Gaston College and CaroMont Health receive Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award
The North Carolina Community College System and the State Board of Community Colleges announced on January 24, 2023, that Gaston College and CaroMont Health are the recipients of the Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award for 2023. This award “recognizes an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated decisive involvement and firm commitment to the professional development of its employees and/or to the development of North Carolina’s workforce through its partnership efforts with one or more of the 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System.”
In announcing this award, along with other statewide excellence awards, Dr. Bill Carver, Interim President of the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), said, “Congratulations to our award winners across the state, and I thank you for your tremendous effort and impact in making North Carolina community colleges successful.”
The long-standing partnership between Gaston College and CaroMont Health has been beneficial to the two entities as well as the Gaston County community. Collaboration with Gaston County Schools resulted in the development of a health science academy at East Gaston High School, now in its fourth year of operation, and the Gaston County Early College of Medical Sciences (GCECMS), which launched in August 2021. Students at the academy and at GCECMS have active learning opportunities and complete high school and college coursework, earning certificates or diplomas in various health care professions.
The partnership has resulted in expansion of clinical simulation for Gaston College students and the larger health care community, as well as the addition of new health care programs to meet industry needs. CaroMont Health and the CaroMont Health Foundation have provided funding and the College has provided training to CaroMont employees and other health care providers. Many students who have completed health care programs at Gaston College now have positions with CaroMont Health.
The close relationship between Gaston College and CaroMont Health has effected a large number of health care apprentices who, through the College’s Apprenticeship 321 program, have received a tuition-free education and on-the-job training at CaroMont Health facilities. In 2022, CaroMont Health and the College began a 20-person practical nursing apprenticeship — the only one in North Carolina. New educational and training pathways are being discussed for 2023.
“We are honored to be recognized by NCCCS and the State Board of Community Colleges,” said Dr. John Hauser, President of Gaston College. “Our strong partnership with CaroMont Health has sparked many innovations and advances in the quality of health care service in the region, and will continue to do so.”
“The future of the health care workforce depends on innovative career pathways and student-centered education programs,” said Chris Peek, President and CEO of CaroMont Health. “Our partnership with Gaston College is a source of pride for the organization and a source of immense opportunity for our community. We are honored to be recognized for this important work.”
The Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award was established in 2006. Gaston College and Pharr Yarns, LLC, of McAdenville, N.C., were the recipients of the award in 2010.