Western Carolina University has received a $500,000 grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation to help expand engineering education across Western North Carolina through a partnership with regional community colleges.
The funding will support WCU’s efforts to ensure a seamless transition for community college students who want to earn four-year degrees in engineering through the implementation of engineering pathway courses at community colleges and the recruitment of qualified students into the program.
Asheville-Buncombe Technical, Blue Ridge and Isothermal community colleges are initial partners in the effort, which will eventually include WNC community colleges from Rutherfordton in the east to Murphy in the west.
The grant, awarded out of the foundation’s Essential Skills in Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, will help produce qualified workers for manufacturers, including some of the region’s largest private-sector employers, said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president.
The funding will provide support for Western Carolina’s recently announced undergraduate program in engineering at its instructional site at Biltmore Park Town Square, and will supplement advanced manufacturing engineering education on the campus in Cullowhee, said James Zhang, dean of WCU’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.
For more information about engineering at WCU, visit engineering.wcu.edu.