EdNC.org: Central Piedmont Community College wants to create opportunityMarch 29, 2023
by Hannah McClellan, EdNC.org
The summer after Tyler Jackson graduated from high school, he took two college courses through Central Piedmont Community College's Summer Bridge program, meant to help students successfully transition from high school to college.
After one of the orientation sessions Jackson attended, a college staff member dismissed all participants but the "opportunity scholars." Jackson was not an opportunity scholar at the time and he knew little about the program, but he was curious, so he decide to stay behind and learn more. That decision led to Jackson applying for and eventually receiving the scholarship he says changed his life.
"Central Piedmont has opened so many doors," Jackson said in a college promotional video. "They cared more about who I was as a person. Being able to go to school without having to worry about the cost I'm just grateful."
Jackson is one of nearly 400 opportunity scholars Central Piedmont Community College has served since it launched the program in 2017, according to college data last fall. Through the Opportunity Scholarship, students underrepresented in college receive funding to fully cover tuition, books, and fees for two years. In addition, these students receive a notebook computer and access to one-on-one academic coaching for career planning, internships, and job placement.
This support was key for his success, said Jackson, who graduated with an associate of arts degree in December. During the start of the pandemic and remote learning, college staff members kept him from "falling through the cracks."
"It's been a long time coming," he told EdNC. "And my experience has been amazing. I've always felt welcome. Especially being an opportunity scholar, that opened up so many more doors being able to sit in different meetings, visit different places, and being able to have exposure to these things I wouldn't have probably had if I wasn't an opportunity scholar."
The total number of Opportunity Scholarships offered per year varies based on available funding provided by local donors, the college's website says. You can learn more about the scholarship and how to apply here. You can learn about N.C. Community College System (NCCCS) scholarships here.
'What community college can do'
Many community college students some of them adult learners, low income, or first-generation college-goers experience various barriers that can make academic success more difficult. In recent years, North Carolina community colleges have increasingly added support to help their students stay in college.
Community college leaders say meeting the financial, transportation, and child care needs of students helps them complete their programs.
About 48% of N.C. Community College students complete a degree or credential in six years, based on 2022 data from myFutureNC. That rate is lower for students ages 21-24 (38%), Black students (30%), and part-time students (20%).
In comparison, nearly 150 opportunity scholars have graduated from Central Piedmont since 2017. That's a 53% completion rate for cohorts through 2020-21, each before the six-year completion target used by myFutureNC. This success rate is in spite of the fact that many opportunity scholars face more barriers to completion compared to the general community college population. The majority of scholars in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 cohorts can graduate starting this year.
Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president at Central Piedmont, said the Opportunity Scholarship is one of many ways the college is working to expand its impact on students, the economy, and the wider community.
Central Piedmont adds $827.7 million to the economy each year, according to a recent economic impact study, and supports 11,274 jobs. For every dollar students invest in their education at Central Piedmont, they gain $3.80 in lifetime earnings.
"The college helps students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential," Deitemeyer said in a release. "Central Piedmont provides students with the education, training, and skills they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers that provide real economic mobility."
Dr. Deninne Pritchett, the college's chair of psychology, understands that economic mobility well.
Pritchett first started college as a teen mother, at 18. She dropped out of college four times and once from Central Piedmont before returning to successfully graduate from the college in 2010 with an associate degree in art.
"When I arrived at Central Piedmont, there was something different here," she said. "Even the first time when I didn't stay, there was something different, which led me to come back."
Pritchett, who went on to earn a doctorate in psychology, is now the creator of the Adjunct Faculty Learning Community and facilitator for the Diversified Teaching Practices Learning Commons at the college. She also earned an American College and University Educators (ACUE) Advanced Certificate for Teaching Effectiveness and is a featured expert in an ACUE course on learner-centered, equitable teaching practices.
"It just seems like this is what I'm supposed to be doing, because this is where my foundation was set," Pritchett said.
Today, in addition to teaching students psychology, Pritchett aims to make them feel welcomed, understood, and empowered.
She believes that one interaction can change everything, because for her, it did. The last time she enrolled at Central Piedmont, it was a kind financial aid advisor who made her believe in herself.
"I'm a representative of what community college can do for you," Pritchett said. "It's like a full-circle moment that I don't sit high and look low, this is a partnership for me to support students to get wherever they want to get to, whatever that goal is."
For Tyler Jackson, his goal of graduating college expanded to studying abroad while at Central Piedmont and joining student government goals he achieved without stressing about money, thanks to the scholarship program. After graduating with his associate degree debt-free, he feels well-positioned to pursue a bachelor's degree in business and media at UNC Charlotte. In the meantime, he's applied to be a substitute teacher at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, in addition to working at his production company and promoting his film, "LoverBoy The Movie." He's also dreaming about becoming a full-time entertainer acting, filmmaking, and directing or a professor in the arts.
For him, programs like the Opportunity Scholarship are important because they help first-generation and low-income students "seek better" for themselves. Today, he also works as a tutor coordinator at TRIO, Upward Bound the program that initially connected him to Central Piedmont's Summer Bridge program where he aims to be like the mentors he found at Central Piedmont to younger students.
Jackson is grateful for where he is following graduation and is excited for his future and his career. But, what if he decides to pursue something completely different?
"I can also always come back to Central Piedmont," he said. "It's a place where I've always felt at home."Republished with permission from https://www.ednc.org/central-piedmont-community-college-wants-to-create-opportunity/. Read more
WBTV: Lowe's Foundation hopes to address growing need of tradespeopleMarch 21, 2023
The Lowe's Foundation has launched the Gable Grants Program to fund programs for skilled trades. Their partnership with Central Piedmont Community College supports students building careers as skilled tradespeople while also filling a gap in the current local workforce.
Learn more via WBTV's report: Lowe's Foundation hopes to address growing need of tradespeople Read more
Students Honored as Coca-Cola Academic Team ScholarsMarch 16, 2023
Two Central Piedmont Community College students have been named 2023 Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholars, in partnership with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Each will receive a scholarship.
Ashton Leswing has been named a Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Letrell Grady has been named Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars across the nation with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion.
"The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges," said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Coca- Cola Scholars Foundation. "We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow's leaders of the global community."
Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service, and this year winners were chosen from more than 2,400 applicants.
Coca-Cola Academic Team members will be recognized in both local and statewide ceremonies and will also be recognized internationally during Phi Theta Kappa's annual convention, PTK Catalyst, to be held in Columbus, Ohio, April 20-22.
Central Piedmont to offer teacher licensing certificatesMarch 1, 2023
Bachelor degree graduates who are considering a career in the elementary school classroom will soon be able to receive teacher licensing at multiple North Carolina community colleges, including Central Piedmont Community College.
The new program makes teacher licensing more affordable and convenient with classes at local community colleges. The seven institutions approved thus far to offer the new licensing program are Alamance, Blue Ridge, Central Piedmont, Fayetteville Technical, McDowell Technical, Wayne, and Western Piedmont community colleges.
Central Piedmont will launch its program in August, with the beginning of the fall 2023 semester. The Elementary Education Residency Licensure Certificate program will offer instruction and coaching for residency elementary teachers seeking licensure. This program will help support students with classroom observations and one-on-one sessions, and assist with the creation of their portfolio in preparation for licensing from the state.
This new path to elementary licensure will expand Central Piedmont's current teacher preparation track, which prepares students to transfer to a bachelor degree education program through completion of an associate in arts or associate in science degree.
For more information about Central Piedmont's new teacher licensing certificate program, email Jennifer Perkins, chair of the Teacher Preparation Pathway Program.
Central Piedmont & Western Carolina Partner to Launch Catamount Conntection ProgramFebruary 2, 2023
Central Piedmont Community College and Western Carolina University (WCU) announced today the launch of the Catamount Connection Program a new direct pathway to a four-year degree for Central Piedmont students.
Dr. Kelli R. Brown, Western Carolina University chancellor, and Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president, met at WCU to sign a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions that guarantees admission to the university for Central Piedmont associate degree graduates who satisfy certain requirements.
The memorandum launches the Catamount Connection Program. The program's purpose is to create a direct pathway for Central Piedmont graduates to acquire an affordable and accessible four-year degree from WCU. As Deitemeyer announced, "Central Piedmont is excited and proud to partner with Western Carolina University to provide our students a seamless admissions pathway to the university. This program represents a wonderful opportunity for Central Piedmont students."
Brown said she wants to ensure students from Central Piedmont have immediate access to the affordability and quality of WCU. "It is so critical for students to see that if they want to go to a four-year college, but went to a two-year college, they have a pathway to that four-year institution," Brown said. "Western Carolina University is an NC Promise school; the affordability is there and, of course, the quality is always there. There are great advantages for us to have this memorandum of understanding, given that we are a quality four-year institution."
Deitemeyer is equally thrilled to provide WCU as an option for their graduates. "We know our students will be well-prepared here and well-cared for at WCU," she said. "In Cullowhee, they will enjoy challenging classes taught by superb faculty, a beautiful campus and a learning environment that fosters exploration, innovation and excellence. This program offers Central Piedmont students a great destination for pursuing a bachelor's degree."
Students who wish to participate in the Catamount Connection Program must satisfy the following conditions:
- Be a currently enrolled student at Central Piedmont, in a degree-seeking capacity
- Submit a WCU application for admission and records by WCU deadlines
- Submit the application fee or waiver, and fulfill all commitment action steps
- Be in good standing at Central Piedmont and other institutions attended
- Demonstrate good citizenship and conduct
- Earn and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 at Central Piedmont and a minimum GPA of 2.20 in their most recent term
- Earn an associate degree from Central Piedmont in a college transfer program or in an applied program for which an articulation agreement exists
- Enroll at WCU within one academic year of completion of the associate degree
"This transfer pathway also is a wonderful example of higher education partners in North Carolina working together to broaden access to a bachelor's degree and greater opportunities beyond," Deitemeyer explained. "It has been well documented that North Carolina and its workforce and economy need more individuals with bachelor's degrees. The Catamount Connection program addresses this need directly."
Visit WCU's website for more information about how to transfer.
Learn more about applying to Central Piedmont Community College.
Central Piedmont to provide customized training for IPEX USAJanuary 10, 2023
Central Piedmont Community College will provide specialized training for IPEX USA LLC., employees through funding from North Carolina's customized training program. IPEX USA will receive approximately $345,500 in training value from Central Piedmont over a two-year period. The training will cover a broad range of skills building and be delivered by the college's Engineering Technologies Division and other faculty and staff. The training and skills areas will include programmable logic controller, electrical circuit controls, electrical motor controls, Lean Overview, Lean Six Sigma, Root Cause Analysis, as well as multiple workplace and industrial safety courses. The N.C. Community College System's Customized Training Program offers training services and specialized programs to assist new and existing business and industry to remain productive and profitable in North Carolina.
IPEX USA LLC., was founded in 1992 and designs and manufactures thermoplastic piping systems. The company is increasing its Mecklenburg County footprint by building a new, state-of-the-art injection-molding plant in Pineville, N.C. The new 200,000 square-foot facility will encompass Industry 4.0, including artificial intelligence, and increase the company's ability to manufacture fittings for plumbing, electrical, industrial and municipal applications. This facility will become the company's technological flagship operation and be one of the most advanced plastics manufacturing facilities in the industry.
The IPEX expansion project will create approximately 230 jobs, including warehouse, production, maintenance, and production supervisor positions. Central Piedmont will provide the main training component, with the Polymers Center of Excellence providing injection-molding and extrusion training to support the 67 new machines that will be in the new facility. Both new and current Pineville employees will receive the training.
"Central Piedmont is excited to work with IPEX USA as the company expands its operations in Mecklenburg County. The college is eager to assist IPEX as it creates hundreds of new jobs and gives incumbent workers opportunities for growth within the company," said Allison Bowers, Central Piedmont director corporate learning and economic recruitment. "The college, through our Corporate Learning Center, will work hard to develop and deliver the customized training IPEX USA
will need to achieve its expansion goals."
Central Piedmont's Corporate Learning Center is the college's single point of contact for serving the wide range of learning and development needs of businesses and organizations in Mecklenburg County, including customized training. The college's span of learning, expertise and experience make Central Piedmont a uniquely positioned workforce development resource to help meet the performance and organizational needs of local companies.
To talk with a Corporate Learning Center team member, call 704.330.4660, or visit www.cpcc.edu/clc.
Central Piedmont Holds First December CommencementDecember 13, 2022
For the first time in its 59-year history, Central Piedmont Community College held a December commencement on Dec. 13, in Charlotte. Approximately 510 students walked across the Bojangles Coliseum stage to receive their earned credentials. More than 1,200 students had completed their programs of studies since Central Piedmont's May graduation.
Linda Nelson, a 2022 graduate, addressed her peers by delivering the commencement address. Nelson, an adult student who holds an MBA, is a new graduate from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in horticulture.
Central Piedmont was excited to offer a winter commencement this year to honor its graduates who completed their programs during the 2022 summer and fall semesters. The addition of a winter ceremony allows the college to honor and celebrate its summer and fall graduates in the same timely way as its spring graduates.
For more information about Central Piedmont's nearly 300 degree, diploma and certificate programs, including GED and adult high school, visit the college website.
New Nursing Program Graduates First ClassDecember 8, 2022
Central Piedmont Community College has graduated its first class of practical nurses from the Dickson Practical Nursing Program. The 10 graduates from the newly-established one-year program are now eligible to sit for the national licensure exam to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).
The new graduates participated in a nursing pinning ceremony on Dec. 6, and will walk in Central Piedmont's first-ever winter graduation ceremony on Dec. 13, at Bojangles Coliseum.
The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte awarded Central Piedmont a $500,000 grant in 2021 to develop a new LPN program at the college to provide students an accelerated path to a meaningful, family-sustaining career in the healthcare industry and address specific employment needs within the Charlotte region's healthcare sector.
The Dickson Practical Nursing Program enables students to earn their professional credential in one year, preparing them for employment more quickly. This is especially important, given the median LPN salary is $48,055, which offers a viable economic-mobility pathway for lower-income residents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
LPNs work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), with employment opportunities available immediately in hospitals; rehabilitation, long-term care, and home health facilities; clinics; and physicians' offices.
Central Piedmont will expand the second class to as many as 24 seats and then monitor local needs for LPNs and adjust the size of future classes to meet demand. The program is based on the college's Central Campus.
Duke Energy Grant Creates Lineworker Training ProgramNovember 29, 2022
16-week program to launch in spring 2023, produce a pipeline of skilled line workers
Duke Energy has given Central Piedmont Community College a grant of $500,000 to create a utility line worker training program at the college's Harper Campus. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates about 23,000 openings for line installers and repairers will be available each year, on average, over the next decade. With this trend in mind, the partnership seeks to develop a pipeline of diverse, skilled, and talented utility line workers by investing in the education and career development of local citizens.
"Our most valuable asset is our people, and line workers are the foundation of our company especially as we modernize our grid and integrate new technologies," said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy's executive vice president of customer experience, solutions and services. "Recruiting through the Central Piedmont line worker program and other similar high-caliber community college programs will help ensure we develop a skilled workforce that meets our candidates' expectations."
Central Piedmont will use the grant to provide instructional support and purchase some of the equipment, materials, and supplies needed to launch and sustain the new 16-week training program. The new program will open in spring 2023, with the first of three planned cohorts of 12 students. Once the program is up and running at capacity, overlapping and staggering the program's start dates throughout the academic year will enable the college to produce as many as 144 graduates every 12 months.
"This partnership program will give our diverse student body the opportunity to learn about and engage with a career pathway they may not have considered previously," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "This is a high-demand, specialized field with enormous growth potential. With utility line workers earning an estimated starting annual salary of $74,000, this is a career that can transform the lives of students and their families."
As part of the program, participants will complete a rigorous curriculum and achieve a 580-hour academic and field training goal. Students who complete the 16-week program will be able to enter the workforce quickly and will have earned multiple, specialized industry training credentials, including OSHA, CPR, Arc Flash Safety for Utilities, Bucket Truck Rescue, Class A CDL License, Pole Top Rescue, Trenching/Shoring/Confined Space Training, and Work Zone Flagger.
Duke Energy and Central Piedmont leaders announced plans for the program during a Nov. 29 event, at a Duke Energy operations center, in Charlotte.
"Without Duke Energy's financial support, as well as their technical expertise, the college would not be able to launch this program. This is a true partnership, and I commend and thank Duke Energy for coming alongside the college to make this much needed program a reality," Deitemeyer remarked. "We are eager to open the program, and we thank Duke Energy for their support and collaboration."
For more information about Central Piedmont's new utility line worker training program, contact Stephen Gerhardt, senior program developer, at 704.330.4451 or Stephen.Gerhardt@cpcc.edu.
Coca-Cola Consolidated and College Launching Career PipelineNovember 4, 2022
Nation's Largest Coca-Cola Bottler, Central Piedmont Community College, and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Collaborate to Foster Economic Mobility
Coke Consolidated is funding up to 30 apprenticeships at Central Piedmont Community College to spur interest in high-demand positions in manufacturing, equipment repair and logistics at its Charlotte-area facilities.
Qualified applicants will receive financial support for career certificates in fields such as HVAC repair and manufacturing, while gaining experience through part-time positions at Coke Consolidated. The application process will begin in early 2023.
"These scholarships exemplify our commitment to empowering the next generation of diverse servant leaders," said Dave Katz, President and Chief Operating Officer at Coke Consolidated. "We're looking for talented candidates who want to grow their skillsets and their careers."
"Coke Consolidated is dedicated to providing opportunities for new and existing teammates to continuously learn and grow," said Brent Tollison, a Senior Vice President at Coke Consolidated and member of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Board of Trustees.
"We want to invest in people and to provide the resources and encouragement they need to achieve their goals," he said. "These aren't job opportunities. These are career opportunities."
Coke Consolidated is committed to workforce development and economic opportunity in the communities it serves. Applicants selected for an apprenticeship will have ongoing training and leadership development opportunities as part of their employment experience.
Central Piedmont's credentialing programs are flexible and designed to meet the needs of students who also are working part-time. Coke Consolidated's apprenticeship program targets the more than 65% of adults in the region who don't have a bachelor's degree.
"Central Piedmont is pleased and proud to partner with Coke Consolidated to offer students a pathway to invaluable work experience and rewarding, high-demand careers in manufacturing," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont President. "We are eager to open the program, and we thank Coke Consolidated for their support and collaboration."
Coke Consolidated is working with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance (CLT Alliance) to highlight opportunities in the manufacturing sector and to promote scholarships for interested applicants. Charlotte is home to more than 3,600 manufacturing companies, which together employ over 145,000 people. 7,500 new manufacturing jobs have been announced in the region since 2020, according to CLT Alliance.
"Manufacturing is integral in the Charlotte Region, and the industry and next generation of talent are poised to shape our future economy," said CLT Alliance President and CEO Janet LaBar. "We applaud Coke Consolidated's commitment to strengthening our workforce and believe collaborations like this will strengthen our pipeline, enrich our economy, and provide a pathway to opportunity for our region's residents."
Coca-Cola Consolidated currently has open positions in the Charlotte area, including many technical jobs. Learn more by visiting Careers.CokeConsolidated.com.
About Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc.
Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Our Purpose is To Honor God in all we do, To Serve Others, To Pursue Excellence, and To Grow Profitably. For over 120 years, we have been deeply committed to the consumers, customers, and communities we serve and are passionate about the broad portfolio of beverages and services we offer. We make, sell, and distribute beverages of The CocaCola Company and other partner companies in more than 300 brands and flavors across 14 states and the District of Columbia to approximately 60 million consumers. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Coca-Cola Consolidated is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "COKE." More information about the Company is available at www.cokeconsolidated.com.
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