Shaw Expands Partnership with Innovation Centers

New Site at Mixed-Use Rocky Mount Mills to Train Students for 21st Century Jobs

(Raleigh, Rocky Mount NC) – Shaw and Capitol Broadcasting Company have completed negotiations to relocate the University’s Rocky Mount CAPE program to Rocky Mount Mills, the historic manufacturing campus that CBC owns and is reinventing on the banks of the Tar River.
This exciting move follows and is similar to the University’s recently announced new strategic partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, American Underground. The Bull City-based American Underground campus at American Tobacco Historic District will now be the Durham site of Shaw’s adult degree program, CAPE (Center for Alternative Programs in Education.)
CBC also owns The American Tobacco Campus and The American Underground. As with these award-winning innovation centers, CBC plans to develop Rocky Mount Mills into a vibrant mixed-use community that reinvigorates the site’s history of creativity and success — but with a 21st century outlook. The approach fits perfectly with Shaw’s priorities.
The engineering of the new partnerships with American Underground and Rocky Mount Mills is yet another way Shaw President, Dr. Tashni Ann Dubroy is delivering on her promise to make the historically black university a premier 21st century institution.
“This partnership with American Underground and Rocky Mount Mills is an exciting one,” said Dr. Dubroy. “It’s the perfect example of the kind of innovative, integrated strategic partnership that will position Shaw University among top ranked higher education providers today and in the future.”
Added Evan Covington Chavez, manager at Rocky Mount Mills, “The leaders at both Shaw University and Rocky Mount Mills believe Eastern North Carolina’s best days are ahead. Together, we’re laying the groundwork for an even greater degree of entrepreneurship here and an even wider pool of top talent to fill 21st century jobs.”
Nearly a year ago, President Dubroy took the helm at Shaw vowing a bold, new approach to leadership. She was laser focused on the 151-year old institution’s long term sustainability. At the same time, she emphasized Shaw’s role in regional economic growth, specifically in the areas of technology and entrepreneurship.
By relocating its Durham and Rocky Mount CAPE programs to American Underground and Rocky Mount Mills campuses, Shaw creates a unique opportunity for its students to interface with business and technology executives. The moves also expose American Underground and Rocky Mount Mills tenants to the university’s pool of talented graduates and creates opportunities for students to engage in research which can then be leveraged for private and public funding opportunities.
Since 1994, more than 4,000 students have graduated from the program designed to provide a quality education to adult learners and prepare them for a 21st century workforce. Eight cities across the Tarheel state, including Durham, Ahoskie, Fayetteville, High Point, Kannapolis, Raleigh, Rocky Mount, and Wilmington; have served as home base for the self-directed educational programs frequented by persons who are unable to attend college in a traditional university setting because of job and family responsibilities or military service obligations. Classes are offered online, during evenings and on weekends to accommodate the busy schedules of working and non-traditional students.
In recent years, however, CAPE has seen a sharp decline in enrollment that can be attributed to changes in qualification criteria for government grants and loans to pay for tuition, as well as a shift in the profile of skilled employees now demanded by companies. Placing the adult programs in AU communities answers to Shaw’s need to bolster enrollment at its CAPE sites by offering a vibrant, contemporary learning environment with exposure to job opportunities post-graduation. Likewise, AU companies and Rocky Mount Mills tenants gain access to a pool of diverse, well-qualified potential candidates for hire.
“This is a win-win partnership for both Shaw University , American Underground and Rocky Mount Mills,” said Shaw Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Paulette Dillard. This important collaboration serves as a model for how business, technology, and education can marry to create innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues,’ said Dillard.
Both the Durham and Rocky Mount CAPE sites will open the doors at their new locations when Fall classes resume on August 8.


Shaw University, located in North Carolina’s vibrant Downtown Raleigh, is the first historically black institution of higher education in the Southern United States. Founded in 1865 by Dr. Henry Martin Tupper, Shaw is proud to be educating more than 1,600 students who will become the change agents of tomorrow. Under the avant garde leadership of our current president Dr. Tashni Ann Dubroy, our motto is “This is E.P.I.C,” as we are committed to advancing our mission with Entrepreneurial Thinking, Positioning and Presence, Immaculate Facilities, and Customer Care. Learn more at

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