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GSK Challenges Lawmakers To Match Million-Dollar Teaching Grant

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — North Carolina predicts a shortfall of 80,000 teachers in the next decade, but the state's colleges only produce about 3,000 new teachers a year.


opened its corporate wallet to help support a new pipeline of teachers through the

North Carolina's Community College System


The company announced a $1 million challenge grant to the

N.C. Community College Foundation


"This grant will fund an innovative program designed to meet a very clear and growing need for public school teachers," said Robert Ingram, GlaxoSmithKline chief executive officer.

The money will allow students in isolated areas to earn a teaching degree at one community college site, instead of just the first two years.

Lori Manning is an aspiring teacher who might benefit from the grant.The nearest teacher's college to her Craven County home is 45 minutes away.

"Between work and family obligations, financial, it's just not feasible to be able to obtain full-time status each semester," Manning said. "It would have required me to take one class a semester. A four-year degree would have turned into eight or nine years."

Four-year institutions will offer the final two years of a teaching degree on a community college campus. Those receiving scholarships will be required to teach five years in areas hurting the most for certified teachers.

The community college system believes it can serve 400 future teachers in a year; however, there is a catch.

It cannot get the money unless the Legislature matches the grant dollar for dollar.

"I feel that somewhere, even in tough times, that we can find the resources to do this very important program," said Rep. Phil Baddour, D-Wayne County.

The program will go into the Senate's budget proposal.

"It is a deal you can't turn down," said Sen. Walter Dalton, D-Rutherford County.

If the state does not match the cash, Glaxo will take back its money.

GlaxoSmithKline also challeges other businesses and corporations to join its teacher grant challenge. The state would still have to match whatever grants it gets.