WBTV Story: CMS student already living his dream as mechanic
Omar Cruz is not only a student at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, he’s also a student at Central Piedmont.
Thanks to CMS’ apprenticeship program and a partial scholarship from Central Piedmont, Omar currently attends both schools through the college’s Career & College Promise Dual Enrollment program, an initiative that gives qualified high-school-age students the opportunity to get a jumpstart on their career or college education while still in high school — tuition free.
Each morning, from 7 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Omar can be found at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, and in the afternoons, he’s working under the hood of a car at Mecklenburg Automotive and Collision Center, gaining the valuable hands-on experience he’ll need to pursue his dream career as a Advanced Certified Expert (ACE) certified technician.
The amazing part of Omar’s story is he’s only a teenager. At 17, he’s already earned two certifications and a license from Central Piedmont, will graduate in mid-June from Phillip O. Berry with a diploma from CMS, and begin Central Piedmont this fall.
Central Piedmont to open eye clinic June 15
Thanks to a collaboration between Lions Services, the local ophthalmic community, and Central Piedmont Community College, the college will open an eye clinic in its Leon Levine Health Sciences building, located on its Central Campus, on June 15. The clinic will provide quality eye health care to Central Piedmont students and Charlotte community members who are in need.
Lions Services, a not-for-profit organization renowned for offering free vision exams and glasses to those within the community who needed financial assistance, closed its eye clinic on March 1, 2022, after more than 25 years of service.
Recognizing a need for local individuals to continue to have access to affordable eye care and prescription glasses, Central Piedmont’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program will assume the role of Lions Services’ eye clinic within Charlotte-Mecklenburg and open an eye clinic this spring. The clinic will offer a variety of services, including comprehensive eye exams and eye glasses at no cost.
“We’re honored to fill the eye health care void created by the closing of Lions Services’ eye clinic earlier this year,” said Kathleen Rodgers, program chair for Central Piedmont’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program. “It’s proven that access to affordable eye care allows all members of the population – from children to senior citizens – to thrive and enjoy an improved quality of life. As Charlotte’s community college, local residents rely on us to provide them with accessible services. Our new eye clinic will give us the opportunity to continue this tradition.”
Lions Services is donating all of its eye equipment and supplies to Central Piedmont for its use. In addition, ophthalmic community members who donated their time and energy to providing eye care services at Lions Services eye clinic, will begin volunteering at Central Piedmont’s eye clinic when it opens June 15. The college’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel students and faculty will also provide clinical services.
“We are so fortunate that our eye clinic patients will benefit from the vast knowledge and expertise of Charlotte’s experienced eye care professionals who previously served at Lions Services” said Rodgers. “In addition to our patients receiving the quality care they deserve, the clinic will give our Ophthalmic Medical Personnel students a valuable clinical opportunity as well. The initiative is truly a win-win for all involved.”
“We are very appreciative for this commitment by Central Piedmont to ensure continued eye care for Charlotte’s citizens in need. Hundreds of Charlotteans will benefit each month from this service,” said Dr. David Ugland, a retired ophthalmologist and former volunteer at Lions Services’ eye clinic. “As a volunteer ophthalmologist at Lions, I was reminded with each exam of the positive personal and community impact of the clinic. I am grateful that Central Piedmont will continue to provide this valuable service.”
Central Piedmont’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 semester. To learn more, please visit cpcc.edu/programs/ophthalmic-medical-personnel or email email@example.com.
To make a donation in support of Central Piedmont's new eye clinic, please contact the Central Piedmont Foundation at 704.330.6869.
TowneBank commits $300,000 gift to Central Piedmont’s ACT program
TowneBank has made a $300,000 gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College to support its Accelerated Career Training (ACT) program. Launched in 2018, the program seeks to address the economic mobility challenges many under-employed adults in Mecklenburg County encounter by providing them with short-term training tracks, no-cost job training, and the support services they need to become work-ready in as little as seven to 15 weeks.
Each learning track prepares students for jobs that are available now in Mecklenburg County. They include:
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) / Truck Driving
- Nurse Aide and Phlebotomy
- Information Technology Fundamentals
- Culinary Apprentice
- Early Childhood Education
- Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
All ACT students are enrolled concurrently in career readiness classes, receive academic and career counseling, attend “Working Smart: Soft Skills for Workplace Success” classes, and have access to a variety of Central Piedmont’s other student services. All program costs, including tuition, fees, books, and services are covered for each student as well.
“Our thanks are extended to TowneBank for investing in our ACT program which is designed to help local residents step up from a job and into a career,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “Central Piedmont is in the life transformation business and this gift reflects our mission by equipping countless individuals with the skills and knowledge required to lift themselves out of poverty and obtain a family sustaining career.”
As an added benefit, ACT students earn college credits in many of the tracks. These credits will give them a head start should they choose to pursue additional, advanced training or a two-year associate degree.
“The Accelerated Career Training program at Central Piedmont is making an immediate impact on people and families in greater Charlotte,” said Bob Aston, TowneBank executive chairman. “The program enables underemployed and unemployed individuals to take the next steps toward a brighter future through dedicated career tracks, making a lasting impact on the graduate, their family, and the entire community. With our focus on serving others and enriching lives, TowneBank sees a natural fit in supporting this transformational program and helping sustain it into the future.”
The college works with local agencies to identify candidates for the ACT program. For more information about the ACT program at Central Piedmont, visit cpcc.edu/programs/accelerated-career-training. To attend an ACT information session, visit cpcc.edu/events/accelerated-career-training-information-session.
College hosts CMS leaders, administrators
Central Piedmont hosted a dinner for close to 30 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools principals and district administration members on its Harris Campus yesterday. The group was joined by more than 20 Central Piedmont administrators, directors, assistant directors, and students as well.
During the event, guests heard stories from CMS alumni who have attended Central Piedmont and learned how the college’s many services and programs, such as Summer Bridge, Opportunity Scholars, Career & College Promise, the Longleaf Grant, or Accelerated Career Training (ACT) initiative, helped them accomplish their educational goals.
“This event is a celebration of student outcomes in partnership with transfer, dual enrollment and state-wide grant opportunities,” said Dr. Chris Cathcart, VP of Student Affairs. “Central Piedmont looks forward to advancing opportunities for all CMS students in the future by learning directly from our CMS partners what additional avenues will meet their needs so they may persist and complete.”
Female Veterans Connect to VA Healthcare Benefits
On May 11, Central Piedmont hosted a “VA Women’s Health Reengagement Training” event on its Cato Campus to give women veterans in the Charlotte region an opportunity to mingle with their peers and to learn more about the Veteran Administration’s (VA) veteran- and women-centered healthcare services.
The event was part of Women Veterans Health Reengagement Training’s (heaRT) initiative to raise awareness of the VA’s healthcare policy changes so more female veterans will enroll and take advantage of the healthcare benefits that are available to them.
“Women veterans are one of the largest demographics to not utilize VA healthcare benefits,” said Richard Bartell, director of Central Piedmont’s Military Families and Veterans Services. “Many of them don’t know that even if they have TRICARE or private insurance, they’re still eligible. That’s why this event is so important, it’s connecting our veterans to the benefits they need and deserve.”
During the four-hour event, participants networked with one another and learned more about:
- women’s health services
- whole health and mental health services
- how to determine their VA care eligibility
- how to enroll in VA
Central Piedmont was one of two sites in North Carolina to host a Women Veterans heaRT event this month. A total of 13 Women Veterans heaRT events are scheduled to be held throughout the Southeast and the Midwest during May and June.
Central Piedmont holds 2022 commencement ceremony
Central Piedmont Community College today hosted its 2021-2022 commencement ceremony at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Almost 900 students “marched” and received their college degrees. More than 2,300 students were eligible to graduate this year.
During the morning festivities, Mr. Kevin Tobin, a 2022 graduate, addressed his peers by delivering this year’s commencement address. Ms. Evelyn Hill, also a 2022 graduate, was the commencement speaker at the 2 p.m., ceremony. This is the fifth time Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation. Evelyn and Kevin both graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in human services technology – substance abuse.
Students matriculating from Central Piedmont with a curriculum degree, diploma, or certificate had the option of participating in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. This is the first year Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-credit programs into a single ceremony, giving graduates the choice to “walk” in the graduation ceremony that better fit their families’ schedule.
In addition to hearing Evelyn’s powerful message during the 2 p.m., ceremony, attendees also saw Dr. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, confer an Honorary Associate Degree in Arts to Mr. Wilton L. Parr, a long-time Central Piedmont student, volunteer, and donor.
Central Piedmont will offer two commencement ceremonies this year to honor its graduates. 2022 summer and fall semester graduates will participate in a special commencement service on December 13, 2022, at 10 a.m., at Bojangles Coliseum. The addition of a fall ceremony will allow the college’s summer and fall graduates to be honored in the same timely way as its spring graduates.
Second Cohort of STRIVE Scholars Graduates
Central Piedmont is excited to announce that its second cohort of STRIVE Scholars graduated yesterday during a special commencement ceremony on the college’s Harris Campus.
The STRIVE (Strengthening Teachers. Reaching Individuals. Valuing Everyone.) Scholars program is a joint early childhood education initiative between the college, Mecklenburg County, The Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council that seeks to address a local shortage in the public Pre-K teacher workforce. The program accomplishes this goal by removing the many financial and personal barriers students who are pursuing an associate degree in early childhood education may face by providing them with better access and the support services they need to succeed.
Founded in January 2020, the STRIVE Scholars Program has graduated 38 students to date. Twenty-five scholars graduated from the program during the May 10 ceremony, and more STRIVE scholarships are set to be awarded to eligible students in summer and fall 2022.
The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically-qualified applicants preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County. In addition to receiving financial assistance, scholars also receive access to mental health supports, professional and personal development opportunities, and can apply for need-based support, including assistance with transportation and child care.
“The STRIVE Scholars program supports higher education access by removing barriers that may cause a student to lose focus and not be able to give 100 percent to their studies,” said Toria Grant, STRIVE recruitment project manager and an early childhood education instructor at Central Piedmont. “This program helps us produce graduates who are prepared to serve the county’s ever-growing pre-k population by providing Mecklenburg’s youngsters with a high quality pre-K education that will better prepare them for their primary education and achieving academic success in the future.”
Dr. Deitemeyer named to most influential leader list
Congratulations to Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, on being named to Business North Carolina’s “Power List 2022,” a comprehensive list of North Carolina’s most influential leaders.
Dr. Deitemeyer is one of 25 leaders named in the list’s education category which features some of the education industry’s most notable leaders whose success is considered essential for the state to make economic and social progress. View the complete list of this year’s honorees.
Business North Carolina has shared the stories of North Carolina’s business community for more than 40 years. Each spring and fall, the publication publishes a special annual publication – the Spring North Carolina Power List and the Fall North Carolina Economic Development Guide.
The special spring issue always includes a list of the state’s most powerful leaders, compiled with insight from the publication’s editorial team and keen observers of state industry. The purpose of the Spring North Carolina Power List is to shed light on the folks who are driving much of the change in the state and who are making a significant impact in their enterprises, industries, and communities.
Kudos to Dr. Deitemeyer on this accomplishment and to her fellow honorees.
Head of U.S. Small Business Administration visits Central Piedmont
In celebration of Small Business Week (May 2 – 5, 2022), Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, visited Central Piedmont on May 5 as part of the Biden Administration’s “Building a Better America through Entrepreneurship” national bus tour.
The national tour is taking place this week, providing Administrator Guzman with an opportunity to collaborate with SBA offices located across the country and celebrate America’s small businesses that have played a critical role in contributing to the country’s economic health.
Central Piedmont was one of nine stops on Administrator Guzman’s agenda; she previously visited San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Augusta (GA), Columbia and Richburg (SC), and Norfolk (VA).
During her stop in Charlotte, she:
- visited a local small business – Manolo’s Bakery on Central Ave.
- participated in a roundtable discussion with local community leaders in the Zeiss Building on Central Campus
- attended a Cinco de Mayo celebration at Camp North End
- visited the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte & Prospera USA
Administrator Guzman will conclude her tour in Raleigh on May 6, at which time she will tour the capital’s N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and recognize the N.C. Small Business Person of the Year.
For more information about the bus tour and National Small Business Week, visit www.sba.gov/NSBW.
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.