Monthly Archives: September 2018

Durham Tech Small Business Center, Corporate Services moving to Chesterfield Building

Durham Tech is launching a new downtown Durham location.

The Durham Tech Small Business Center and Corporate Education department will be housed in the redeveloped Chesterfield Building in the 700 block of West Main Street.

The new location will open in Fall 2018.

“The Chesterfield, with its focus on innovation and entrepreneurship, is a great fit for our Small Business Center and Corporate Services team,” said Beth Payne, Dean and Department Head of Corporate Services at Durham Tech. “The new location will have a mix of offices, a computer lab, classroom and collaboration space, as well as a resource library for small business owners and entrepreneurs”

The Corporate Education department at Durham Tech offers continuing education and training to organizations, covering such topics including management and leadership development, interpersonal skills, communications, and employee health and safety.

The Small Business Center at Durham Tech is part of the North Carolina Small Business Center Network and offers the following services ranging from courses and advice on marketing, sales and business plans, to technical assistance and business seminars.

The six-story Chesterfield Building was originally built in 1948 and operated as a cigarette manufacturing factory for the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company. After being vacant for nearly 20 years, Wexford Science + Technology redeveloped the property in 2017.

Other tenants include Duke University, BioLabs NC, Nutanix, and Validic.

“We look forward to bringing our services for corporate clients, students, and entrepreneurs to The Chesterfield and to have the opportunity to forge new and stronger partnerships that support our business community,” Payne said. ”There is so much history and so much potential – and the amazing atrium. We’re excited about our future at The Chesterfield.”

Durham Tech students gain access to work-based learning scholarships thanks to Wells Fargo

The Wells Fargo Foundation recently granted $10,000 to the Durham Technical Community College Foundation to fund work-based learning scholarships.

The grant will provide 20 scholarships for students in the Career and Technical Education program for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters.

“Work-based learning provides practical work experience and network connections for students. By extending classroom learning with real life experience, students will be more confident and capable as they move out of college and into employment,” said Melissa Chappell, Executive Director of the Durham Tech Foundation.

More than half of the 20 programs in the Career and Technical Education program require students to participate in work-based learning opportunities while other programs list work-based learning as an elective or as part of the individual program’s capstone requirements.

Students often find it difficult to complete work-based learning hours due to other obligations such as their own jobs, family, and course load, according to Chappell. The scholarships will provide stipends to their recipients to help ease any financial burden the recipient may face by trying to complete an unpaid internship while also working to support their schooling and families.

“Wells Fargo is proud to support students on their journey for higher education and professional development,” said Carla Addison, Regional Banking District Manager and Durham Market President for Wells Fargo. “Through continued support of Durham Tech and its students, Wells Fargo is ensuring the next generation of innovators and community leaders have access to the resources they need to be successful.”

To date, Wells Fargo has given Durham Tech $115,000 for work-based learning scholarships which have been awarded to more than 140 students.

More recently, Wells Fargo granted the College $10,000 in summer 2017 for 20 scholarships for the 2017-18 academic year. All scholarships were distributed, and all the recipients finished the required 160 hours of worked-based learning in programs such as Information Technology, Medical Office Administration, Web Development, Network Security, Accounting and Finance, and Biomedical Equipment Technology.

“The College is grateful for Wells Fargo’s commitment to our students,” Chappell said.

Durham Tech partners with children’s nonprofit, Durham Public Schools to provide free eyeglasses to kids

A child gets fitted for eyeglasses by Durham Tech graduate, now instructor, Lance Reese.

Elyse Yooley remembers what it felt like to wear her first pair of glasses.

“It was like, ‘Whoa, there are actually leaves on those trees,’” she said.

This fall, Yooley will enter her second year of the Opticianry Associate Degree program at Durham Technical Community College.

As a second-year opticianry student, Yooley will join her classmates in participating in Project SIGHT. Project SIGHT is a partnership Durham Tech has with the East Durham Children’s Initiative, or EDCI, and Durham Public Schools to provide children of low-income backgrounds with free eyeglasses.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the outcome of what I will be doing and seeing the kids’ faces when they put on the glasses,” Yooley said. “I want to see the kids’ faces when they see the leaves on the trees.”

The students at Durham Tech select, fit, measure, manufacture, and dispense the eyewear based off prescriptions submitted by area optometry doctors.

“It is gratifying to think we are going to do something that is going to matter a lot in this kid’s life,” said Gerri Clark, a 2018 Durham Tech opticianry graduate. “One of the best things is putting a pair of glasses on a kid, especially when they can’t see.”

The young clients sometimes come to the Durham Tech optical shop for their fittings.

Tracy Bennett, the Director of and Instructor in the Opticianry program, enjoys observing the moment the kids receive their new glasses.

“You will see them look at their parents and see their parents for the first time,” she said. “It’s really heartwarming. It’s those types of things that keep this going. It keeps us wanting to do it.”

Project SIGHT was piloted during the 2017-18 academic year with the initial goal of providing 100 free pairs. That goal was exceeded by 60 pairs.

A full family was among the recipients.

“One of the kids was -19. A -19 prescription is extremely high,” Bennett said. “For that family to afford a new pair of glasses all in the same year is impossible. … You are talking about a $2,000 investment.

We were over the moon that we were able to get them all fitted for glasses.”

Being a former opticianry student, opticianry instructor Lance Reese understands how this type of community outreach can affect the Durham Tech student.

“We teach our students to go out and work in a retail setting,” he said. “This part touches a section of the population that doesn’t necessarily come up to the retail stores or can afford glasses and teaches our students … to just take care of all people who need glasses.

It gets us out of the building and into the community, and anytime, you can get into the community to help people is a good thing.”

Graduates have also returned to assist with the project.

“I think students leave here with a new appreciation for community service and what they can give back through their profession,” Bennett said.

Project SIGHT is primarily funded by the Durham Tech Foundation and private donations.

Local optometry doctors conduct free comprehensive eye exams, while businesses donate frames and lens.

“We try to provide the kids with some good styles, too,” Bennett said. “We are trying to branch out and work with different vendors to get more name-brand styles.”

The program chiefly has served elementary school students but has reached students as old as 14.

Bennett would like the program to grow and reach any student in the Durham Public Schools system that’s in need. She also would like to educate the public about the importance of eye health and comprehensive health exams.

“We want this to be a sustainable thing,” she said. “We want this to be continuous and to expand it. We see so much value in it.”

The Opticianry program also provides free eyeglasses to other organizations such as Samaritan Health Center and Durham Rescue Mission.

“It is gratifying to know that the work we were doing had real-life consequences,” said John, a 2018 Durham Tech opticianry graduate.

Durham Tech offers the only opticianry degree program in North Carolina.

Summer camp keeps local students’ skills sharp during break

Victor Mendoza plays a game with two summer camp students.

Danielle Dourson admits that she would often forget what she had learned during the school year while she was on summer break.

Dourson was one of the Durham Technical Community College students who helped the children of McDougald Terrace keep their math, reading, and science skills sharp this summer during the Summer Fun Camp. The weekly camp began June 25 and ran until Aug. 3.

“We try new things every day depending on their focus that day,” said Dourson, who finished her studies at Durham Tech this summer. “We try to play games with them and then try to make the game into something fun that’s also academic.”

Durham Tech partnered with Durham Housing Authority, Durham County Library, and Book Harvest to present the free camp to the young residents of the housing community.

“Interacting with these campers is very rewarding,” said Patrick Morris, Durham Tech Center for Academic Excellence director. “It’s been fun working with our partners and seeing how Durham Tech can fit in and what needs we can fill.”

The six-week camp was geared towards elementary and middle school students.

Morris along with Durham Tech students Dourson, Victor Mendoza, and Zac Mills had the campers twice a week. Each week’s lessons and activities were based around a central theme.

The first week, for example, was World Records Week.

“One day, we did this measuring activity where they had to find out how tall they were in inches, how tall they were in crayons, how tall they were in all these different types of measurements,” Morris said.

Dourson liked tapping into some of the campers’ competitive nature.

“What I was doing today was having them race to see who could do the multiplication exercises faster, which I did when I was in third grade,” she said.

Dourson, who is now studying communications at NC State University, said she has served as an after-school and camp counselor and one day would like to have a job working with children.

The Durham Tech participants also provided the campers with more traditional camp activities.

During the week in July that was focused around dinosaurs, the elementary and middle school students engaged in an outdoors scavenger hunt. They were given sheets to complete during the hunt; those who finished the sheets could pick out a prize of a plastic dinosaur.

As the hunt roared on outside, Mendoza stood patiently inside with the prize bag. Winners soon trickled in and approached Mendoza, who would then hold the bag open for the kids to reach in and select their reward.

Mendoza, a former elementary school teacher, said developing a connection with the campers took a little bit of time but, after a couple sessions, the connection started growing stronger.

“They are really nice. They are really cool,” Mendoza said as the campers approached him. “They are just high energy but that’s just kids.”

Mendoza and Mills continue to help elementary and middle school students living at McDougald Terrace by tutoring them and helping them with their homework after school.

Danielle Dourson helps a summer camp student with an academic exercise.

From the ground up: Durham Tech students build tiny house for Habitat family

Mike Murphy (left) and Sergey Onkst-Petersen (right) put final touches on tiny house.

The bangs and pops and zips of construction equipment seemed to echo off the spanning Durham Tech parking lot on a nearly empty Saturday morning in January.

A miniature house protruded from the asphalt with 12 Durham Tech students clinging to the angles and sides.

In six-hour shifts every Saturday for four semesters, students hammered, nailed, and caulked their way to build a one bedroom tiny home to be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Durham to serve someone in need.

“It’s really awesome to know this house will impact someone’s life,” said Donna Bauer, a Durham Tech student. “It was great to see the whole process from the ground up. This experience has given me so much confidence and knowledge.”

The tiny house project was funded by a grant from the Bank of America Foundation in May 2016 to contribute to Habitat’s tiny house initiative, while also providing a learning experience for Durham Tech students.

Maryah Smith-Overton, Director of the Construction Trades program at Durham Tech, said the project also addresses Durham’s affordable housing crisis.

“This is the only opportunity that students have to build from the ground up and that’s been really valuable,” Smith-Overton said. “It’s not only impacting someone’s life, but because it’s collaborative with Habitat it’s providing affordable housing to someone in Durham, which is crucial at this time.”

With a multi-phased project, Smith-Overton said she gets to teach a variety of skills and trades and students have an opportunity to see the interaction. On the tiny house, she said, students in the Electrical Systems Technology program helped install the electrical work.

“The project started with people who had never used a circular saw and now leaving with so many new skills,” Smith-Overton said. “This has been such great experience. I would start another one tomorrow if I could.”

Kelley Massengale, another Durham Tech student who worked on the project, said she enrolled in the course to learn basic carpentry, but found the community impact side even more rewarding.

Maryah Smith-Overton

“I wanted to learn carpentry skills to do projects in my own house and this provided an opportunity to not only learn, but to help someone in the community,” said Kelley Massengale. “It’s exciting to know we’re playing a part in improving someone’s life.”

Durham Tech President Bill Ingram said the grant-funded project provides a unique experience for students to receive a variety of skills while impacting the community.

“We are grateful for the support and generosity of Bank of America in providing our students with this distinctive learning opportunity to build a tiny house,” Dr. Ingram said. “These initiatives allow our students to both develop essential workplace skills and give back to the community through Habitat for Humanity.”

The house is scheduled to be moved to a community of similarly styled homes in Durham this year.

For Smith-Overton, the tiny house project is a first step in a larger campaign for increased construction trades programs at Durham Tech. Along with machining, welding, and industrial trades degrees offered at the College, she hopes to build a larger skilled trades department that packages needed credentials for a booming construction industry in the Triangle.

One way she hopes to do that is through apprenticeship programs.

“The tiny house build and our apprenticeship programs give students the experience of building from the ground up, moving between the classroom and hands-on building projects throughout training,” Smith-Overman said. “Apprentices are applying what they’ve learned to the on-the-job component of the apprenticeship program, which runs anywhere from two to four years.”

As the construction industry soars in Durham and Orange counties, Smith-Overman said she’s working to keep up with the needs.

“My vision for the future of construction trades at Durham Tech is to continue to expand programming in the trades, while providing more work-based learning opportunities for students so they can meet local employers and find long-term employment,” she said. “We’ll work to provide our students skills and training to take part in the growth that is happening all around us.”

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Here we GROW again!

Durham Tech welcomes the following new employees:

Daryl Rogers – Student Information and Records Data Processing Specialist
Cynthia Hill – Purchasing Technician
Candace Nolan – Transcript Evaluation Specialist
James Park – Director/Instructor, Advanced Manufacturing Program
Brian Stevenson – Coordinator, Student Accounts
Altarius Moody – Interim Director/Instructor, Hospitality Management

Let’s celebrate September anniversaries and birthdays!

September Anniversaries (Years)
Kathy Zarilla (29); Peter Wooldridge (27); Carolyn Henderson (26); Betty Lyons (25); Tammy Nelson (17); Liz Filipowski (17); LaShon Harley (13); O’Keishe Wright (11); Judy Hunter (8); Rebecca McClain (8); William Schuck (8); Shaunecey Johnson (6); Rex Horton (5); Kimberly Boyce (2); Annie Gill (2); Oluwunmi Ariyo (1); Precious Vines (1)

September Birthdays (Day)
Yolanda Moore-Jones (2); Donnetta Miller (4); Glen Fisher (5); John Lee (8); O’Dell Hill (10); Michele Alexandre (10); Christy Walker (11); Marye Vance (12); Wanda Sutton (13); LaTonya Steele (14); Glenda Morris (14); Dorene MacKinnon (15); Angela Boone (19); Dean Blackwelder (19); Michael Bellardini (21); Penny Gluck (24); Amy Netzel (26); Larry Carter (28); Tayonda Saunders (29); Deborah Maloney (30)

Designing the future of Durham Tech

Kevin G. Montgomery (left) and Carmen Williams (right)

Kevin G. Montgomery peered down at a miniature model of the Durham Tech main campus and pointed to a number of places where future buildings and a plaza are slated to go.

Montgomery, the President and Chief Operating Officer at O’Brien Atkins Associates, has been involved in nearly 30 years of renovation and reinvigoration projects for Durham Tech. His architecture firm has redesigned several buildings on the main campus off Lawson Street and in recent years has taken on the master strategic plans for future capital growth on all three Durham Tech campuses.

Following a 2016 voter-approved county bond, O’Brien Atkins was awarded a bid for the renovation of the George W. Newton Industrial & Engineering Technologies Center and the creation of a new Applied Heath Technologies building between Cooper and Lawson streets.

The long-term vision and layout for projected growth are part of Durham Tech President Bill Ingram’s dream for the future of the College. The expansions are geared toward high-demand industries and essential programs for coming years.

That’s a key difference for the future, Montgomery said.

“We’re looking to create a campus,” he said, “not just an individual collection of buildings. We’re also looking to build with purpose, specifically for the needs, instead of adapting existing buildings to fit programs. That’s a different attitude.”

Along with more space, President Ingram is looking to outfit buildings with more collaborative working environments and cutting edge technology to make sure Durham Tech students are industry ready.

“Durham and Orange counties are growing and we’re positioning Durham Tech to be not just a part of that growth – but a leader in it,” Ingram said. “Our students and graduates are the foundation of our communities and by forging great futures for them, we’re only bettering the future for ourselves.”

Montgomery, who first stepped on the Lawson Street campus for an evening computer class in the early 1990s, said the College has changed significantly over the years.

In addition to providing continuing education courses and personal interest classes, Durham Tech offers a host of opportunities for students looking for university transfer opportunities, health care careers, or industrial trade jobs.

Inside an O’Brien Atkins boardroom on a July Monday, Montgomery invites in one of his new employees, Durham Tech Architectural Technology graduate Carmen Williams.

“If all graduates are like Carmen, then employers in the area can expected talented, dedicated Durham Tech students who want to learn and grow,” he said.

The long relationship with Durham Tech has become personal over his three decades in Durham.

As a former student, a former Durham Tech Foundation board member, and a long-time advocate of Durham, he pays special attention to the impact O’Brien Atkins has on future growth at Durham Tech.

“The faculty and staff at Durham Tech care for the students. They’re committed to education. They are people I see every day,” Montgomery said. “I believe in this community. I believe in Durham Tech.”