On September 3, 2021, Golden LEAF staff met with officials from Elizabeth City State University and Fayetteville State University to discuss ways in which the universities have leveraged Golden LEAF funding and could collaborate in the future. One of the Golden LEAF Foundation’s five strategic priority areas is organizational excellence. With a focus on excellence in organizational collaboration, innovation, and impact, one of the ways Golden LEAF achieves this goal is through strategic outreach.
Each year, Elizabeth City State University hosts the Down East Viking Football Classic weekend in Rocky Mount, which is a series of events culminating with a football game. This year, Elizabeth City State University hosted Fayetteville State University.
Golden LEAF used the opportunity to gather with the two universities.
At the meeting, Elizabeth City State University Chancellor Karrie Dixon shared a recent announcement that Elizabeth City State University and United Airlines have formed a partnership that seeks to not only train future pilots, but also bring more women and people of color into the ranks of commercial aviation. Elizabeth City State University’s aviation program is the only four-year aviation degree in North Carolina.
In October 2010, the Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded $533,000 to support the design for the Elizabeth City State University Aviation Sciences Complex at the Elizabeth City Airpark. In December 2014, Golden LEAF Board awarded $1.09 million to enhance the university’s Aviation Science Program and to position it as a hub for aviation education. According to Elizabeth City State University, the Aviation Science Program currently has 153 students, of which 111 are enrolled in flight education. Last fall, the total number of students was 127, making this fall’s climb a 20.47 percent increase.
Dr. Gary Brown, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Elizabeth City State University talked about funding received through the Golden LEAF Opportunities for Work Initiative. In June 2020, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $358,000 to fund an educational and support program that targets disconnected young adults ages 18-24, including women with dependent children, the long-term unemployed, single parents, foster care participants, high school dropouts, court-referred individuals, and academically at-risk Elizabeth City State University students. Dr. Brown reported that the first of two cohorts had a total of 73 participants earning 29 credentials that led to placement of 24 participants in employment.
Greg McElveen, Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives at Fayetteville State University talked about two of the university’s Golden LEAF supported projects.
Fayetteville State University was awarded $134,200 in August 2018 to enhance training within the School of Nursing. Golden LEAF funds were used to purchase additional software and training equipment to support program growth and provide simulated health scenarios similar to experiences students will encounter in the workplace. In May 2021, Fayetteville State University’s nursing program had 35 nursing graduates. All 35 graduates have jobs in the field. The program expects to graduate 52 in December 2021, their largest class to date. Enrollment in the School of Nursing’s pre-licensure program is up 15% from the fall 2018 to the fall 2021.
In April 2020, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $199,280 to Fayetteville State University to expand the range of business services the university offers to local small businesses with growth potential. The hub will include a 2,400 square foot shared workspace and have faculty-led student teams providing operational and marketing assistance to local small businesses, as well as offer small business workshops. This project will help drive growth in jobs, revenue, and profit among businesses in Fayetteville and surrounding Tier 1 counties and contribute to workforce development among students through experiential learning. McElveen reported that Golden LEAF funding helped leverage an additional $250,000 for the hub, above and beyond prior matching commitments. He also reported the hub will leverage existing resources at Fayetteville State University and in the community including the business and economic development centers and the neighboring Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub at UNC-Pembroke.
Golden LEAF is committed to growing the talent, knowledge, and skill of the workforce, especially in rural areas. Golden LEAF offers scholarships to attend the state’s colleges and universities, including Fayetteville State University and Elizabeth City State University.
Elizabeth City State University and Fayetteville State University are surrounded by the communities we serve. Most of the school’s student populations live and work in these areas. By supporting workforce training programs that lead to quality jobs in these areas, Golden LEAF is fulfilling its mission to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities.