I am writing to keep you informed of our progress at NCIA’s Charlotte HJH Vocational Training Center during this COVID-19 pandemic. We are certainly in the midst of challenging times, but our staff and leadership have stepped up to honor the commitment we have made to our students.
As I informed you in our last update, our first cohort began on January 21st with 45 students in a temporary location. We moved into our permanent location on Blairhill Road at the beginning of March, and it is an excellent training facility for our variety of vocational training courses. We are excited about eventually showing it off to you!
Since our students are now confined to their residences (many of our Charlotte students live in shelters) our staff in both Baltimore and Charlotte worked diligently to put together a distance-learning curriculum. We had been using cell phones we purchased for our students for instructions and have been using WebEx to communicate with our students. However, now that we are moving into more advanced instruction, we have determined that our lessons and curriculum need a more advanced platform. As a result, we have purchased computer tablets for all of our students, and are distributing them this week. Additionally, we have purchased some virtual reality software for instruction, which will allow our students to participate even more.
We are pleased to report that we have been able to retain over 40 students in this virtual training model. Clearly our students (and staff) are anxious to get our “hands-on” training in their respective trade, but during this crisis our staff have been exemplary in maintaining communication with each student. We have also completed our Workforce Development module, and have been working diligently in assisting our students with various barrier removal issues.
In sum, our dedicated and resourceful staff in Charlotte, supported by our Baltimore VTC team, remain committed to our students during this difficult time, and the students are appreciative of our efforts. We want to thank you for your continued support of our efforts and look forward to our eventual grand opening.
Please keep safe and continue to pray for an end to this crisis. If you have any questions, please contact Katie Hoelter, the Executive Director of our Charlotte VTC at 704.352.7402.