Central Piedmont Community College hosted multiple commencement ceremonies outdoors on its Overcash Lawn, located in front of Overcash Center on Central Campus, on May 12 and 13, to ensure the celebration of its 2021 graduates was conducted safely and in accordance with NCDHHS and CDC guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following outdoor commencement ceremonies were held:
- Wednesday, May 12, 2021
- 11 a.m.: Health Science programs
- 2 p.m.: Skilled Trades, College and Career Readiness
- Thursday, May 13, 2021
- 9 a.m.: Business, Engineering, and Technology
- 11 a.m.: Transfer Degree Programs
- 2 p.m.: Transfer Degree Programs
More than 800 students from the 2021 spring semester, as well as the 2020 summer and fall semesters, "marched" and received their college degrees during the first outdoor commencement ceremony the college has hosted in 35 years. (The last outdoor ceremony was held in 1986, on the Central Campus Quad.) More than 2,430 students were eligible to graduate this year.
During the May 12 festivities, Mr. Marco Gallardo Cuervo, who graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science in Welding Technology degree, addressed his fellow graduates. Ms. Emma Hoff, an Associate in Arts student delivered the May 13 commencement address to her peers.This is the fourth consecutive year Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation.
The Mecklenburg County Pre-K initiative, the Foundation for the Carolinas, the Comprehensive Early Learning Center, and the Central Piedmont Foundation have awarded Central Piedmont's early childhood education program a $4 million grant to create the STRIVE Scholars program.
The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically qualified students preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County.
According to research conducted by Mecklenburg County, Charlotte's workforce lacks the postsecondary education necessary to assure the quality of its lead and assistant Pre-K teachers in the classroom.
The college's STRIVE Scholars program seeks to address this workforce need by providing students who are pursuing an Associate in Applied Science or certificate in early childhood education with better access to a higher education and need-based support services, including:
- child care
In addition, the program will provide Scholars with comprehensive support services, such as academic advising, mentoring, and more, to ensure their academic success.
The early childhood education program is grateful and excited to be a part of this important initiative to bring universal pre-kindergarten to Mecklenburg County.
Learn more about the STRIVE Scholarship.
Today, leadership for Johnson C. Smith University and Central Piedmont Community College announced "JCSU Connect" a new bachelor's degree pathway that will expand college access to more students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and beyond. This new collaboration is part of JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister's mission to help address the lack of economic upward mobility in Charlotte by providing local students a guided pathway to earn bachelor's degrees from JCSU.
"For more than 150 years, JCSU has been a leader in providing educational access," said Armbrister. "As the University continues to focus on providing opportunities to address economic upward mobility in Charlotte, we look forward to this new partnership with Central Piedmont Community College to assist those seeking bachelor's degrees and experience Charlotte's HBCU, the only HBCU in partnership with Central Piedmont."
JCSU Connect is a "2+2" program, meaning participating students will complete an associate degree at Central Piedmont and a bachelor's degree at JCSU. During the first two years of study, students in the JCSU Connect Program will take classes at Central Piedmont and engage in intentional career and academic workshops at JCSU. During the third-year, students will enroll at JCSU and be placed in an on-campus paid internship (via federal work study) at JCSU that correlates with their field of study. During the final year of study, participants will complete their academic program at JCSU and engage in experiential learning, including internships and undergraduate research.
"We are excited to partner with Johnson C. Smith University and thrilled to offer this pathway to our students," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "JCSU Connect will be a wonderful program for our students who want to earn a four-year degree. We know they will flourish at JCSU. At the same time, this transfer program is another great example of the higher education community in Charlotte working together to build more avenues to opportunity and enhance our community's economic mobility."Read more
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The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte has awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $500,000 grant to develop a new licensed practical nursing program at the college that will provide students with an accelerated path to a meaningful, family-sustaining career in the healthcare industry and address the employment needs of Charlotte's healthcare sector. Thanks to the Foundation's generous gift, the program will permanently be named the Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont.
"This gift will provide us with the resources we need to create a quality program," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "The funds will not only allow us to provide financial aid to our most in need students, but also enable us to hire full- and part-time faculty, develop challenging course content and purchase program-specific material and equipment that will produce quality graduates prepared to enter the workforce."
Licensed practical nurses serve an important role in the healthcare delivery system, ensuring quality care for patients. They assist physicians and registered nurses in providing critical, essential services, including monitoring patients' vital signs and supervising nursing assistants and collaborating with other members of the healthcare team. Licensed practical nurses are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, private practices, medical offices and with home healthcare agencies.
Central Piedmont's licensed practical nursing program will enable students to earn their professional credential in one year, preparing them for employment more quickly. This is especially important, given the median licensed practical nursing salary is $48,055, which offers a viable economic-mobility pathway for low-income residents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
"The Foundation values and appreciates Central Piedmont's important education and career training role in our community," said R. Stuart Dickson, chairman of the board of directors for The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte. "The college is a critical resource in expanding opportunities for the citizens of Mecklenburg County. This grant addresses two of The Dickson Foundation's priorities education and healthcare. We are pleased to partner with Central Piedmont to begin and name this new program."
The Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont will be based on the college's Central Campus and will focus on patient data collection and subsequent care, safety and hygiene, medications, use of medical records, nursing procedures, applying anatomy and physiology, professional behavior, and healthcare law and policy.
The first cohort of licensed practical nursing students is expected to begin classes in fall 2021 and graduate in summer 2022. Upon completing the program, all of the program's graduates will take the National Council Licensure Examination in Practical Nursing to become a nationally-certified licensed practical nurse. It is anticipated the program will begin with 18 students in its first year and grow to 40 students in the second year.
Central Piedmont will have the option to add students in subsequent years to meet student and workforce demand.
The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte is a longtime supporter of Central Piedmont and of healthcare and education in the Charlotte area. The Foundation's grant will help the college further progress toward its Powering a Stronger Future campaign goal of $40 million.
Individuals interested in learning more about the Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont can contact Jeanette Cheshire, associate dean of nursing and nurse aid at Central Piedmont, at 704.330.6451 or at email@example.com.
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
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.
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
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