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By Cigi Sparks, The Observer News Enterprise

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners recently approved a resolution and bylaws for the creation of a board for the K-64 initiative. The K-64 initiative is a program that is planned to intertwine the county's three school systems, Catawba Valley Community College, business and industry, county government and more, in order to produce an education system that diversely educates on a continuous basis. 

The conversation on the education initiative began about five years ago between business partners, schools, the chamber of commerce, and others. 

"The initial question was 'How are we connecting the workforce with the community and the job issues we're facing now?,'" said CVCC President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw. "We didn't have anything that would necessarily move the needle in the terms of changing things." 

After really looking at plans for education in Catawba County, the board of commissioners asked CVCC to implement a bold plan to change how the education and business industries work together. 

The aim of the initiative is to connect the students of Catawba County with the working world - no matter their age. 

The K-64 plan has six priorities - One-to-World Technology, Character and Soft Skills Development, Tech Savvy Educators, Work-based Learning, Employer Engagement, and Career Adaptability. 

Following the board's official approval to take the next step with the K-64 initiative, there will be action to establish the project's governing board. The board will consist of a single member from the board of commissioners, CVCC Trustees, each of the three school systems, the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation, as well as one representative from five local businesses which will be picked by the commissioners. The month of February will be dedicated to getting that board established, according to Hinshaw. 

"Impacts made by the K-64 initiative will be seen almost immediately," Hinshaw said. "We are so excited that the commissioners see the value in us taking ownership of the job opportunities in this county, and see that it's important for us to work to prepare our community members for local jobs." 

As more information comes available in regards to the K-64 initiative, the O-N-E will continue to publish updates. 


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