Regional Center to launch skills campaign

March 15, 2014

PEMBROKE — The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Regional Center has launched a campaign to transform the region’s workforce. During the first quarter of the year, the center will offer professional development programs and a cluster of stand-alone courses designed to build 21st century job skills and enrich the lives of senior citizens.

At the heart of UNCP’s outreach mission, the Regional Center will offer training in skills that stand out on resumes to win jobs and to contribute to the success and recruitment of businesses to the area.

Certification programs will include Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, Cisco networking, business leadership, accounting, grant writing, customer service, social media, communications skills and more.

Programs in leadership and management, business technology and Microsoft Office started in the new year. Ultimately, a skilled workforce can transform the region’s economy, said Derek Hunt, new director of the Regional Center.

“We are confident that we can provide high quality, relevant programs needed for building specific business skill sets,” Hunt said. “This is the realizations of the Regional Center’s mission of continuing education for economic, community and professional development.”

Hunt admits that is an ambitious initiative, and he is promoting it to business, government and nonprofits at first. Hunt said he is customizing courses to meet the specific needs of individual customers.

“With the university supporting us, we can offer high-quality programs on nearly any topic,” Hunt said. “What we are offering now is the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to be very exciting and very good for this community.”

The first round of program offerings include:

— Leadership, Management and Supervision, an intensive two-month program with two core courses — Fundamentals of Management and Managerial Effectiveness — along with sections on public speaking, finance and accounting, human resources and employee management

— Computer and Information Technology, Microsoft Office applications

— Business and Technical Communications, basic business communications, public speaking, interpersonal skills, cross-cultural, grant writing, technical writing and PowerPoint.

— Accounting and Finance, a basic course on accounting, payroll accounting and QuickBooks Pro, the acclaimed small business software.

Other certification courses in the planning stages include customer service training, database development, desktop applications, and graphic design.

A Lifelong Learning Institute is in the planning stages. It is a membership program that offers enriching and challenging experiences for older adults. Courses in investing, personal finance, digital photography, golf, social media, and Medicare are scheduled.

“By nature, continuing education programs constantly evolve to keep pace with a fast-moving world,” Hunt said.

The new Regional Center director believes he has the tools to make continuing education take off. The future is an open book for additional programs that might include nonprofit management, health advocacy, substance abuse training and more.

“UNCP is the stamp of approval for our certification programs,” Hunt said. “Employers will know the quality of our programs, and these are the skills they are looking for.

“We have the university behind us and now we need the community to respond. The real story is what’s in store for the future for partnerships and programs across the region. This could be very good for the community and we’re excited.”

For information, please contact the Regional Center via email at or call 910-775-4000.

Scott Bigelow is the director of Communications and Marketing at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.