Central Piedmont's Opportunity Scholarship Initiative provides low-income students with a pathway to a degree and greater economic mobility by covering the full cost of attendance tuition, books, and fees for two years. Recipients also receive a notebook computer to meet their digital needs.
Central Piedmont's $52,500 grant is part of a larger, $9.25 million commitment the Lowes Foundation made to the greater Charlotte region on Oct. 13, to support some of the most critical challenges facing Charlotte today: providing safe affordable housing, continuing to grow the skilled trade industry, ensuring access to technology, and boosting small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Piedmont will use its grant funds to support students participating in the ROC (Rebuilding Opportunities in Construction) program an initiative that trains and certifies high school students for in-demand trade skills in the construction industry and/or students who are interested in pursuing a construction-focused career pathway.
NC State's Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research recently released its International Education at North Carolina Community Colleges report, and Central Piedmont's efforts in providing international education opportunities to its students were featured in the report's findings.
The report is a collaboration between the Belk Center and the North Carolina Community College System Office and uses data collected during the 2019-2020 academic year to explore how North Carolina community colleges address the system's mission to "develop a globally and multi-cultural competent workforce."
The report provides a broad overview of what sorts of international education opportunities are available at NC community colleges and suggests that international education is much more prevalent at NC community colleges than national data indicates.
Central Piedmont has been offering study abroad experiences to its students and members of the local community in for more than 20 years. Each year, during spring break and the summer term, Central Piedmont faculty members lead short-term study abroad excursions to a variety of locations across the globe, including: Ecuador, Italy, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Peru, Tanzania, and many others.
Since the college's 2020 study abroad programs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Learning Office has turned its attention to:
- providing students with virtual, international exchange experiences
- encouraging students to apply for the Scholars of Global Distinction program
- ensuring the college's curriculum includes a global learning perspective
Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, through its charitable giving arm The Dowd Foundation, has awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $1-million grant to support plumbing and pipefitting scholarships and instruction at the college.
Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, founded in 1901, has a deep and ongoing interest in strengthening Charlotte's construction and infrastructure sectors. Charlotte Pipe, the nation's leading manufacturer of cast iron and plastic pipe and fittings for plumbing applications, has been working for more than a century to ensure the plumbing and pipefitting trades remain viable career paths for future generations.
"Charlotte Pipe and Foundry and The Dowd Foundation are proud to support the plumbing and pipefitting trades," said Hooper Hardison, president of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. "We know how essential these career paths can be for young people, as well as for our nation's infrastructure. We are delighted we have resources like Central Piedmont in our region to provide an education pipeline for the construction trades."
Central Piedmont will allocate Charlotte Pipe's gift in the following ways to recognize the company's important role in the region's plumbing and pipefitting sectors:
- Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company Scholarship Fund ($500,000)--This is a permanently endowed scholarship fund that will provide support for financially needy students enrolled in Central Piedmont plumbing and pipefitting courses.
- Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company Instructional Fund ($500,000)--This fund will support instruction in plumbing and pipefitting at Central Piedmont, providing the resources needed to purchase equipment and materials, invest in faculty development and address instructional capacity.
"We are so grateful to Charlotte Pipe and The Dowd Foundation for this generous and impactful grant," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "The Charlotte region needs many more skilled tradespersons, such as plumbers and pipefitters. These are stable, sustainable, and well-paying careers. This grant will help the college recruit and educate more individuals, setting them on a path to career success and economic mobility."
About Central Piedmont
Central Piedmont Community College is highly accessible and convenient to people of all ages who seek a real-world, affordable, hands-on education that will transform their lives and strengthen the economic, social, and cultural environment of Mecklenburg County. Central Piedmont is also a smart investment. At a fraction of the cost, students learn by doing, receiving a combination of technical and soft skills training from quality faculty who prepare them to enter the workforce and make a difference in their family, business, community, and world. Founded in 1963, Central Piedmont Community College has eight locations throughout Mecklenburg County, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma, and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special interest classes. For more information, visit cpcc.edu, or connect with the college on social media at cpcc.edu/social.
About Charlotte Pipe and Foundry
Charlotte Pipe and Foundry is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. and has seven plant locations across the United States. The nation's leading maker of cast iron and plastic pipe and fittings for plumbing applications, Charlotte Pipe and Foundry has been in continuous operation since 1901 and remains privately held. charlottepipe.com
Fall semester classes at Central Piedmont Community College will begin on Aug. 10, and be taught in multiple formats online, hybrid, blended and face-to-face. (Hybrid and blended courses include both online and some face-to-face instruction.)
For the safety and well-being of the campus community, the college will complete the vast majority of face-to-face instruction prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. After Thanksgiving, remaining class work will be finished online. Fall classes will end Dec. 11.
"Over the past several weeks, Central Piedmont Community College has been preparing for a safe and successful fall 2020 term," said Jeff Lowrance, vice president of communications, marketing & public relations at Central Piedmont. "Through numerous discussions and detailed planning across all units of the college, Central Piedmont seeks to provide a safe environment for its students to learn and faculty and staff members to work.
The majority of Central Piedmont students will come to campus a minimal number of times during the semester, with the rest of their instruction occurring online. The college is updating class schedules and information, so current and prospective students should check the college website periodically for updates.
"Central Piedmont is committed to delivering a high-quality educational experience regardless of the program or courses a student selects," Lowrance said. "The college is working hard to protect the well-being of everyone in our campus community and help students stay on track in their degree, diploma or certificate programs."
For students who attend classes on campus, the college has adopted a number of safety protocols. Current and prospective students should read the college's Student Guide to Returning to Campus carefully. It will be important to know and follow all of the safety practices detailed in the guide. These include wearing a face covering, keeping a social distance from others, washing hands frequently, monitoring possible COVID-19 symptoms and staying home if one feels ill at all.
The college offers nearly 300 programs to get students real-world ready. Affordable and flexible Central Piedmont classes can help students earn the skills to fast track into a career pathway or lay the foundation for a four-year degree. Registration for the fall term is now open. The college looks forward to welcoming new and returning students on Aug. 10.
The PNC Foundation has awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $25,000 grant to support the college's Single Stop program, an initiative that connects students to the support services they need to succeed in college and administers the college's Emergency Fund.
"Our entire community has been affected by COVID-19, and the pandemic has been particularly difficult for students who have lost employment and income -- and who depend on campus resources for access to learning and technology," said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas and a Central Piedmont Foundation board member. "During this challenging time, we want the Central Piedmont student community to know that we understand and are committed to helping address some of the hardships they are facing."
Since 2016, Central Piedmont's Single Stop program has served as a free, on-campus resource, removing barriers for students with critical needs by connecting them with resources to help them flourish academically, obtain good jobs and achieve financial stability -- through one-on-one meetings with experts representing the financial, tax and legal fields.
In addition to matching qualifying students with specific tools to help fuel upward mobility in their lives, Single Stop administers monies available through the college's Emergency Fund, which provides one-time support of up to $500 for students who have emergency needs related to housing, utilities, medical expenses, food, technology and more.
The PNC Foundation's gift is timely. The college will use the grant to help purchase the following items, which have been identified as students' most pressing needs during the coronavirus pandemic:
- Grocery/food gift cards. These items will allow students to purchase food, medicine and other essential products.
- Technology access (laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots). The college has witnessed a surge in students needing laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots since it moved much of its course instruction online.
- Resources for budgeting during a crisis. Single Stop's financial counselors are implementing and delivering online and virtual sessions for individuals and groups who need crisis budgeting assistance. Each emergency grant recipient is contacted by a financial counselor with tips on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic from a financial perspective.
"As a result of the pandemic, the college has witnessed an increase in the number of students needing resources to sustain their everyday lives in addition to their studies," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "Many agencies in the Charlotte area have had to close temporarily, limiting the resources students can turn to for emergency crisis assistance. The PNC Foundation's gift will help us streamline the connectivity process, ensuring resources such as nutrition assistance, technology support and financial aid reach the students who need them most in a critical time of need."
Learn more about Central Piedmont's Single Stop program. If interested in supporting the college's Emergency Fund, visit https://secure.cpccfoundation.org/donation/.
Since early March, the college has worked hard to remain safe during the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, while also continuing to help students stay on track and complete their programs of study. Central Piedmont employees and students have contributed to these efforts in many ways:
- Central Piedmont has entered the first phase in bringing employees and students back to campus. Starting in May, some health careers and commercial driver's license (CDL) students have the opportunity to resume and complete their spring semester classes that were suspended in March. Student Affairs also plans to have some staff members available in Central High and Levine I at limited times to serve current students. In addition, the college plans to bring some construction technologies students back to Harper Campus in June. While on campus, everyone will be working together to remain safe by following new COVID-19 guidelines. Read more about our return to school and what we are doing to protect the health and safety of our students and employees: https://www.cpcc.edu/news/may-8-2020-update-message-college-coronavirus
- Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of Central Piedmont's engineering program, and a select group of Associate in Engineering students are working to develop a new face shield prototype for nurses and other health professionals that is based on utility but also includes comfort, cleaning, and assembly: https://www.cpcc.edu/news/engineering-students-help-develop-face-shield-prototype-healthcare-workers-use
- The Small Business Center at Central Piedmont launched a new initiative -- the Small Business Rebound Program -- to provide small business owners impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with access to advisors who can assist with loan opportunities, new business model designs, and budget evaluations. The program will be available May 11- July 3, 2020: https://www.cpcc.edu/news/small-business-center-launch-c-19-small-business-rebound-program
- Opportunities to see art in person is limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Central Piedmont is continuing to find ways to provide virtual access to its galleries and events. Many Sensoria events have been adapted for online access and participation (https://sensoria.cpcc.edu/events) and the Gorelick Galleries are being featured in a Happy #FineArtFriday social media blast each Friday afternoon.
AT&T has awarded the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation a $15,000 grant in support of the college's Emergency Fund to provide immediate, short-term, financial support to students and employees who have emergency financial needs related to housing, utilities, medical expenses, food, technology and more.
"Thanks to AT&T's gift, the college is better positioned to respond to the growing financial needs of its internal community during this unprecedented time in our history," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "This gift will help us purchase the technology our students, faculty, and staff need to successfully learn and work remotely and provide them with the financial assistance they need for tuition, books, child care, transportation, medical care, and other needs."
Given the extraordinary disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the college has seen an increase in requests for assistance from students facing a variety of pressing challenges. The pandemic has significantly exacerbated these challenges. AT&T's support expands the college's ability to help students in need at this critical time.
"Just as all our lives have been impacted by COVID-19, everyone can play a part in helping neighbors and communities through these days," said Kathleen Evans, regional director of external affairs for AT&T. "We are pleased to be able to support Central Piedmont in making a difference for students and their families."
Individuals interested in making a gift to Central Piedmont's Emergency Fund can visit cpccfoundation.org/donation.
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.
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.
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