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Belk Center Releases Adult Learner Guidebook to Aid in the Recruitment and Retainment of Adult Learners at North Carolina Community Colleges

1.3 million North Carolinia adults agens 25-44 do not have a credential or degree.

The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, in partnership with the John M. Belk Endowment (JMBE), myFutureNC and the North Carolina Community College System, is pleased to announce the release of the Adult Learner Guidebook. A new resource for community colleges across the state, the guidebook synthesizes lessons learned from the NC Reconnect “Better Skills, Better Jobs” campaign, which was launched by JMBE in 2021 to reengage with adult learners who had some college credit but no degree or credential. 

“We know that educational inequities in North Carolina, like in many other parts of the country, have particularly affected adult learner populations,” says Audrey Jaeger, Ph.D., W. Dallas Herring Professor with the NC State College of Education and executive director of the Belk Center. “To meet the demands of the workforce, it is critical that we help this population in completing a high-quality credential or postsecondary degree. Our hope is that this guidebook will provide some actionable insights that community colleges can implement on their own campuses to better serve the adult learners in their communities.”

NC Reconnect recruited five pilot colleges, including Blue Ridge Community College, Durham Technical Community College, Pitt Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College and Vance-Granville Community College, to serve as the program’s first cohort. 

The Adult Learner Guidebook provides a detailed look into the adult learner population in North Carolina, examines key learnings and opportunities from the NC Reconnect pilot program, and offers faculty insights and lessons learned from community college leadership during the course of the program.

In addition, the guidebook includes a number of resources to equip community college faculty and staff with professional learning opportunities – as well as question prompts to help colleges begin the process of examining their own work with the adult learner population.

Download your copy of the Guidebook

About the Belk Center: The Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research, at North Carolina State University, develops and sustains exceptional community college leaders who are committed to advancing equitable college access and student success, the social and economic mobility of their colleges’ students, and the economic competitiveness of their regions. The Center provides professional development and research related to current and emerging student success opportunities and challenges facing community college leaders and policymakers in North Carolina and the nation. For more information, please visit