Pamlico County July 2022

Population
13,286

County Seat
Bayboro

Median Income
$46,728

Population Density Designation
Rural

Our visit to Pamlico County began on the campus of Pamlico Community College (PCC) in Grantsboro. Over a BBQ lunch served by local catering company Nest Catering, PCC president Jim Ross welcomed us to a community conversation around education, health care, workforce and tradition in Pamlico County.

Our time began with PCC student Sarah Vieregge singing the national anthem.

“We are idealists who resolve to make decisions to benefit our entire community,” declared Ross in beginning his remarks. Ross pointed out that WalletHub recently named PCC the #2 community college in the country for student success. Ross credited part of their success to the challenge he laid down for the college to be the best college in the country at treating people well.

Ross welcomed Blue Cross NC President and CEO Dr. Tunde Sotunde to the podium immediately following his opening remarks. Sotunde shared his own learnings from the Extra Miles Tour: “Education, economic development and health go hand-in-hand. And our company, the Blue Cross NC Foundation and all of us must work to make a difference in those spaces.”

We then heard from a variety of stakeholders across the entire educational continuum, including Dr. Ervin Patrick, Director of Community Outreach, Equity, and School Improvement for Pamlico County Schools. Dr. Patrick spoke of the work in front of the K–12 system stating, “A big part of my job is to bring the public back into public schools.”

We also heard about challenges around educating the future health care workforce. Lori Giles, the head of continuing education for PCC, noted the limited health care infrastructure in the county also creates a challenge in providing health education through needed clinical sites.

Another issue brought up by community leaders included access to childcare. Numerous folks pointed out that only one childcare center exists that takes infants at present. Beth Bucksott, the Director of Economic Development for the county, noted the lack of access to childcare is often brought up by businesses when they are courted to come to Pamlico County.

“’Where do we find childcare?’ is the common question,” noted Bucksott.

Other challenges raised included a declining birthrate, access to quality workforce housing, closing the digital divide and reducing the out-migration of young residents. Tim Buck, the county manager, noted bolstering entrepreneurship and increasing access to broadband would likely spark the most significant change for the county for many of their challenges.

Despite the challenges raised, the residents we heard from were positive about the future of the county given their affordable quality of life, the array of groups working together to create change and proximity to a growing New Hanover County. Ross ended our visit on a high note when he declared: “I am a card-carrying optimist. I’ll gladly admit it. Our future is bright here in Pamlico.”

Meet Dr. Algie Gatewood

Dr. Algie Gatewood is only the fourth President to lead Alamance Community College (ACC) since it opened in 1958. During Dr. Gatewood’s tenure at ACC, the college won its largest ever bond referendum – nearly $40 million – in 2018 to fund a number of major capital projects and expansions. The college also secured $16 million in county funding in 2014 to build the Advanced Applied Technology Center. Other notable accomplishments include creating a Biotechnology Center of Excellence, introducing an Early College, facilitating an apprenticeship program, and introducing nearly two dozen new academic programs and articulation agreements with state universities.

U39702, 9/22