College Plans Strategic Expansion for Workforce Development

RALEIGH, NC (September 21, 2022) – Wake Technical Community College, the state’s largest community college, is planning a four-year strategic expansion to meet the workforce training needs of our growing community. Wake Tech’s $353.2million Workforce Forward bond, on the ballot in November, will fund high priority projects in four strategic areas: the expansion of health sciences programs, a permanent campus in southwestern Wake County, and more cybersecurity training at the RTP Campus, and renovations. and upgrades collegewide.

The announcement was made today at the site of a new permanent home for the college’s Western Wake Campus, to replace its current leased space in Cary. The 34-acre site is strategically located at the intersections of US 1, NC 55, and the NC 540 Triangle Expressway. Approval of the Workforce Forward bond is vital to the start of construction there.

“The Wake Tech Workforce Forward bond will ensure that our college meets the growing need for education and workforce training in our community,” said Wake Tech President Dr. Scott Ralls. “Apex is one of the fastest growing cities in our state and the entire country. With the influx of IT, biotech and life sciences companies moving to Apex, Holly Springs and Cary, the time is right for a permanent campus to prepare the talent pool these companies are counting on.”

A permanent Western Wake Campus is one of four strategic priorities for the Workforce Forward bond:

1) Perry Health Sciences Campus Expansion

Wake County’s population is aging as well as increasing, so a significant expansion of Wake Tech’s health sciences programs is the key priority of the Wake Tech Workforce Forward bond. The expansion of Wake Tech’s Perry Health Sciences Campus will include construction of a new 120,000 square foot facility. This critical new building will allow for the expansion of the college’s high demand nursing programs, and the addition of potential new programs in mental health, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and respiratory therapy. The new facility will house a Simulation Hospital supporting nursing and other degree and non-degree healthcare programs, as well as state-of-the-art laboratories for imaging programs.

2) Permanent Western Wake Campus

Wake Tech’s Western Wake Campus will be relocated from its current, leased facility to a new permanent campus in southwestern Wake County. The 34-acre site is conveniently located at the intersections of US 1, NC 55, and the NC 540 Triangle Expressway. Initial facility construction at the new site will provide permanent space for existing Western Wake Campus operations including advising, a library and classrooms/labs for business and university transfer degree programs. It will include a new Entrepreneurship Center which will be the hub for small business resources and a new Workforce Development Center, featuring IT and game development labs and industrial/biopharma training space to support the dynamic job growth in Apex, Cary and Holly Springs.

3) New Cyber ​​Science Facility on RTP Campus

Wake Tech’s RTP Campus has emerged as a major attraction for new and advanced technology companies growing in the Research Triangle region, and a unique home for education collaboration, including RTP Bio and the new Wake Early College of Information and Biotechnologies. Bond investments will support construction of the third building on the RTP Campus, to allow expansion of life science and IT programs, especially in the field of cybersecurity where demand is great. It will also allow the continued advancement of education and industry partnerships that are advancing our region.

4) Investments in Infrastructure

Funding from the Wake Tech Workforce Forward bond will support needed renovations and upgrades at Wake Tech’s original Southern Wake Campus and at all campus locations. Keeping our facilities up to date with new technologies, sustainable processes, security enhancements and accessibility upgrades is a significant part of our college’s commitment to maintain quality as we to grow to meet the workforce needs of our community.

Independent studies indicate that Wake Tech generates more than $1 billion for the local economy each year, with each dollar invested in Wake Tech generating more than $7 in added income and social savings.

The following community leaders have signed on as co-chairs of the Wake Tech Workforce Forward Bond Committee:

– Donald Gintzig, President and CEO, WakeMed Health and Hospitals

– Tim Humphrey, VP, Chief Data Officer, NC Senior State Executive IBM

– Terrence Holt, President, Holt Brothers Construction

– Maggie Kane, Founder and Executive Director, A Place at the Table

Wake Tech serves more than 70,000 students each year, and this fall saw its largest enrollment in degree programs since the pandemic started. Approximately 75% of Wake Tech students reside in Wake County, with most other students coming from contiguous counties, forming the basis of our region’s future workforce. The vast majority of Wake Tech students remain in our region after graduation and have average annual incomes almost $10,000 greater than those of high school graduates.

A national study by Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workplace ranks Wake Tech in the top 20% of all colleges and universities in the nation, and the top 10% in North Carolina, for student ROI, 10 years after graduation. Previous bond referenda for Wake Tech were overwhelmingly approved by voters, most recently in 2018.

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