Person County May 2022

Population
40,315

County Seat
Roxboro

Median Income
$51,020

Population Density Designation
Rural

Our visit to Person County was hosted by Piedmont Community College (PCC). We began our visit with a presentation providing context on the college and the community it serves delivered by PCC President Dr. Pamela Senegal and her team.

“We are the hometown college for the residents we serve,” noted Dr. Senegal as she opened her presentation. Senegal noted that the college lives out this tagline because “nearly 80% of our students who receive a credential or degree remain in our area.”

The college’s long-term vision is focused on students finding gainful employment. The college’s three pillars were described as equity, completion and success.

Person County sits just north of Durham County — and while it is considered part of the Raleigh-Durham Metropolitan Area, the North Carolina Rural Center designates the county as rural. According to Senegal, the college serves roughly 10% of the residents of the county in a given year.

We also heard about the state of health care in the area from Person Memorial Hospital Chief Financial Officer David Francis. Francis and Senegal shared more on the collaboration between the college and the hospital to produce homegrown health care workers. Francis noted it is vital given the persistent nursing shortage. Despite the challenges around health care workforce, Francis indicated that “patient satisfaction is on the rise” for the hospital.

Latasha Bradford, PCC’s Student Body President, and Tiffany Skouby, Director of Student Engagement, provided us with an overview of a statewide survey they conducted for community college students. The survey indicated mental health was one of the top challenges for students — and many students illustrated the challenge of accessing non-academic support at their local educational institution. For example, only 11 of the 58 community colleges statewide have childcare centers according to Bradford and Skouby.

Following the presentations, we toured campus — including the childcare center. According to Senegal, PCC operates one of two five-star childcare centers in Person County. The childcare center provides two- to five-year-old children with full-time childcare. The college indicated they would love to provide childcare for birth to two years old and drop-in childcare for adult students if they had the workforce and space to support them.

As we departed PCC, Senegal reminded us, “Our goal is to be the best rural college in the country.”

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, 6/22