60 for 60: Community partnerships at the heart of Durham Tech

In celebration of Durham Technical Community College’s 60th anniversary, the College is publishing 60 for 60 – a storytelling campaign that highlights the people, places, and events that have progressed and shaped the College’s six decades of impact. To view more 60 for 60 stories, visit www.durhamtech.edu/60for60.

three line technicians standing by wooden poleWhen the City of Durham experienced a nursing shortage in the 1960’s, Durham Tech responded in short order with a thriving practical nursing program that continues today.

It’s believed to be the College’s first community partnership program created to meet a vital need for the community. In recent years, the College has partnered with major employers in the Triangle to provide diverse talent and specialized programs.

In 2020, Durham Tech developed an Electrical Line Technician program to meet the need for line workers, as identified by Duke Energy and Piedmont Electric Cooperative.

Both organizations helped fund the program. James Brandon Kidd, a 2022 graduate of the program, said his experience was extremely positive and he was excited to learn something new every day. 

Kidd secured a job with Duke Energy before he completed the program.

"I found a career that I am extremely excited about. I feel like I have a knack for it and I think this class helped to bring out those qualities and show me what the possibilities are throughout this journey,” Kidd said.

One year later, Durham Tech developed an expedited Central Sterile Processing program for UNC Health, a community health worker course for the Latinx community with El Centro Hispano, and a Bio-Agricultural Program Readiness Opportunity with Global Agricultural Development Corporation and North Carolina State University.  

“Not all community college programs in surgical instrument sterile processing offer their students hands-on clinical experience. The fact that Durham Tech does and engages UNC as their sites – it gives everyone a chance to learn more,” said Mark Harris, Director of Perioperative Supply Chain & Administration at UNC Hospital.

Earlier this spring, the College announced two new partnership programs: a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina collaboration to offer a five-year insurance career pathway to diversify the insurance sales workforce in North Carolina, as well as a 911 Academy with the City of Durham with support from Durham and Orange counties.

The 911 Academy aims to address the need for 911 telecommunicators, a growing need in the region.

“I have asked Durham Tech to assist the City in addressing the challenges with our 911 system. One thing is clear, we need more trained 911 dispatchers,” Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal said during the 911 Academy announcement. “Durham Tech will provide high-quality standardized training to prepare individuals to serve as dispatchers for the City and other communications centers in Durham and Orange County.”

For more information, contact Desiree Towson, M.S., Communications and Public Relations Coordinator, at allisontowsond@durhamtech.edu.