After World War II, North Carolina’s economy shifted from an agricultural
base to an economy
rooted in industrial production. With this shift came the
realization that education and training
beyond high school would be needed to maintain a productive, competitive
North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Education called for a
community college system, and the state’s General Assembly passed
the Community College
Act in 1957. The Act created the NCCC System (arts and science
curriculum) and a system
of Industrial Education Centers (vocational curriculum.
The community college system grew quickly through the
1960s. In 1961, the system
had five junior colleges and seven industrial education centers, and by
1969 it boasted fifty-four
institutions and 59,329 students. In 1962, the NCCC
System and the industrial education center
system were consolidated under the State Department of Education, and
the current system of
local boards and trustees was created.
In 1978, the system had reached its present size of 58 community colleges,
its own mix of arts and sciences, occupational training, technical focus,
and other resources.
In 1981, the State of Board of Community Colleges officially assumed control
system, making it an independent department under the state governor.
The State Board
of Community Colleges held a major visioning initiative for the system
The key recommendations from this process were:
• To place greater emphasis on supporting
existing businesses and industries
• To improve the quality of “workforce
technology” through worker training