Scotland County October 2021

Population
35,767

County Seat
Laurinburg

Median Income
$37,238

Population Density Designation
Rural

In Scotland County, we arrived at the Honeycutt Center — the Scotland County location for Richmond Community College in Laurinburg. The center hosts students who are interested in Practical Nursing, Heating and Air Conditioning Technology, and Workforce and Economic Development. Students who would like to become registered nurses are required to complete Certified Nurse Aide training, which is offered at the center through the Allied Health Program.

We met with Dr. Dale McInnis, President of RCC. Joining President McInnis were several representatives from the city and county government. Mark Ward, the Director of Economic Development for Scotland County, noted that while access to affordable education is vital for the economic development of a community, the average income for a family of four in Scotland County is $30,000 or less. Amid layoffs and waning opportunities at the start of the pandemic, college administrators and local officials were faced with an even bigger challenge.

Scotland County has one of the highest numbers of residents claiming unemployment. Lack of low-skilled and service industry job opportunities is hurting residents and the local economy. According to McInnis, officials who want to help their residents thrive are focusing on “job availability, career sustainability and salary strength.”

McInnis discussed how the “pandemic paralysis” that plagues the globe has been deeply felt in rural parts of the country. The administration and faculty at RCC are working hard to inspire residents to live better lives and catalyze their transformation.

They see health care as a gateway for personal enrichment and local development. There are 40 rural counties in the state with a large portion of the population aging into retirement. Administrators at RCC are hyper-aware of the growing need for health care providers in these areas and are making efforts to meet the demand.

Our group also heard from Greg Wood, President and CEO of the Scotland Health Care System. Wood is working hard to build an environment that retains health care providers with better pay. He also meets with young students who show an interest in the profession early on.

RCC has a successful early college program for high school students. The institution hopes to build a program that graduates 40 nurses a year who will stay in the area, work at Scotland Memorial Hospital and thrive.

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, 12/21