From Central Carolina Community College

PITTSBORO, N.C. – Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) is proud to announce the receipt of a $6.3 million award from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) to establish the Environmental and Natural Resources Technology (EARTh) Center. The EARTh Center, one of only nine “national centers” funded by NSF ATE, will serve as a national hub for supporting technical education and workforce training needs within the Environmental Technology sector across the United States.

Dr. Lisa M. Chapman, CCCC President, says: “Central Carolina focuses its energy on being a first-class opportunity for all of our students and a leading workforce partner for all of the industries we serve. While we are very fortunate to be in the center of a dynamic and growing economy, even more exciting is the diversity of industries supporting this economic success. All of these industries engage and impact our environment in varied ways. Leveraging the resources of the EARTh Center will strengthen our ability to effectively support the rapidly changing workforce needs associated with today’s technological advances.”

The scope of industries served by the EARTh Center is vast, and include those commonly associated with the “environment” like forestry, wildlife sciences, and resource management. But several other industries, such as environmental health & safety, water & wastewater management, energy efficiency, and renewable energy fall under the environmental and natural resource umbrella.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in these types of industries is projected to grow significantly over the next decade, with thousands of new opportunities arising annually. The EARTh Center is positioned to play a leading role in preparing technicians for the dynamic challenges of modern society by merging hands-on technical training with a comprehensive understanding of the interrelated aspects of environmental issues.

The Center’s primary initiative will be to collaborate with educators and industry leaders to develop instructional and training materials in support of environmental industries. The Center’s services include an Instructional Design team and an Extended Reality (XR) team to develop training simulations for technical programs. Mentoring services will also be provided to support educators on how to pursue and manage NSF ATE funding, and both in-person and virtual professional development opportunities will be offered throughout the year at locations throughout the country.

“The EARTh Center’s focus on environmental technology spans a wide spectrum of workforce areas, including alternative fuel vehicles, renewable energy, water operations, emergency preparedness, and energy efficiencies among many others which directly impact existing and future employers in the region,” said Margaret Roberton, CCCC Vice President for Workforce Development/Chief of Staff. “The deep resources of industry experts and the ability to support curriculum development in these areas will enhance the college’s ability to respond to these important and emerging skills requirements. We are excited to begin working with the EARTh Center’s staff to support students at CCCC seeking to enter these career opportunities and to support the region in responding to skilled workforce demands.”

The EARTh Center will work closely with partners such as the National Partnership for Environmental Technology Education (PETE) and the Nahant Marsh Education Center, as well as community college and industry leaders from across the U.S., to drive the mission and goals of the EARTh Center forward.

For more information, visit, or email to

Or, contact Tiffany Breindel, EARTh Center Project Manager, at, or Andy McMahan, Principal Investigator for the EARTh Center project, at Or, call (919) 545-8036 to speak to these individuals.