Haywood Community College Dean of Business and Industry, Doug Long, was recently awarded the SkillsUSA NC Champion Award. SkillsUSA NC is a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled work force. From industry-designed competitions to professional and leadership development workshops, this career and technical student organization gives students an opportunity to enhance both their technical and employability skills.

The Champion Award is presented to someone who has tremendous impact on the organization and the growth of it.

Peyton Holland, Executive Director of SkillsUSA NC, says that the community college division has grown by more than 30% for each of the last three years. “Doug Long has been instrumental in growing participation at the college level,” Holland explains. “He helped spread the message across all 58 community colleges of how this program has an impact on student lives. He embodies what we look for in partner advisors.”

At HCC, Long hopes to prove to the community that the students trained on campus are the ones that can be trusted in their respective field. “Students come to HCC because they want to make their life better,” he says. “It is my job to provide the motivation for them to want to keep coming back to class each day. I want them to have a chance at something better, an opportunity for a better life.”

Long believes that when students participate in SkillsUSA NC, they are getting an experience that enhances their college experience and when they succeed at a statewide competition, it is confirmation that they are champions themselves.