Carteret CC Receives Aquaculture Grant

Carteret Community College Receives Aquaculture Grant

Aquaculture students examine crab

MaST students harvest softshell crabs.

Morehead City, N.C. (April 14, 2021) –The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) recently awarded Carteret Community College (Carteret CC) $485,000 through a Workforce Training grant. Carteret CC’s project will teach educators about the aquaculture field, provide access to beginning-level aquaculture courses to local high school students, provide valuable commercial industry experience to students, and improve Carteret CC’s aquaculture curriculum.

“I am very excited for the many opportunities this award will provide,” said David Cerino, Aquaculture Department Chair at Carteret Community College. “We will expose many more educators and students in the county to the field of aquaculture, and get students in the program into paid apprenticeships that will help the local industry. I expect the benefits to the Carteret CC Aquaculture program to last for many years beyond the conclusion of the grant.”

The goal of Carteret Community College’s project “Strengthening the Aquaculture Workforce Development Pipeline in Coastal North Carolina” (grant no. 2021-67037-34172/project accession no. 1025474) is to increase the number of people entering the workforce with education and training in the field of aquaculture and improve the preparedness of Carteret CC’s Aquaculture program graduates.

“In addition to the chemistry and marine biology our Aquaculture students learn, the program incorporates hands-on trades skills as students construct oyster cages, build and monitor filtration systems, and plumb aquaculture tanks,” said Dr. Tracy Mancini, President of Carteret Community College. “Carteret CC is excited about this opportunity to expose high school students to these skills, not to mention the work-based learning opportunities the NIFA grant will support.  This is another great example of the strong partnership between the College and Carteret County Public Schools.”

This project will allow the College to hire an instructor to teach beginning level aquaculture courses on the campuses of East Carteret and Croatan High Schools. By teaching on the campus of the high schools, the College will remove all barriers for the students such as transportation, scheduling conflicts and after-school activities. It will offer students the opportunity to earn college credits tuition-free and will allow them to enter the aquaculture workforce at a younger age.

“East Carteret is excited to be able to offer the aquaculture class from Carteret CC directly on our campus. It provides a class that directly resonates with the deep history of commercial fishing that our communities were founded upon,” said Jay Westbrook, East Carteret High School Principal. “Carteret CC’s willingness to bring this program to our students is the beginning of our partnership to bridge the past with the future to expand the opportunities for our students when they graduate from high school. We envision this program to be the start of our students being able to access other vocational trades that are offered at Carteret CC so they can be productive citizens right here in Carteret County.”

Carteret CC’s project will also teach educators about the aquaculture field. The College will offer a hands-on professional development opportunity that will target high school guidance counselors, administrators and teachers. The professional development opportunity will explain what aquaculture is, what is involved in aquaculture education, and the employment opportunities available in the field.

“I am incredibly excited about the opportunities this grant provides to increase access to the outstanding Carteret CC Aquaculture Program. I am proud of the partnership the school system has with Carteret CC and truly appreciate the college’s commitment to work with the school system,” said Dr. Rob Jackson, Superintendent of Carteret County Public Schools. “Together we are working to ensure that a student’s location in the county is not a barrier to be able to access college courses through bringing programs to the high schools like this grant allows or by providing daily transportation to the Carteret CC campus.”

In addition, this grant will offer paid apprenticeships for Carteret CC Aquaculture students at local businesses. Not only will the students gain valuable experience, but the apprenticeships will offer local businesses additional help at no charge.

Lastly, the project will add advanced technologies for automation and monitoring to the Carteret CC Aquaculture Technology curriculum.

If you are interested in learning more about the aquaculture program, visit www.Carteret.edu or call 252-222-6000.

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