Who We Are


K-64 is a systemic approach to shaping future careers and meeting workforce demands by connecting students and employers throughout the educational curriculum.

K-64 increases student and employer engagement in educational programs proven to prepare a qualified workforce by:

  • Collaborating with employers to align courses of study with workforce needs.
  • Connecting students to real-world careers and related curriculum choices from early on.
  • Empowering adults to enhance employability in a dynamic work environment.

What K-64 Will Accomplish

  • Short-Term: Increased student and employer participation in real-world educational pathways designed to meet workforce needs.
  • Mid-Range: More local jobs filled in targeted industries as a result of educational alignment.
  • Long-Term: A seamless, demand-driven, replicable education system that consistently cultivates a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce ready to fill local jobs and help drive the economy.

Our Vision. Our Mission.

K-64 is governed by a Board of Directors and is managed by staff employed by Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC).

K-64 leverages tax dollars, private contributions and grant funds to support program expansion and sustainability. Finances for K-64 are handled by the Catawba Valley Community Foundation, CVCC’S 501(c) 3 educational foundation.

On January 17, 2017, the Catawba County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to form K-64 and approve its bylaws. The Board also voted to approve seed funding to help kick-start the initiative.

In March 2017, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed to formalize the K-64 partnership among the initiative’s founding partners: Catawba County, Catawba County Chamber of Commerce, Catawba County Economic Development Corp., Catawba County Schools, Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory Public Schools, and Newton-Conover City Schools. In May 2017, the initiative’s governing board was formed and work on building this innovative initiative began.

Areas of Work

One-to-World Technology

Accelerating learning inside and outside the classroom by connecting students with access to relevant technologies.

Character Education

Teaching critical soft skills, such as goal-setting, interpersonal communication and team building, to ensure students are well-prepared to engage in work and in life.

Tech-Savvy Educators

Continually equipping teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to incorporate leading-edge technologies into lesson plans and classroom environments.

Work-based Learning

Facilitating job shadowing, internships, co-ops, work-study programs and apprenticeships to connect students with real-world careers and local employers.

Employer Engagement

Cultivating collaborative partnerships with businesses to invest in the development of a well-prepared and highly engaged workforce of tomorrow.

Career Adaptability

Ensuring access to relevant educational services to help adults develop nimble skill sets and assure career longevity.

Our Team

Mark Story

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO of K-64, Mark Story is responsible for directing and ensuring the financial sustainability of the K-64 initiative.


Dr. Ryan McCreary

Career & College Advocate

Dr. McCreary provides strategic direction for Catawba Valley Community College’s Student Career Services and Business Engagement programs as they relate to the connectivity to our K-12 Classrooms.

Jennifer Jones

Business Liaison

As Business Liaison of K-64, Jennifer Jones is responsible for connecting businesses to future outcomes and sustainability of the K-64 initiative.


Chris Reese

Business Liaison

As Business Liaison of K-64, Chris Reese is responsible for connecting businesses to K-14 work-based learning and adult populations within the Catawba Valley Community College’s academy programs.


Our Latest News

K-64 Character in Catawba Challenge

We are challenging every school in Catawba County to make at least one post on Twitter and/or Facebook to highlight the strategies, projects, events, and/or programs they are implementing to develop their students’ soft skills and character. 

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Memories Shape our Character

Dr. McCreary selected Knit Together because the story of a mother and daughter creating memories together through knitting illustrates the importance of teamwork, creativity, growth mindset, collaboration, and relationships.

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Catawba County goal is to fill new jobs with qualified workers

Catawba County is facing a problem it hasn’t seen in more than a decade: low unemployment. Millar spoke Tuesday about the workforce challenge, how the county can become more competitive and what industries will be the best fit for Catawba County in the future. K-64 is a great start. I think you’ve got a lot of entities that are well-intentioned and they’re funded. They’re out here trying to attack the problem.

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Lenoir-Rhyne unveils Catawba County Promise

Lenoir-Rhyne University announced today an innovative, new program to provide a minimum of 50 percent off tuition for any first-year undergraduate student with a 3.5 or higher high school GPA who is a Catawba County resident or to a transfer undergraduate student from...

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Laptops approved for all middle school students

Every middle school student in Catawba County will have their own Chromebook next year. Based on the success of this year’s rollout for every seventh-grader, the K-64 board voted to extend the project to incoming sixth- and seventh-graders in all three public school districts for the 2018-19 school year. “I had a principal tell me he had kids turning in homework who never did before, and we assumed it was because they just didn’t want to do it, and it turns out they just didn’t have the means to do it,” Story said.

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Catawba Valley Community College
2550 US Hwy 70 SE
Hickory, NC  28602

Mark Story, CEO
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4730

Jennifer Jones, Business Liaison
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4135

Ryan McCreary, Career & College Advocate
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4333

Chris Reese, Business Liaison
(828) 327-7000, ext. 4635