Female Veterans Connect to VA Healthcare Benefits

On May 11, Central Piedmont hosted a "VA Women's Health Reengagement Training" event on its Cato Campus to give women veterans in the Charlotte region an opportunity to mingle with their peers and to learn more about the Veteran Administration's (VA) veteran- and women-centered healthcare services.

The event was part of Women Veterans Health Reengagement Training's (heaRT) initiative to raise awareness of the VA's healthcare policy changes so more female veterans will enroll and take advantage of the healthcare benefits that are available to them.

"Women veterans are one of the largest demographics to not utilize VA healthcare benefits," said Richard Bartell, director of Central Piedmont's Military Families and Veterans Services. "Many of them don't know that even if they have TRICARE or private insurance, they're still eligible. That's why this event is so important, it's connecting our veterans to the benefits they need and deserve."

During the four-hour event, participants networked with one another and learned more about:

  • women's health services
  • whole health and mental health services
  • how to determine their VA care eligibility
  • how to enroll in VA

Central Piedmont was one of two sites in North Carolina to host a Women Veterans heaRT event this month. A total of 13 Women Veterans heaRT events are scheduled to be held throughout the Southeast and the Midwest during May and June.

Learn more about Central Piedmont's Military Families and Veterans Services.

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Posted in Community, Foundation News, Students. Tagged as military, veterans.

Central Piedmont Holds 2022 Commencement

Central Piedmont Community College today hosted its 2021-2022 commencement ceremony at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Almost 900 students "marched" and received their college degrees. More than 2,300 students were eligible to graduate this year.

During the morning festivities, Mr. Kevin Tobin, a 2022 graduate, addressed his peers by delivering this year's commencement address. Ms. Evelyn Hill, also a 2022 graduate, was the commencement speaker at the 2 p.m., ceremony. This is the fifth time Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation. Evelyn and Kevin both graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in human services technology substance abuse.

Students matriculating from Central Piedmont with a curriculum degree, diploma, or certificate had the option of participating in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. This is the first year Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-credit programs into a single ceremony, giving graduates the choice to "walk" in the graduation ceremony that better fit their families' schedule.

In addition to hearing Evelyn's powerful message during the 2 p.m., ceremony, attendees also saw Dr. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, confer an Honorary Associate Degree in Arts to Mr. Wilton L. Parr, a long-time Central Piedmont student, volunteer, and donor.

Central Piedmont will offer two commencement ceremonies this year to honor its graduates. 2022 summer and fall semester graduates will participate in a special commencement service on December 13, 2022, at 10 a.m., at Bojangles Coliseum. The addition of a fall ceremony will allow the college's summer and fall graduates to be honored in the same timely way as its spring graduates.

View photos from the day's festivities in our online gallery.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Students.

Dr. Deitemeyer Named To Most Influential Leader List

Congratulations to Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, on being named to Business North Carolina's "Power List 2022," a comprehensive list of North Carolina's most influential leaders.

Dr. Deitemeyer is one of 25 leaders named in the list's education category which features some of the education industry's most notable leaders whose success is considered essential for the state to make economic and social progress. View the complete list of this year's honorees.

Business North Carolina has shared the stories of North Carolina's business community for more than 40 years. Each spring and fall, the publication publishes a special annual publication the Spring North Carolina Power List and the Fall North Carolina Economic Development Guide.

The special spring issue always includes a list of the state's most powerful leaders, compiled with insight from the publication's editorial team and keen observers of state industry. The purpose of the Spring North Carolina Power List is to shed light on the folks who are driving much of the change in the state and who are making a significant impact in their enterprises, industries, and communities.

Kudos to Dr. Deitemeyer on this accomplishment and to her fellow honorees.

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Posted in Announcements, Foundation News.

Second Cohort of STRIVE Scholars Graduates

Central Piedmont is excited to announce that its second cohort of STRIVE Scholars graduated yesterday during a special commencement ceremony on the college's Harris Campus.

The STRIVE (Strengthening Teachers. Reaching Individuals. Valuing Everyone.) Scholars program is a joint early childhood education initiative between the college, Mecklenburg County, The Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council that seeks to address a local shortage in the public Pre-K teacher workforce. The program accomplishes this goal by removing the many financial and personal barriers students who are pursuing an associate degree in early childhood education may face by providing them with better access and the support services they need to succeed.

Founded in January 2020, the STRIVE Scholars Program has graduated 38 students to date. Twenty-five scholars graduated from the program during the May 10 ceremony, and more STRIVE scholarships are set to be awarded to eligible students in summer and fall 2022.

The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically-qualified applicants preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County. In addition to receiving financial assistance, scholars also receive access to mental health supports, professional and personal development opportunities, and can apply for need-based support, including assistance with transportation and child care.

"The STRIVE Scholars program supports higher education access by removing barriers that may cause a student to lose focus and not be able to give 100 percent to their studies," said Toria Grant, STRIVE recruitment project manager and an early childhood education instructor at Central Piedmont. "This program helps us produce graduates who are prepared to serve the county's ever-growing pre-k population by providing Mecklenburg's youngsters with a high quality pre-K education that will better prepare them for their primary education and achieving academic success in the future."

Learn more about the program or attend a virtual STRIVE information session.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Scholarships, Students.

Partnership with BCBS of North Carolina Aims to Build Diversity in Insurance Industry

Through a partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Central Piedmont Community College has received $211,485 to provide scholarships to develop a more diverse and inclusive talent pool of trained and licensed individuals for the insurance production and sales industry. The goal of the partnership is to increase access to underserved populations and communities by diversifying the pool of licensed insurance agents.

Central Piedmont will use the funds to offer scholarships to 26 students per year for five years to cover the cost of insurance pre-licensing courses provided by the college plus licensing exam fees and NC Department of Insurance fees. As scholarship recipients, students also will receive instruction through the "Working Smart: Essential Skills for Workplace Success and Career Development" program and wrap-around services, including interview preparation, additional academic and career counseling, and small business counseling.

Scholarship eligibility is open to persons who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Bilingual English-Spanish
  • Female
  • Age 18-49
  • Workers displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Persons in transition leaving high school or college, or looking to make a career change.

Interested individuals can apply to the program starting in May. Successful applicants will be notified in July, with classes beginning in late-August.

"Central Piedmont is so appreciative of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for making such an investment to advance diversity in the field of insurance agents," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "We know this program will generate much interest and provide another pathway at the college that will lead to rewarding and family-sustaining careers with great opportunities for advancement, perhaps even business ownership."

For more information, contact Hunter Smith, director of Central Piedmont's James R. Worrell Sr. Financial Services Institute, at 704-330-4685 and hunter.smith@cpcc.edu.

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Posted in Announcements, Community, Foundation News.

Alumni Highlight - Joe Vagnone '87

For the last nine years, Joe Vagnone has been hosting "Local Biz Now," a radio program on WSIC 105.9FM dedicated to sharing a behind-the-scenes look at area businesses, with advice for new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. His own experience spans a wide variety of industries, including multi-state restaurant concepts, multiple different franchises, publishing, and more. For 30-plus years, he has also worked as a business broker, helping others to buy and sell small businesses.

Joe Vagnone"I like to say, 'I have bought, sold, owned and operated more small businesses than anybody I have ever met,'" Vagnone says, with a smile. And it all began at Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in hotel and restaurant management in 1987.

It was a natural fit for him, he says, a first generation college student pursuing his goal to own a restaurant and be self-employed.

"The holistic approach to education and training within the hospitality industry at the time was one of the top in the country," says Vagnone, who received Central Piedmont's Hagemeyer Award in 2015--the prestigious honor is given to one outstanding alumnus or alumna annually. 

"This approach required me to understand accounting, legal, and personnel issues and prepared me for rapid growth, allowing me to rise above my contemporaries..." he says.

Outside of classes, he also gained valuable leadership experience at the college. That included stints as student body president and as an executive board member of the Hotel Restaurant Association Club, for which he traveled across the country promoting the college's hotel and restaurant management program (now known as "hospitality management") at industry expos.

After graduating, Vagnone opened his first sandwich shop with the help of connections and relationships he had made through the college.

For Central Piedmont students just starting out, he offers this advice: "To succeed, learning is not a singular or defined process. It is constantly learning something new and enjoying the process, while applying it in an intentional manner."

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Posted in Alumni, Community, Foundation News. Tagged as alumni spotlight, alumni success.

Central Piedmont Contributes Nearly $1 Billion to Mecklenburg Economy

The results of an economic impact study conducted for Central Piedmont Community College found the institution contributes $827.7 million annually to the Mecklenburg County economy, an amount equal to 0.7 percent of the county's gross regional product.

Central Piedmont's measured annual $827.7 million economic impact includes $139.9 million in operations spending, $35.6 million in construction spending, $30.8 million in student spending, and a $621.4-million impact made by college alumni who live and work in Mecklenburg County.

Expressed in terms of jobs, Central Piedmont's $827.7 million impact supports 11,274 jobs, or about one out of 85 jobs in Mecklenburg County.

"For almost 60 years, Central Piedmont Community College has established a solid record and reputation for making a positive impact in Mecklenburg County," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "We know generations of students and hundreds of employers have been benefited from having a comprehensive college and workforce development partner such as Central Piedmont serving Charlotte-Mecklenburg. We also know Central Piedmont makes a significant impact as an economic engine, boosting the county's economy and generating an excellent return on the investment made by students and taxpayers."

The economic modeling firm Emsi conducted the study, looking at college data from the 2019-20 fiscal year. The study found that for every dollar students invest in their Central Piedmont education they receive $3.80 in future earnings for an annual rate of return of 17 percent. For every dollar of public money invested in the college, taxpayers receive $1.40 for an average rate of return of 2.5 percent. From a societal perspective, for every dollar invested in Central Piedmont, residents in North Carolina receive $6.40 in return from the contributions made by Central Piedmont graduates in the state's workforce.

For more details about the economic impact study, please read the full Executive Summary of the Economic Value of Central Piedmont or view the Central Piedmont economic impact fact sheet. Both documents are accessible on the college's Reports and Publications Web page.

"Central Piedmont creates value and helps power the Charlotte-Mecklenburg economic engine in many ways. The college helps students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential. The college helps keep students in the county, generating new dollars and opportunities for Mecklenburg County. Central Piedmont provides students with the education, training, and skills they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers that provide real economic mobility," Deitemeyer said.

"The college supports the vast variety of industries in Mecklenburg County, serves county businesses, and benefits society as a whole in North Carolina from an expanded economy and improved quality of life. Additionally, the benefits created by Central Piedmont extend to the state and local government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings. Now, more than ever, as Mecklenburg County emerges from the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Piedmont is a sound investment and critical community partner," Deitemeyer added.

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Posted in Announcements, Community, Foundation News. Tagged as economic impact.

Central Piedmont Alumna to Compete on "Chopped"

Chef Lisa BrooksCentral Piedmont Culinary Arts Alumna Lisa Brooks will be competing on the Food Network's "Chopped" on February 15 at 9 p.m. Watch Lisa compete against three other chefs in the special "Black History Month" episode to see if she will be named the Chopped Champion.

Chef Brooks will also be a featured guest at the Central Piedmont Foundation's Swirl event on April 8, 2022.


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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News. Tagged as alumni spotlight.

Central Piedmont Selects Artists to Design Mural for New Student Union

Central Piedmont Community College has selected two local artists, Rosalia Torres-Weiner and Felicia Sky Sutton, to create a large-scale mural honoring the past history of the college, documenting the present, and reflecting the aspirations of Central Piedmont students for the future.

Torres-Weiner and Sutton, former Central Piedmont students, were chosen from a highly skilled pool of applicants to work collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to create an interactive mural. The art work will be located in the dining area of the college's new student union, a part of Central Piedmont's new Parr Center complex, located on the Central Campus. The Parr Center will serve as the student services hub and include a new campus library, a 430-seat theater, a rooftop terrace, a 1,100- square-foot art gallery, and a maker's space for students to explore careers and creativity. The Parr Center will open to students and the public later this year.

According to the project's request for proposal, the mural's graphic design will span an 8-foot by 30-foot wall on the first floor of the 184,000-square-foot building. Its placement will benefit from the nearby dining space, which is flooded with natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that overlook the Charlotte city skyline. The mural will demonstrate the college's commitment to the fine arts and its support for the creative culture of its surrounding community.

Rosalia Torres-Weiner is an artist, activist and community leader in Charlotte. Her art captures the themes, colors and rich symbolism of her native home of Mexico. She took her first steps toward a creative career by taking graphic design courses at Central Piedmont. After operating a successful interior arts business, Torres-Weiner shifted the focus of her work from commercial art to art activism in 2010, by using her art to document social conditions and to raise awareness about issues affecting immigrant communities such as family separation, access to public education, racism, and moving beyond common stereotypes. Her work is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum and has been exhibited in a variety of venues, including the McColl Center for Arts and Innovation, Levine Museum of the New South, the City of Raleigh Museum, the Latin American Center for Arts Gallery, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and the Mexican Cultural Institute at the Mexican Embassy in Washington D.C. Her story "The Magic Kite" was adapted by The Children's Theatre of Charlotte.

Felicia Sky Sutton is an educator, muralist, and multimedia artist who believes art creation and art education are an important pathway to self-empowerment. Working with paint, video, digital illustration, and most recently animation, She captures the essence of her subjects and tells stories through colorful portraiture, symbolism, and visual metaphors. Sutton is passionate about the use of public art to empower, build, and strengthen communities, and to bring new life to forgotten spaces. She attended Central Piedmont's dual enrollment program before transferring to and graduating from Appalachian State University with a bachelor's degree in art and visual culture. Her work has been in a number of group and solo exhibitions in Boone, N.C.; Charlotte and, most recently, in Philadelphia. In addition, she has been published in multiple publications and magazines.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Campus, Foundation News.

Donation Tax Benefits Expire 12/31

Attention Central Piedmont donors:

A temporary and pandemic-related tax provision will permit deductions for donations to qualifying charities on 2021 federal income tax returns.  

Married couples filing jointly can deduct up to $600 in cash donations while individual taxpayers can deduct up to $300 in donations. Taxpayers will not need to itemize deductions of their tax returns to take advantage of the provision, which creates tax-favorable donation options not normally available to about 90 percent of tax filers.

This provision applies to donations made by December 31, 2021.

For more information, visit https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/expanded-tax-benefits-help-individuals-and-businesses-give-to-charity-in-2021

To make a gift to Central Piedmont, visit our donation page.

Thanks to all who support Central Piedmont with your time, talent, and treasures. 

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Posted in Announcements, Foundation News.

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