MLV Raleigh- Day Two (Part Two)

This is Part Two of the Day Two Recap. If you missed part one, read it here.

Day two of #MLVRaleigh did not disappoint. With so much to see and learn, the day was filled with valuable lessons from top notch speakers in some of the city’s must-see locations.

Because the days agenda was plentiful, you heard from the Chamber’s own Ian Scott for a recap on the morning’s sessions on transportation and housing.

So let’s jump right to the afternoon.

After a delicious lunch, it was time to leave the stunning views offered by The Dillon. As we climbed down the stairs of the bus, we were immediately greeted by some of the most poised and kind young adults I’ve ever met.

We had stepped onto the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy campus and were greeted by sash-wearing students. Each student took the time to graciously welcome our guests with a kind hello and firm handshake.

Meeting these students made it easy to believe the fact that Wake County Schools’ early colleges had a 100% graduation rate this year. An incredible accomplishment!

Yes, you read that right. Every single student enrolled in the early college program graduated. And 64% of those graduates maintained their trade focus as they moved into Wake Tech.

I mean, just look at the pose and confidence of this student welcoming a group of 80+ business and community leaders.

So let me back up a minute. I was so impressed with the students that I forgot to explain exactly what Vernon Malone is. It is a wall-to-wall career academy, dual enrollment high school. That means they work directly with Wake Tech and industry partners to create the workforce the business community needs. Students go to school full-time at the facility. It is not the old-timey trade school where you spent half your day in shop before heading back to take your other classes at the base high school.

Rather, students are fully immersed into the school, creating investment and passion. In the 9th and 10th grade, students take their base high school classes, but with a twist. All classes are centered on project based learning. In 11th and 12th grades, students begin to take classes in their specific program taught by Wake Tech. But they aren’t only obtaining the hard trade skills, soft skills are integrated into all curriculum and it is apparent in the presence of their student population.

What makes this work is the close partnership between the school district, Wake Tech and industry partners. In fact, the model was so widely successful that Wake County Schools has opened a second school using the same concept.

Touring the facility was equally impressive.  Attendees had the opportunity to step into the hands-on learning environment for programs like welding, nursing, HVAC and even gaming and simulation.

The general response was, “ahh” and “wow”. Clearly Vernon Malone is a remarkable and highly successful learning environment that is meeting the needs of the Wake County business community.

While we could have spent all day in awe of the facility with it’s excellent staff and impressive student body. However, it was time to head to our next stop… The NC State Centennial Campus.

As we pulled up, we were immediately taken aback by the beauty of the Hunt Library, but then we stepped in. Within an instant, every attendee was up against the glass admiring the Book Bot. I can only hope to explain this with a picture…

Once we got past the cool factor, we quickly understood the campus’ true success – the triple helix of partnership.

What is this triple helix? Well it is successfully bringing industry, government and academia together in a partnership that helps drive the success of each partner.

Partnership can be felt throughout the campus that offers a unique perspective on mixed-used space. You have a variety of programs, some offerd by N.C. State or by companies like Lexus Nexus,  to student housing, private housing, a golf course, a beautiful lake and walking trails. You might even catch a game of Quidditch in the grassy fields.

My favorite statement was “Not one of us can do it all, we must work together to fill the gaps and make something great.”

So, with that comes my word of the day – partnership. Yes, inspiration and opportunity were still abundant, but by the end of day two it was clear that Raleigh’s success was truly a testament to their willingness to partner and collaborate, all with the common goal of making the city even better.

Before I sign off, I must mention the fabulous views we were honored to enjoy over dinner at the City Club Raleigh. Just look at that view.

Thank you to Womble Bond Dickinson for sponsoring tonight’s delicious dinner.

As day two comes to an end, I reflect on the many lessons learned and the connections that continued to grow and strengthen throughout the day.

While we head back home to Charleston tomorrow, we still have an exciting final day ahead of us and a big announcement to be shared…

Metro Leadership Visit Raleigh Day Two (Part Two) Recap Provided by Erin Aylor, VP of Marketing

Don’t miss MLV Raleigh Day Three Recap- Read it here!

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MLV Raleigh- Day two (Part One)