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.