Central Piedmont and WGU North Carolina Sign Partnership Agreement
Central Piedmont Community College and WGU North Carolina, an affiliate of national online nonprofit Western Governors University, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement that will ease the transition for Central Piedmont graduates to pursue bachelor’s degrees offered by WGU, provide tuition discounts, and offer access to scholarship funds.
The MOU establishes the principles that all articulated associate degrees at Central Piedmont will transfer to WGU, thus facilitating a seamless process for graduates who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree. WGU is fully accredited and offers more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degrees in the high-demand fields of business, information technology, and education and healthcare, including nursing.
In addition, Central Piedmont graduates, faculty, and staff will receive a five-percent discount on WGU’s already cost-effective tuition of around $3,225 per six-month term for most undergraduate programs. They also will be eligible to apply for scholarships through the WGU Community College Partnerships scholarship program, which provides each recipient with a tuition credit of $2,000, awarded over four terms at $500 each term. WGU will provide webinar training to Central Piedmont faculty and staff to ensure understanding of the partnership and articulation pathways, and provide relevant print materials and a designated landing page with customized information.
“Central Piedmont is happy and excited about this partnership with WGU North Carolina because it offers our students another direct pathway to a four-year degree as well as an avenue to greater economic mobility,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “This program will serve the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community well as we work together to produce more individuals with bachelor’s degrees to meet our ever-growing workforce demands.”
WGU North Carolina officially launched in October 2017 through a partnership between the state and nationally recognized Western Governors University. More than 3,700 North Carolina residents are enrolled currently at WGU, and more than 4,000 alumni live in North Carolina.
“For nearly six decades, Central Piedmont Community College has been a champion of students and a catalyst for opportunity and business in North Carolina,” said WGU North Carolina Chancellor Catherine Truitt. “It’s an honor to partner with Central Piedmont to provide a seamless transition for its graduates who want to pursue their bachelor’s degrees at a competency-based online university offering programs in high-demand fields.”
For more information about WGU North Carolina, visit nc.wgu.edu.
Central Piedmont’s Inaugural Year Up Class Graduates
Central Piedmont Community College announces its inaugural Year Up Charlotte class of 40 students graduated on July 23 during a virtual commencement ceremony, hosted by Year Up Charlotte and its long-term partner, Bank of America.
The college began partnering with the national nonprofit Year Up in August 2019, when the organization launched its Charlotte location with generous support from Bank of America, the John M. Belk Endowment, and the Duke Endowment. The intensive, yearlong program prepares students (ages 18–26) for entry-level technology and customer-facing roles in fields such as business operations, information technology, and software development and support.
Trinity Simpson, one of the students graduating from Year Up Charlotte’s first class, delivered the keynote speech at the July 23 commencement ceremony. Simpson feared that if he stayed in his small town in North Carolina, he would “be working a minimum wage job with no opportunity and become another statistic.” He has completed his Year Up internship at Bank of America in cyber security and has accepted an offer as an operations control analyst at the bank.
The students enrolled in Central Piedmont’s Year Up program at the beginning of the 2019 fall semester. Participants spent their first semester taking technical and professional skills classes taught by Central Piedmont and Year Up staff, and then participated in a full-time, credit-bearing internship at a corporate partner firm during the spring term, learning the real-world skills they would need to excel in the workforce.
“The Year Up Program provides a challenging and nurturing space for students to get the skills they need to succeed in today’s workforce,” said JJ McEachern, dean of enrollment management at Central Piedmont. “As a result, it’s one of the most successful partnerships in higher education. It not only supports students during their educational journey, but also through the career phases of their life.”
The program is provided to students at no cost. Throughout the year-long program, students earn college credits and receive access to a robust offering of services and supports from Year Up to promote their success, including an educational stipend. They also have access to Central Piedmont’s many services, including the college’s library and tutoring resources,
Nationwide, 90% of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing Year Up, with average starting salaries of $42,000/year. Because of the program’s ability to help move the economic mobility needle, it has garnered the support of multiple community partners across the Charlotte region, including the John M. Belk Endowment, the Duke Endowment, Bank of America, and Leading on Opportunity.
College to use grant funds to organize food drives, help at-risk students
Bridge Builders Charlotte, a joint effort between Belk Chapel at Queens University and Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, has awarded Central Piedmont a $25,000 grant to promote social justice and educational equity across the Charlotte region.
Bridge Builders Charlotte aims to use campus-community partnerships to overcome social divides and make our community stronger – with a specific aim of strengthening the Charlotte community’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The grant proposal was spearheaded by Chris Brawley, a religion professor in the Humanities Division at Central Piedmont. The funding will be used to hire three Central Piedmont student interns who will work in conjunction with Central Piedmont’s Student Life department and local nonprofit Loaves and Fishes, to sponsor two food drives during the fall semester that will address the food needs of various faith traditions.
In addition to preparing specially made food boxes and participating in the food drives, interfaith cards will be included in the boxes, highlighting the common call of every religion to serve others. The food drives will be captured on film and distributed to the wider Charlotte community, showing how various faith traditions can work together (and learn from each other) during times of crisis.
Central Piedmont’s project is being funded through the Gambrell Foundation. Collectively, the Gambrell-Foundation is not only helping fund Central Piedmont’s initiative, but also a variety of projects housed at more than 10 faith communities, five other area colleges and universities (Davidson College, Johnson C. Smith University, Queens University, UNC Charlotte and Wingate University), and six nonprofit organizations.
“These projects will forge connections between Charlotte-area campuses, local nonprofit organizations and religiously diverse communities,” Brawley explains. “Central Piedmont is excited to be involved in this process, and an active participant in leveraging Charlotte’s potential to expand opportunity for those who are most vulnerable as result of the coronavirus crisis.”
Central Piedmont to offer two new transfer degrees in teacher preparation
The North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges has approved Central Piedmont Community College to offer two, new transfer degree programs in teacher preparation – an Associate in Arts in Teacher Preparation and an Associate in Science in Teacher Preparation. The programs will open Aug. 10, the start of Central Piedmont’s fall semester.
These two, new transfer degree programs will help create a larger pipeline for future teachers in North Carolina’s elementary, middle, and high schools, addressing the state’s critical teacher shortage, particularly in its more rural counties.
“Our new transfer degrees create seamless pathways for our students to transition into bachelor degree programs and successful teaching careers,” said Edith McElroy, associate vice president for transfer and pre-college. “This seamless pathway strategy will help ensure the North Carolina K-12 education system flourishes and is recognized as a national model for teacher recruitment and preparation in the United States.”
The degrees require 45 semester hours of general education courses and 14 hours of education courses, including one course with a focus on the science of reading instruction.
In addition to creating the two, new degree programs, the State Board of Community Colleges also approved corresponding teacher preparation pathways for high school students enrolled in their respective college’s Career & College Promise program. Career & College Promise is a dual enrollment program that gives eligible high school students the opportunity to get a jump-start and earn free college credit toward a two-year degree at Central Piedmont.
“The college is excited to offer a Career & College Promise teacher pathway,” McElroy said. “Now, the journey to becoming a teacher in Mecklenburg County can begin as early as high school, creating a robust, diverse pool of teachers who are even more prepared to serve all areas of the state in the future.”
Drive-Thru Graduation Ceremonies Celebrate Class of 2020
In celebration of its Class of 2020, Central Piedmont hosted drive-thru graduation ceremonies July 29 and 30 on its Cato Campus, located in northeast Charlotte. More than 440 Central Piedmont 2020 graduates participated in the two-day event, which included ceremonies for the college’s traditional undergraduate programs, as well as its College and Career Readiness programs (high school completion, Accelerated Career Training, and NCWorks Next Gen).
Central Piedmont’s graduation committee designed the college’s drive-thru graduation ceremonies with the health and well-being of its faculty/staff, students, and their family and friends in mind. As a result, all event volunteers and graduates were asked to wear face coverings, and social distancing and state guidelines were followed during the ceremonies.
“It was important we recognize our 2020 graduates’ accomplishments, especially during this unprecedented time, when so many of them had to overcome multiple obstacles to achieve their educational goals this year,” said Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, who was on-site both days to personally congratulate graduates. “The Class of 2020 is a resilient group of individuals. I look forward to hearing their many success stories and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
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 2020 term is open. The college looks forward to welcoming new and returning students on Aug. 10.
Free Loaner Chromebooks and WiFi Hotspots Available for Students in Need
Central Piedmont wants to do all it can to ensure it helps students achieve their academic goals. That's why the college is loaning Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots - at no cost - to students in need who are having trouble accessing technology.
Students can apply to receive one of the devices by completing the "Student and Employee Application for Laptop & Hotspots" or reading more about this opportunity on Central Piedmont's Single Stop Web page. Eligible students must be enrolled in a degree or transfer program for the fall semester. Students will be able to use these devices as long as they are enrolled in fall classes.
Applications will be processed within 24 hours and devices will be mailed directly to students. Please note, Gambrell Scholars should not apply as there will be additional information regarding Chromebook distribution shared directly with scholars separately.
Students needing assistance with the application or those without connectivity should call the Single Stop office at 704.330.6435 or email email@example.com.
Central Piedmont announces plan for fall semester
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.
CoARC recognizes college’s respiratory therapy program
The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) has awarded Central Piedmont’s Respiratory Therapy program its Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award.
The award recognizes a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations and is presented as part of the CoARC’s continued effort to ensure the RRT credential remains a standard of professional achievement in the respiratory therapy field.
To be selected for the award, a program must meet the following criteria:
- Have three or more years of outcomes data
- Hold accreditation without a progress report
- Document RRT credentialing success of 90 percent or above
- Meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for CRT credentialing success and retention
“It is always an honor to be recognized for exceeding the metrics set forth by our accrediting body - CoARC,” said Jeff Ruiter, program chair for Central Piedmont’s respiratory therapy program. “Our program’s passion for the respiratory profession invigorates us to embody a professional and positive learning environment that enhances student learning. More importantly, it validates our faculty’s commitment to student success and ensuring students achieve their ultimate goal of becoming a respiratory practitioner.”
College to provide customized training for Chime Solutions
Central Piedmont is partnering with Chime Solutions, an Atlanta-based customer-contact service provider, to offer customized training for the 250 new life/health insurance agent positions the company is bringing to the Queen City.
As part of its expansion package, Chime Solutions was named a recipient of the North Carolina Community College System’s Customized Training Program.
The community college system’s Customized Training Program provides education, training, and support services for new, expanding, and existing business and industry in North Carolina. To qualify, businesses must demonstrate an appreciable capital investment, the creation of new jobs, and/or the deployment of new technology.
Central Piedmont will facilitate the work with Chime Solutions’ leadership team to not only design a customized life and health pre-licensing program, but also a Medicare supplement training program for the company.
A handful of the college’s community partners will assist with several facets of the customized training program — Charlotte Works and the Urban League of Central Carolinas will support and advertise a virtual job fair for Chime Solutions, and Horizon Professional Education will facilitate the Medicare Supplement training sessions required of each candidate. All of the provided training will be available at no cost to new employees seeking a life/health insurance agent position with the company.
To become qualified for Chime Solution’s new positions, candidates will receive computer training in Microsoft Excel and take a variety of interpersonal skills classes; while aspiring, new leaders will complete a host of supervisory skills training classes.
“During a time period when unemployment is high in the Queen City, Chime Solutions recognized the talented workforce available in our area,” said Allison Bowers, director of economic recruitment and corporate learning at Central Piedmont. “We are delighted Charlotte was chosen as their final destination.”
The college plans to provide the training in-person via multiple sessions over several weeks, so it’s able to adhere to the state’s social distancing guidelines during the current pandemic. Candidates will be required to complete 24 hours of life and health pre-licensing training, as well as additional hours of Medicare supplement training.
Learn more about the college’s Corporate Learning Center.
Central Piedmont student writer’s work featured in Teen Vogue
Central Piedmont student Michael-Michelle Pratt, a student in the college’s Associate in Arts degree program, recently had an op-ed piece featured in the June issue of Teen Vogue called, “Growing Up Black Between Trayvon Martin and George Floyd Has My Generation at a Boiling Point.”
When Pratt began sharing her thoughts on systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter earlier this year, she had no idea her comments would attract the attention of the political editor at Teen Vogue, who began following her online.
In her online musings, Pratt discussed that while the recent death of George Floyd was causing a resurgence in the Black Lives Matter movement, no one was talking about how the tragedy had impacted her generation — Generation Z, a segment of the population that had largely grown up between the deaths of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and George Floyd in 2020. She pitched the article topic to the editor at Teen Vogue, and they accepted.
“I wanted my article to explain to readers that the events of Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and others are not isolated incidents that happened in a bubble,” said Pratt. “I wanted to explain that everything that is happening today is a combination of past and present frustration — that it has all built up to this critical moment, a boiling point that we’re about to see spill over.”
In the op-ed, Pratt discusses first learning about the Trayvon Martin shooting; the impact it had on her adolescence/family; how the incident inspired her to begin following strong female, African-American writers (Toni Morrison, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker); and how it propelled her to seek out leadership opportunities that would allow her to not only fight back against oppression, but to also find her voice.
Thankfully, Pratt has discovered an outlet for her voice at Central Piedmont’s Levine Campus in Matthews, NC, where she participates in the campus’s Student Writers Assembles Guild (SWAG), a student creative writing club formed in 2016 that provides individuals with a creative space to write poetry, short stories, articles, screenplays and more.
“Michael-Michelle is a talented writer and poet,” said Elizabeth West, an associate instructor and faculty advisor for Central Piedmont’s SWAG.“She has a strong voice and is brave enough to use it to enact change in our community. She has a sweet, quiet demeanor in person, but her words ring loud and strong on the page. She is a wonderful SWAG member and we are all so proud of her accomplishments.”
Pratt plans to graduate from Central Piedmont in August 2021 and pursue a career in journalism or film to become a director/screenwriter. “While I love being able to discuss my opinions on the cultural climate in which we all live in articles, I love being able to create my own world in a screenplay,” said Pratt.