K-64 brings education, business, and government together to connect people of all ages with the skills needed to fill jobs and build careers in Catawba County.

HICKORY, N.C. — Catawba Valley Community College’s K-64 Program has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the ZF Community Care Fund through the CVCC Foundation, Inc.

This is the second time that K-64 has been awarded a grant from ZF.

 “Being graciously awarded the ZF Community Care Fund enables K-64 to further advance our objectives connected to building a higher-skilled workforce while driving local economic development through education – from the traditional classrooms to hands-on internships,” said Chris Reese, executive director for K-64. “K-64 is always appreciative of financial support through gifts and grants, and it feels even more impactful when it is one of our local community stakeholders. We thank ZF for their continued support.”

ZF is a global technology company suppling systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial technology, enabling the next generation of mobility. ZF allows vehicles to see, think and act. In the four technology domains of Vehicle Motion Control, Integrated Safety, Automated Driving, and Electric Mobility, ZF offers comprehensive product and software solutions for established vehicle manufacturers and newly emerging transport and mobility service providers. ZF electrifies a wide range of vehicle types. With its products, the company contributes to reducing emissions, protecting the climate and enhancing safe mobility.

In fiscal year 2020, ZF reported a revenue of €32.6 billion. The company employs more than 150,000 associates at approximately 270 locations in 42 countries.

ZF is committed to supporting nonprofit organizations focused on education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and community enhancements in the areas in which it operates. The ZF Community Care Fund Grant will be used to continue to strengthen the K-64 Program, which was established in 2017 to help combat the ongoing gradual decline in the working-age population of Catawba County.

Founding partners for K-64 include Catawba Valley Community College, Catawba County, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, Catawba County Schools, Hickory Public Schools and Newton-Conover City Schools.

In less than three years with support from the Catawba County Commissioners, K-64 has placed more than 14,000 personalized learning devices in the hands of Catawba County’s three public K-12 school systems, removing the constraints of time and space from the classroom and ensuring educational access for all along a pathway that leads to stackable postsecondary credentials.

K-64 has invested more than $300,000 in K-12 teacher training and helped fund character education programs in many elementary and middle schools within the service area. K-64 also funds career and college advocates in all of our local high schools to help students enroll in community college pathways that lead to high-wage, high-skilled jobs, including STEM careers.

All of these efforts have already driven an increase in high school Career and College Promise enrollment by 50 percent and overall CVCC enrollment by more than three percent at a time when most North Carolina community colleges are dealing with declining enrollments and shrinking population of college-aged students.

K-64 has also established partnerships that include investments, workforce development or shared facility usage with more than 300 businesses.

“ZF is proud to support the Catawba Valley Community College K-64 program,” said Susanne Swinnie, HR Manager for ZF’s Newton location. “With the ever-changing work environment, this educational program is vital preparing the industry’s future workforce.”

The Catawba County Economic Development Corporation reported that K-64 has played a significant role in spurring new business investments and creating new jobs in the CVCC service area.


Written By: Cody S. Dalton, Catawba Valley Community College