Education, community development hand in hand

Published 6:42 pm Saturday, April 12, 2014

It makes sense that community leaders would work together to make things better.

Unfortunately, all too often, things get in the way. Politics, bureaucracy and lack of communication can all keep a community from unlocking its potential.

It plays out in places all over the country. We’ve seen it here.

Fortunately for Beaufort County, three local leaders are determined to buck the trend. For superintendent Don Phipps, community college president Barbara Tansey and economic development director Bob Heuts, there’s simply too much at stake not to work together. The way they see it, their individual purposes are just too common not to collaborate.

Often times it’s as simple as meeting over a cup of coffee to discuss goals and challenges. Sometimes it’s partnering on a project or grant. Others, it’s sharing resources and support.

In some way or another, Phipps, Tansey and Heuts are all in the business of economic development. And for any community to sustain and attract business, Heuts says, it needs a strong and competent workforce.

Collectively, these leaders are responsible for creating, developing and promoting our local workforce. They each play a role in creating one of our community’s most important products.

Beaufort County is fortunate to have each Phipps, Tansey and Heuts in their respective positions. It’s even more fortunate to have them working together.

The exceptional working relationship between these three is not as common as it should be. Now, it’s up to us as a community to take advantage of the opportunity.

According to both Phipps and Tansey, the window is open wide. For instance, a student in Beaufort County has the ability to graduate high school with as many as 44 college credits already in their pocket, and do so entirely for free.

Additional opportunities abound in vocational training, continuing education and small business support.

Find out how you can take advantage through Beaufort County Schools, and Beaufort County Community College,

Ashley Vansant is publisher of the Washington Daily News. He can be reached at