Lockhart Retires from CCC&TI, Receives Governor’s Long Leaf Pine Award

HUDSON, NC (December 19, 2017)…After 43 years as an educator and leader in the community, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Elaine Lockhart has announced her retirement. She recently was honored for her successful career and lifetime of service with a statewide award.

At her retirement celebration, Lockhart was presented with the Governor’s Longleaf Pine Award. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina, is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Contributions to their communities, extra effort in their careers and many years of service are some of the guidelines by which recipients are selected for the award.

Pictured is Elaine Lockhart, who recently announced her retirement after more than 41 years at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, along with CCC&TI Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Taylor, left, and CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch. Lockhart was presented with the Governor’s Long Leaf Pine Award at her retirement celebration.

According to one of several nominations for the award, Lockhart’s years of dedication and hard work will leave a lasting legacy on the region’s economy.

“Her decades of dedication to education, workforce development and economic development have guaranteed a consistently improving workforce for Caldwell County over many years,” said Deborah Murray, Executive Director of the Caldwell Economic Development Commission. “Elaine is known as the consummate professional, someone who demands and delivers high levels of professionalism from her teams. She has been a strong leader in many of the new initiatives developed in recent years that have become regional models for workforce development partnerships.”

CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch said that Lockhart’s contributions to the college and the communities it serves have been invaluable.

“Elaine has dedicated her entire adult life to CCC&TI, the North Carolina Community College System and to the communities we serve,” he said. “She has certainly gone above the call of duty and has impacted thousands of lives during her tenure in service to the state. Her leadership will be missed, but her legacy will always be present.”

Lockhart began her career as a part-time instructor at CCC&TI in 1974 and a home economics teacher at North Mecklenburg High School in 1975 after earning her Bachelor’s degree at Appalachian State University. In 1976, CCC&TI hired Lockhart as an instructor in the Home Economics and Aging departments. In 1980, she was named Coordinator of Health and Home Economics. As she rose through the ranks at CCC&TI, she served as the Coordinator of Fire/Rescue/EMS/Law Enforcement and Health and Safety Services, as well as Director of the Occupational Extension and Foodservice Management programs. In 1997, she was named Dean of Corporate and Continuing Education and in 2004 was named Vice President for Continuing Education and Workforce Development.

In addition to her accomplishments at CCC&TI, Lockhart has led key projects that helped with getting area residents back to work by retraining them for new jobs following shifts in local industry and high unemployment rates during the Great Recession. Those efforts included establishing new programs, including the IT Institute, Electrical Lineman program and other customized training initiatives, and expanding others, such as the Truck Driver Training program. Lockhart and her staff also were important partners with state and local agencies in workforce development initiatives such as establishing the NCWorks Career Planning and Placement Center in Lenoir and developing Caldwell Is Hiring, a semi-annual event that connects local employers with jobseekers.

“Over the years, I have worked with what I consider to be the finest leaders and mentors in education.  I have been blessed by being given opportunities to be a part of serving our students and to have some part in their success in meeting their educational goals,” Lockhart said. “My decision to retire is bittersweet.  While I look forward to the opportunities coming my way, I will miss my colleagues and my college family.  I look forward to watching the exciting things to come for this great institution.”

Her work and leadership outside of CCC&TI includes serving on the boards of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission, Western Piedmont Workforce Development Board and many other local organizations.

In her retirement, Lockhart plans to spend time with family and volunteer at her church and Hospice. She also plans to continue supporting CCC&TI by assisting the Foundation of CCC&TI with fundraising efforts.

CCC&TI congratulates Elaine Lockhart on her upcoming retirement.

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