News and Features

What's going on in the Central Piedmont community and what Central Piedmont is doing in the community.

  • College partners on the 3rd-Annual ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’ with Fifth Third Bank

    Central Piedmont Community College is partnering on the third-annual “53 Ideas Pitch Competition,” an initiative that began in 2020, with support from Fifth Third Bank to provide anyone with ideas access to the capital, training and social connections needed to take an idea and turn it into a viable business.

    Contestants will compete for cash awards and have access to training resources and expanded networks to build social connections. Training and coaching on pitching, financing, forecasting, and general business will be available to every participant, even if they do not make the top 53. These free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont and Stanly.

    “If you look around, everything you see with the exception of people and nature was brought to life through the idea of an entrepreneur,” said Larry Swayne, director of Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center. “Ideas truly impact the world, and we’re excited to support the brightest and best new ideas with this pitch competition.”

    To enter, individuals have 53 seconds to share their idea in the form of a video submitted at 53ideas.com. Round one is based on the idea. Contestants do not have to excel at pitching, they just need to share who they are, their idea, the problem it solves, how it is new or superior to an existing product or service, and how they can make it happen. Judges will select the top-53 ideas and those contestants will move on in the competition to receive training to help them prepare a three-minute pitch for the second round of the competition. Judges will then narrow the field to the top 10 and those selected will receive $250 before moving forward to compete in the Pitch Day finale. The top spot will receive $10,000, second place $5,000 and third place $2,500 to help turn their idea into a viable business.

    “We are committed to supporting entrepreneurship across Charlotte and throughout North Carolina,” said Joel Dancy, vice president, Community & Economic Development, Mid-Atlantic Region, Fifth Third Bank. “We are very excited to again be supporting the ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’ because it not only helps in the short term with access to capital for the winners, but also in the long term through financial education for all participants.”

    Last year’s competition received more than 130 entries. Nicole Hawthorne was announced the winner for Jayla’s Heirlooms, a business providing handcrafted diverse dolls. Nicole went on to partner with Amazon, where her culturally diverse dolls are available for children and families worldwide. The competition is led by the Small Business Center located at South Piedmont Community College.

    To learn more and enter this year’s pitch competition by the May 31 deadline, visit 53ideas.com.

     

  • Central Piedmont 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.

  • U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal visits Central Piedmont

    On April 12, U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal visited Central Piedmont Community College on our Central Campus to learn about Central Piedmont’s apprenticeship and other workplace learning programs. He also took a tour of the state-of-the-art Ruth G. Shaw Advanced Technology Center (ATC).

    Central Piedmont was honored to host Under Secretary Kvaal and discuss how apprenticeships and other workplace learning programs prepare students for well-paying, high-demand careers in some of the Charlotte region’s fastest-growing industries. 

    Under Secretary Kvaal began his visit with a roundtable discussion about how apprenticeship programs benefit employers by providing a pipeline of well-trained talent. Several college and Workplace Learning Department leaders took part in the discussion, including:

    • Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president
    • Dr. Heather Hill, vice president - academic affairs
    • Mr. Jeff Lowrance, vice president – communications, marketing & public relations
    • Mr. Ed Injaychock, director – workplace learning

    After the discussion, the group moved to the Ruth G. Shaw Advanced Technology Center where Mr. Rinav

    Mehta, dean of business, technology and engineering, and members of his team led the tour of the ATC. It is a 79,194 square-foot, cutting-edge, state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing, engineering, logistics and energy-related careers training facility that opened in 2018. Its prominent location on Central Piedmont’s Central Campus points to its importance  in developing a highly skilled workforce in Mecklenburg County and the college’s ongoing efforts to provide opportunities for increased economic mobility. 

    The  Shaw Advanced Technology Center includes:

    • Mechatronics and Automation Labs
    • Virtual Reality (VR) Labs
    • Engineering FabLab (fabrication lab)
    • CNC Machining Lab
    • Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Labs
    • 13 Computer Labs
    • 11 Specialized Equipment Labs

  • Levine III Recognized for Sustainable Design

    The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recognized Moseley Architects, the architecture firm that designed Levine III, located on the Central Piedmont’s Levine Campus, with its “2021 USGBC Carolinas Leadership Award for Green Schools – Higher Education” award.

    The award promotes and recognizes excellence in sustainable design, environmental stewardship, and community impact, and highlights the green building initiatives and achievements of local projects, businesses, and individual leaders. Given in several categories, the award honors innovative, high-performance projects that are leading the way to a greener tomorrow for all in North and South Carolina. 

    Central Piedmont’s Levine III building was recognized as an educational project that demonstrates sustainable leadership in facility design, construction, operations, and student/community engagement. The 88,000 square-foot Levine III opened in 2019 and houses the Georgia Tucker Fine Arts Hall, health careers and science labs, and classrooms.

    To learn more about the USGBC Awards, or to view a complete list of 2021 finalists, visit https://www.carolinasgreengala.com.

    Learn more about Central Piedmont’s award-winning Levine III facility.

  • Smart Start awards PBS Charlotte grant to fund coding workshops for Pre-K students

    Smart Start of Mecklenburg County has awarded WTVI PBS Charlotte a $28,720 Innovation Initiative grant to address the needs of children 0 – 5 years old and their families in Mecklenburg County. Through the end of March, PBS Charlotte is using the money to provide free, weekly computer coding workshops to 65 children enrolled at Hidden Valley Elementary School or who reside in the Hidden Valley corridor, as well as their teachers and parents.

    During the 12-week program, Toye Watson, education and outreach coordinator for PBS Charlotte, is “pushing in” to Hidden Valley Elementary School’s Pre-K classes to teach the students foundational coding concepts using the “PBS KIDS ScratchJr” app. ScratchJr utilizes introductory programming language to enable young children (up to 7 years of age) to create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite PBS KIDS character.

    During each workshop, students further develop their STEM and critical thinking skills, building their characters within the app. To do this, they use basic math concepts to make their characters move, apply simple storytelling concepts to share how their character is interacting with its environment and more. The ScratchJr interface and programming language are developmentally appropriate for younger children and match their cognitive, persona, social and emotional development.

    “The future is STEM and technology,” explains Watson. “In fact, one of the fastest moving industries is coding. Studies show that the earlier a child can code, the more likely they are to possess strong mathematical, critical thinking and foundational learning skills – all characteristics that will help them earn a sustainable career in the future.”

    In addition to working with the students at the school, Watson is using outside resources, such as the Sugar Creek Library and Sugar Creek Recreation Center, to not only work with Pre-K students in the community, but also to train teachers and parents on how they can best use ScratchJr with the children. These education/training sessions serve many purposes, giving both the teachers and the parents an opportunity to share stories with one another, exchange resources and ask Watson further questions about using ScratchJr in the classroom and at home.

    “This initiative convening and mobilizing the community around improving the education outcomes for children 4 to 5 years old in one of the most racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty in Charlotte – the Hidden Valley corridor,” explains Watson. “In 2018-2019, Hidden Valley Elementary School placed in the bottom 50 percent of all schools in North Carolina for overall test scores. My hope is that if we can start educating the children as early as possible, we can provide them with a quality education that puts them in a position of no longer starting their primary education in a deficit, but rather with an advantage.”

    The grant’s monies will help Watson accomplish this goal. Funds will be used to:

    • purchase Amazon Fire Tablets and WiFi hotspots, to coordinate project work and presentations on the ScratchJr coding program;
    • support marketing efforts, to raise awareness of the program within the local community; and
    • coordinate a ScratchJr Family Day, to give students and all of their extended family members an opportunity to work together and create a project in ScratchJr.

    Throughout the 12-week program, Watson is assessing and tracking data on the effectiveness of the program and its impact on early STEM concepts and skills in the Pre-K children. Students and teachers are taking assessments, and teachers’ journals and childrens’ work samples are being collected to evaluate progress, as well as the program’s impact.

    “The promise of an education is that it levels the playing field,” explains Watson. “This grant is helping education live up to its promises.”

    For more information on Smart Start, visit smartstart.org/about-smart-start. To learn more about PBS Charlotte, go to wtvi.org.

  • Central Piedmont Community College 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 benefitted 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.

  • Enroll in Summer Bridge, Earn Up to Seven Hours of Free College Credits

    Central Piedmont is now enrolling for Summer Bridge, a six-week, summer program that gives graduating high school seniors the opportunity to earn up to seven hours of free college credits. Classes focus on math, reading, and writing. 

    Summer Bridge will be held June 13–July 21, Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.–1:05 p.m. Courses will be offered in a virtual, hybrid, or blended format. (Hybrid and blended classes include both online and some face-to-face instruction.)

    Interested? Apply by May 15.

    Scholarships are also available for eligible students. Learn more about eligibility, program requirements, information session dates, or download the application. 

    Questions? Contact the Mentoring and Bridge office at 704.330.6656 or at mentoring.bridge@cpcc.edu.

  • Message to College on Coronavirus: No mask requirements as of March 13

    In the days after the college announced its most recent mask guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the nation’s face covering guidelines. As a result, the college will begin to follow CDC direction as of Sunday, March 13, when spring break ends.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday, February 25, that people in areas considered to be low or medium risk can go indoors without masks. As it has since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the college will follow the CDC’s lead.

    As of Sunday, March 13, masks will be optional anywhere on Central Piedmont college property and will no longer be required in classrooms and labs.

    Nothing prevents students and employees from continuing to wear face coverings wherever they are on campus if they choose. Please keep in mind individuals should not be asked to disclose their vaccination status or why they choose or don’t choose to wear a face covering outside of class. This is private information and should be respected.

    Please be understanding as students and employees make their decisions concerning face masks. Please continue to monitor yourself for any COVID-19-related symptoms, and stay home if you feel ill at all. If your symptoms persist, please contact a healthcare provider. Please report if you are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 by sending a prompt email to wecare@cpcc.edu.

  • Gov. Cooper Visits, Celebrates College’s Success with Awarding Longleaf Commitment Grants

    North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper met on Central Piedmont’s Central Campus Thursday with college leadership, elected officials, and students to celebrate Central Piedmont’s success with awarding the Longleaf Commitment Grant to in-need students located throughout the region.

    The Longleaf Commitment Grant was originally announced by Gov. Cooper in May 2021 and gives North Carolina high school graduates who plan to attend one of the state’s “Great 58” community colleges the opportunity to receive a grant – not a loan – to cover tuition and fees toward a degree or to attain transfer credit. 

    Gov Cooper chose to kick off his Longleaf Commitment Grant tour in Charlotte because Central Piedmont has the second highest number of Longleaf Grant recipients among N.C. community colleges. To date, 1,296 Central Piedmont students have received $716,089 in Longleaf Commitment Grant funds.

    “We want to make education affordable. We want students to put money in their pockets,” said Gov. Cooper. “The Longleaf Commitment Grants help boost student performance because they allow students to concentrate on their school work. That’s why it’s so important that this grant keeps going and remains available in the future.”

    During the press event, Gov. Cooper participated in a roundtable discussion with N.C. Community College System President Thomas Stith III, Central Piedmont President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Chris Cathcart, N.C. State Senator Joyce Waddell, N.C. House Representative Carolyn Logan, and Longleaf Commitment Grant recipients (and Central Piedmont students) Noemi Henriquez, Katherine Perez Puquir, and Leila Turner.

    The group discussed how the grants are helping students pursue their education, the steps Central Piedmont has taken to successfully share publicly that Longleaf Grant funds are available, and more.

    “The Longleaf Commitment Grant funds helped ease the financial burden on my mom who was paying for three college-aged children,” explained Turner. “The grant is not only enabling me to hold on to my precious college savings so I can one day use them toward my four-year degree, but it’s also helping me concentrate on my studies and not have to take on a full-time job to pay for my tuition and fees.”

    Learn more about the North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant, including its requirements, and get connected to helpful resources. Contact Financial Aid for additional information.

  • Harris Campus helps bring art to the people

    Central Piedmont is excited to partner with SouthEnd ARTS to bring “OUTER LIMITS,” a 58-piece art exhibition to its Harris I Second Floor Atrium, located on the college’s Harris Campus, now through August 20, 2022.

    The six-month art exhibition, curated by Zaire McPhearson and the largest in SouthEnd ARTS’ history, features the work of more than 30 local artists, including Susan Ballard, Pascale Doxy, Molly English, Daysha Lancaster, Stephanie McCall, and more.

    McPhearson is a contemporary artist and Brock Family Instructor at Duke University. Her work incorporates photography, graphic design, painting, sound design, sculpture, as well as other mediums, and reflects the complex issues that shape our diverse, global, and ever-changing world. It is through this lens that McPhearson helped select the artists for the “OUTER LIMITS” exhibition and which works from their portfolios to display.

    “This exhibition allows us to educate residents outside of a traditional classroom setting, in new and exciting ways,” explains Moses Fox III, director of campus affairs for Central Piedmont’s Harris Campus. “Artwork engages individuals on a variety of levels – both artistically, emotionally, and spiritually – and we’re proud to bring art to the people, serving the local community as both an educational and arts resource.”

    Central Piedmont plans to host a handful of events throughout the six-month exhibition to celebrate the artists’ work. It will hold a private, Jurored Awards Ceremony on March 18 to celebrate the artists’ many accomplishments, and plans to highlight the exhibit more publicly on April 14, from 4 – 7 p.m., during its week-long Sensoria celebration, which is open – and free – to all.

    Individuals unable to attend the April 14 event, are invited to visit Harris I, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., to view the exhibition in person. For directions, visit cpcc.edu/locations/harris-campus.