N.C. community college student in limelight

January 25, 2012 

For the second straight year, a North Carolina community college was in the spotlight during President Obama's State of the Union address.

On Tuesday night, Jackie Bray, a single mother from Kings Mountain, was seated in the first lady's box. A year ago, Bray was laid off from her job as a high-speed packaging mechanic. She then enrolled at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte to prepare for a pre-hiring test with Siemens, the electronics giant that has a facility in Charlotte. In August, she was hired by Siemens as a process operator and has gained new training in lasers, robotics and other skills.

Bray was invited to the speech to highlight partnerships between business and community colleges to customize training for workers and place them in high-tech jobs.

Last January, Kathy Proctor of Archdale, a biotechnology student at Forsyth Technical Community College, created a sensation when she was mentioned by Obama in his address. When the cameras zoomed in on Proctor during the speech, she could be seen saying, "That's me!" to her seatmates in the first lady's box.

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