The PNC Foundation has awarded Central Piedmont Community College two grants totaling $500,000 to support the college's early childhood education program and help train more pre-K teachers as Mecklenburg County works to provide more pre-K opportunities for local children.
"As our communities face the serious health and economic challenges presented by the current crisis, it's important to acknowledge that pre-K education is essential to helping today's children and tomorrow's workforce achieve economic mobility," said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas and a Central Piedmont Foundation board member. "These grants will help train and develop the pre-K educators who will be integral to the growth, quality and resilience of pre-K education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg."
The first grant of $255,000, awarded over five years, will enable the college to hire an early childhood education recruiter/academic coach. With a focus on Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Title 1 high schools and low-income students from other area high schools, the recruiter/academic coach will promote the program in schools and youth programs such as Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas and the City of Charlotte Mayor's Youth Employment Program. Upon identification of interested students, the recruiter will work with students and families to assist with enrollment and registration. Once students are enrolled, the recruiter will serve as an academic coach, shepherding them along their chosen career pathway.
The college will use the second five-year grant of $245,000 to provide scholarships and other assistance to incumbent child care workers in need of additional college classes and credits to earn an associate degree in early childhood education. Specifically, early childhood education students participating in the Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) developmental math and English program at Central Piedmont will have access to:
- online tutoring service through Smart Thinking available 24 hours a day/seven days a week;
- peer mentors;
- on-site, face-to-face tutors;
- an academic coach/career navigator; and
- laptop computers to aid out-of-class learning, for those with demonstrated financial need.
"The college is grateful to PNC for its generous support of Central Piedmont's early childhood education program," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "Providing opportunities for more Mecklenburg County children to attend pre-K school is an important economic mobility initiative in the county. The success of this effort will depend in large part on having enough Pre-K teachers.
"PNC is a true partner with the college and Mecklenburg County as we endeavor to ensure all children have the education they need to pursue their academic and life goals," Deitemeyer said.
Central Piedmont's Emergency Fund provides short-term financial support to students and employees experiencing financial emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Fund is being supported by a challenge gift from a generous, anonymous donor who will match all contributions to the Emergency Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $100,000.
Your support will be doubled and your impact magnified thanks to the generosity of this challenge gift. The Emergency Fund is already providing assistance to address needs related to food, housing, utilities, medical care, childcare, and technology. Make an immediate impact with your gift to Central Piedmont's Emergency Fund at cpccfoundation.org/donation.
In their own words, students share what the grants have meant to them in this challenging time:
"I often have to stretch my money thin and make sacrifices to devote enough time to my studies. With that and the current situation making jobs hard to find and keep, I was looking at several behind payments and a looming uncertainty in my very near future. I can, with peace of mind, continue with my studies, without the dread of being behind on bills to scare me into quitting." - Sarar A.
"The [Emergency Fund] grant allowed me a relief from financial stress caused by the pandemic and being laid off. I was at risk of being homeless and having my internet cut off. Of course, not having internet while taking a full load of online classes is not ideal. I am forever grateful in this time of uncertainty to have received this emergency grant."
- Grace T.
"Because of COVID-19, my semester was jeopardized, and I would not have been able to successfully complete the year. Thanks to the emergency grant I am able to pay my rent and finish the semester strong." - Lauren Z.
"This grant has really helped me; now I can focus and concentrate on school and not have to stress over how I will make ends meet this month." - Shvonda P.
"I extend my sincere thanks and gratitude. The provided grant funds have immediately lessened the stress I had. It has academically boosted my ability to study and remain focused." - Abu K.
"I am so grateful for this program! It has relieved me of the burden of figuring how to pay my light bill and keep my lights on so I can continue with my education. I haven't been in this situation before, and if it weren't for this program, I don't know where I could have gone in the community for help. It's such a blessing! THANK YOU!!"
- Janelle N.
"This grant kept my lights on. Since I decided to return to CPCC full time, I was not able to work any overtime at work, and my bills got behind. This grant it gave me a peace of mind, and helped me keep my 4.0." - Roberta M.
COVID-19 has upended almost all aspects of our daily lives. Our greater Charlotte community is making amazing and immediate efforts to meet the new challenges presented by the pandemic and local and state stay-at-home orders. Here at Central Piedmont, our students, faculty, and staff remain committed and are focused on a positive future ahead. To protect the health and well-being of our community, friends, and family, we are responding in the following ways:
- Central Piedmont students, staff, and faculty transitioned to online learning on Monday, March 23. The spring semester will be completed remotely. To ensure online access, the college ordered and distributed Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots at no cost to more than 250 students and employees in need. Thanks to Emergency Fund donors for making this effort possible.
- The May 2020 commencement ceremony has been postponed. Smaller, in-person, program-focused ceremonies will take place at Central Campus July 29 - 31.
- Medical supplies and equipment from our college healthcare programs have been donated to Atrium Health and Novant Health.
- Central Campus will host a community mobile blood drive on April 21, 12-5pm.
- Central Piedmont's small business center is providing free, online business counseling and training to local business owners.
- Members of the college's Culinary Arts program helped box donated food for out-of-work restaurant employees in the Charlotte area.
- The college's Human Resources department has established the Central Piedmont Cares initiative to help all college employees identify and solve challenges in their function or their personal lives
Central Piedmont's Dr. Adam Harris, chair of the computer engineering technology, electrical engineering technology and electronics engineering technology programs, and Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of the engineering program, are partnering with Charlotte Latin to produce the parts needed for CharlotteMEDI to make face shields for area hospital personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As instructors, Dr. Harris and Dr. Garbini regularly work in the college's FabLab, home to 10 3D printers, which the duo has been visiting tirelessly, sometimes twice a day, to manufacture the headbands and bottom clips needed to complete the assembly of CharlotteMEDI's face shields.
To date, the Central Piedmont team has made approximately 300 3D printed parts, such as bottom clips and headbands.
But, according to Dr. Garbini, that's only the beginning.
Once the team receives more filament -- the material used to produce the parts -- and services a couple of the machines to get them all working at 100 percent capacity, Dr. Garbini anticipates being able to print approximately 160 clips a day going forward.
However, productivity isn't his only concern, so is safety. "I've sectioned off the lab in the building to prohibit the parts from being exposed to any external germs or elements before they are shipped," adds Dr. Garbini. "At the end of the day, Adam and I are grateful to be given the opportunity to use our college's equipment to contribute to a community need. Any support we can offer to our healthcare providers during this critical time is extremely important -- both for their safety and the well-being of the greater Charlotte community."
Dr. Garbini delivered the face shield parts he and Dr. Harris produced to an approved CharlotteMEDI drop-off location on April 8. The parts will immediately be assembled into face shields, to later be shared with healthcare personnel working at area hospitals throughout Charlotte.
The new Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The act is a $2 trillion economic stimulus package created to provide assistance to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to individual rebates, expanded unemployment insurance, and assistance for small business, the CARES Act also includes the following provisions for individual and corporate donors:
- A one-time, above-the-line deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions made to qualifying charities. All taxpayers would be eligible, including those taking the standard deduction. It would apply to cash gifts made in 2020.
- For taxpayers who itemize their deductions, the cap on annual contributions in 2020 will be raised from 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100 percent.
- For corporations, the limit on deductions for contributions is elevated from 10 percent of AGI to 25 percent for 2020. Food donations would be available to 25 percent, up from the current 15 percent cap.