A partnership of education and entertainment: a case study of the Larry Gatlin School of Entertainment Technology at Guilford Technical Community College
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Local and global economies are changing rapidly, and technological advances make it difficult for employers to attract and retain qualified employees. The need for more highly educated human capital is growing; yet, many companies seem to be unaware of the training options available to them through community colleges. At the same time in which industry faces educational and training challenges, community colleges face monetary challenges. The community college mission to provide affordable education to the masses is in jeopardy, for example, colleges are finding the need to raise tuition prices. One solution to meeting community needs is found in the union between community constituents and community colleges. This union, if designed appropriately, will result in programs that meet the educational needs of the community, resulting in higher employment rates and stronger community economic bases. Literature indicates that the creation of partnerships among community colleges and others make on the community, the partnering entity, and the college through the establishment and delivery of innovative programs can be significant. Entrepreneurial and transformational leadership plays a pivotal role in the development of such partnerships. A qualitative case study was conducted of the Larry Gatlin School of Entertainment Technology (LGSET) at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) in Jamestown, North Carolina. The LGSET is a partnership formed between Larry Gatlin and GTCC, resulting in an Entertainment Technology program that prepares students for work in the entertainment industry through studies in sound, lighting, performance, and artist management. The research revealed that establishing effective and sustainable partnerships can benefit community colleges throughout the nation. Benefits derived from the partnerships should not be one-sided, but should be established with mutual goals and mission as the central focus to ensure that maximum benefit can be derived from the relationships.