronic engineering and electrical programs share one lab, and the electronic engineering program has its own dedicated lab. These programs often overlap, according to Naresh Arora, program chair of electronics engineering.
In the shared lab, students learn about AC and DC power, along with digital and analog signals. They learn to use devices which troubleshoot many types of electronic equipment. These include the multimeter, which measures frequency, voltage and current, and the oscilloscope, which shows students what wave circuits look like.
All of this troubleshooting can now be simulated via computer, but it's important to learn on the actual equipment, too, Arora says. Students also build virtual circuits on the computer.
"Electronics are everywhere," Arora says, "encompassing everything from the lights in the ceiling to the cellphones in our pockets."
Naima says that an advisory committee of area business professionals works with the CBTC to inform training and certification options.
"We meet with them and listen to industry changes," Naima says. "We continually adjust our teaching."
After they go to work, Naima says, students return to the College for further training. "They see the beauty of achievement and they come back."
"It's also a way to increase their salary", he adds.
Even with the shifting of programs, Naima says he still needs more space. "Our program is growing."