Message to College on Coronavirus: Governor Cooper Announces Social Distancing and Mask-Wearing Requirements Lifted
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today, May 14, that he was lifting immediately many of the state’s COVID-19 social-distancing and mask-wearing requirements. In most settings, indoors and outdoors, the state will no longer require people to wear a mask or be socially distant.
This means there are no pandemic capacity limits for indoor and outdoor spaces. The Governor said fully vaccinated persons no longer need to wear masks in most indoor settings. However, state health officials still recommend that unvaccinated people in North Carolina continue to wear masks.
Masks still will be required in some public spaces such as public transportation, healthcare facilities, and correctional facilities. Masks also are still required in childcare settings such schools, daycare facilities, and summer camps because children younger than 12 still are not eligible for vaccination.
Businesses, retail establishments, and other facilities in the state are still allowed to require social distancing and masks.
Any changes to Central Piedmont’s current social-distancing and mask-wearing requirements will be announced in the coming days.
The Governor and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services strongly recommend that unvaccinated persons eligible for vaccination in the state be vaccinated as soon as possible. All persons in North Carolina age 12 and older can be vaccinated.
College hosts 2021 commencement ceremonies
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.
- Wednesday, May 12, 2021
College offering increased number of on-campus classes for summer and fall semesters
Central Piedmont Community College will offer an increased number of on-campus, in-person classes during the upcoming summer and fall semesters. The college also plans to offer 1,000 afternoon, evening, and weekend class sections during the fall.
More than a third of Central Piedmont’s summer semester classes, which begin May 17, will include on-campus sessions. The fall 2021 semester will resemble the fall 2019 semester with a majority of class sections being offered on campus.
With pandemic safety protocols in place, Central Piedmont continued offering on-campus classes in programs that require in-person instruction in May 2020. Now, with everyone in North Carolina age 16 and older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, the college will expand its on-campus class offerings to include courses that had been offered primarily online since pandemic began.
The college will continue to follow safety practices, such as requiring masks and social distancing indoors, as long as recommended by the N.C. Department Health & Human Services. By the fall semester, class sizes will be back to their pre-COVID levels; usually 20 or fewer students per class.
“Central Piedmont is happy to bring so many classes back to campus this summer and fall,” said Jeff Lowrance, vice president for communications, marketing and public relations. “Students have told us they prefer to attend classes on campus where they can interact with their classmates, talk easily with their instructors, inquire about services in person, and just gain a better sense and feeling of community.
“At the same time, we know many students will be trying to work while going to school, so the college is making a real effort to offer more afternoon, evening, and weekend classes to better meet students’ busy schedules,” Lowrance added.
Central Piedmont will continue to offer a significant number of classes online for students who prefer remote learning or whose schedules or family responsibilities accommodate online classes more readily.
College adds SALUTE Chapter
Central Piedmont’s Military Family and Veterans Services is proud to announce that it has added a SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society to its already impressive list of student clubs and organizations. The Chapter of SALUTE at Central Piedmont will provide veteran students with a rewarding community of resources, opportunities, and support.
“SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society is pleased to be the first and only academic honor society to recognize students who serve their country and community, and who demonstrate outstanding academic performance,” said Karla Schwartz, national director for the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society. “A Central Piedmont student’s designation into SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society will help distinguish them to employers and educational institutions by signifying their military honorable service, academic excellence, and a commitment to superior success, which can all lead to achieving meaningful employment and educational opportunities in the future.”
The benefits of membership include:
- A certificate and military-style challenge coin commemorating membership
- Access to unique scholarship opportunities
- Assistance with resumes and engagement in local leadership positions
- Opportunities to network, as well as receive and give assistance to fellow student veteran members
- Wear SALUTE Honors regalia to demonstrate academic achievements as a veteran at graduation
- Participate in local and national SALUTE programs
“The Chapter of SALUTE at Central Piedmont will help our student veterans persist and complete,” said Richard Bartell, director of Military Families and Veterans Services at Central Piedmont. “In addition to providing additional scholarships to fund students’ education, the chapter will help them engage and connect with their peers, providing them with the support network they need to achieve their academic goals.”
The honor society application window opens May 2021. For more information on the Chapter of SALUTE at Central Piedmont and how to join, visit Military Families and Veterans Services.
Small Business Center announces the ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’
Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center will partner with small business centers in the state’s Southwest region on the 2021 “53 Ideas Pitch Competition.” Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, this pitch competition is intended to help address income inequality and equity through entrepreneurship. Anyone with an idea has the opportunity to compete for cash awards, plus take advantage of training resources, and find social connections to help remove barriers and to launch a viable business. The top prize winner of the competition will receive $10,000 in seed money for a start-up business.
“Last year, ideas came pouring in across the 10-county region. The community responded, and the response to the ‘53 Ideas’ pitch competition was different. Contestants did not mirror the historical demographics of entrepreneurs,” said Renee Hode, regional director for the NC Small Business Center Network.
More than half of the participants at last year’s competition were women; more than half of them were minorities, with the majority earning less than $50,000 a year.
Studies show that four out of five entrepreneurs do not access bank loans or venture capital. Instead, their sources of funding are personal network, generational wealth or connections to networks. The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” exists to help lessen this inequality in entrepreneurship.
“Any successful business starts with an idea,” said Lori Thomas, executive director projects and market resources at Central Piedmont. “Share your idea with us, tell us your plan, and Central Piedmont will provide the resources and training to help you make it happen.”
The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” is an open call for business ideas from residents across the region. Individuals will have 53 seconds to pitch their idea in the form of a video submission that may be uploaded to 53ideas.com. For open, inclusive access, if someone has an idea but does not have the technology to submit an entry they can visit their local small business center for help and access to enter the competition.
Judges will review the submissions and select the top 53 pitches. Top entrants will each receive a $50 award, as well as the opportunity to advance in the competition. 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.
After the training period, the top-53 entrants will participate in a closed virtual pitch event, where the judges will narrow the field down to 10. The top 10 will receive $250 each and go on to compete on a virtual stage for the top awards: first place receives $10,000, second place earns $5,000, and third place receives $2,500 in seed funding to help turn their ideas into a viable business.
To learn more about the “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” or to upload a video submission by the May 31 deadline, visit 53ideas.com.
Message to College on Coronavirus: Governor Cooper Eases Pandemic Restrictions
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced today he will ease several statewide COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, including increasing the size of gatherings and capacity limits in retail stores and restaurants. The Executive Order will take effect March 26 at 5 p.m. and is set to expire April 30 at 5 p.m.
“We can move forward with easing restrictions if we do it safely,” Cooper said.
The changes include:
- The gathering-size limit will increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. (Previous limits have been 25 indoors and 50 people outdoors).
- Retail stores, salons, museums, and aquariums will be allowed to open at 100-percent capacity (up from 50 percent).
- Restaurants, breweries, and gyms can be open at 75-percent capacity indoors (up from 50 percent) and 100 percent outdoors.
- Bars, conference centers, music venues, and sports arenas will be allowed to open at 50-percent capacity (up from 30 percent).
- The statewide alcohol-sales curfew is being removed. (The curfew has been 11 p.m. since Feb. 26).
The state’s mask/face covering mandate remains in effect. All businesses still must maintain social distancing measures, which could limit the capacity of some establishments.
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic for Central Piedmont employees will take place in the Worrell Building, on Central Campus, Tuesday, April 6, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Time slots are available. Register for an appointment today.
The vaccine adds one more layer of protection and can further help protect your family, co-workers, and our students. Let’s gain control of the spread and get back to the places and people we miss.
In the meantime, the college urges you to continue to do your part and practice the 3W’s (wearing masks, washing hands, and waiting — keeping a distance — at least 6-feet apart) until the vaccine becomes available to all. Learn more about the state’s vaccination distribution plan.
Message to the College on Coronavirus: Governor Cooper Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions
In a February 24, news conference, N.C. Governor Roy Cooper announced he will begin to ease some statewide COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The current statewide curfew or state-at-home order was set to expire February 28.
Restrictions being reduced include:
- Alcohol sales cutoff at restaurants and bars will be extended from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Bars will be able to open indoors at 30% capacity or 250 people, whichever is less. The order takes effect Friday at 5 p.m. and lasts until March 26.
- Movie theaters are allowed to operate now at 30% capacity, with a cap of 250 people.
- Outdoor amphitheaters and concert venues can reopen at 30% capacity.
- The statewide curfew for all non-essential travel from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. also is expiring, so restaurants and bars will be able to extend their hours.
- More spectators will be allowed at high school, college and professional sports events. The number allowed will depend on the venue size. Arenas with a capacity of as many as 5,000 people will be able to open with up to 15% capacity, as long as they follow safety protocols.
For more information and resources on COVID-19, please visit the college's coronavirus information page.
Central Piedmont’s COVID-19 Response
Central Piedmont adapted quickly to a radically different environment in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything. Over the last year, the college has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic promptly by quickly developing new safety protocols and practices and addressing it students’ and employees’ needs in the following ways:
- moving more than 1,500 class sections online. Staff also moved all necessary student services to online/virtual delivery.
- providing more than 1,270 laptops and 1,120 Wi-Fi hotspots as free loaners to students and employees. (As long as students are enrolled, they can keep and use the devices free-of-charge.)
- raising more than $120,000 specifically for the Student and Employee Emergency Funds.
- developing safety protocols and contact tracing procedures. (Even though some students and employees have contracted COVID, the college knows of no cases in which a person caught the virus from someone else on campus.)
- welcoming students back in programs that require in-person instruction. Some students returned to campus as early as May 2020
- hosting a drive-through graduation ceremony for 2020 graduates at Cato Campus in July.
- establishing Central Piedmont Cares. To date, the Central Piedmont Cares and Single Stop teams have assisted more than 70 employees and 3,800 students. Categories of assistance provided include financial needs, food pantry, medical concerns, mental/emotional wellness, technology, and legal services.
- expanding on-campus instruction for the summer 2021 semesters.
Given the ongoing rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, Central Piedmont hopes to return to normal on-campus operations in time for the fall 2021 semester. Regardless of when things get back to “normal,” the college will continue its work around student success and community service, both of which are guided by its vision, mission, and values.
To learn more Central Piedmont’s other COVID-related news, visit cpcc.edu/news and select “COVID-19/coronavirus updates” from the left navigation.
Central Piedmont, Bank of America and Year Up receive 2021 Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award
The N.C. State Board of Community Colleges has awarded Central Piedmont Community College its 2021 Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award for its successful, ongoing partnership with Bank of America and Year Up.
The State Board’s Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award honors an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated decisive involvement and a firm commitment to the professional development of its employees and/or to the development of North Carolina's workforce through its partnership efforts with one or more of the 58 community colleges.
Central Piedmont’s partnership with Year Up and Bank of America represents the award’s criteria well. The Year Up Charlotte program – which receives support from the Duke Endowment and the John M. Belk Endowment as well as Bank of America – strives to prepare low-income students throughout the Charlotte region for economically mobile careers. Nationwide, more than 90 percent of Year Up students identify as a person of color.
“We are proud of the partnership between Central Piedmont Community College, Year Up and Bank of America to continue to strengthen the economic mobility opportunities within the Charlotte market. Collectively our partnership provided the students the tools, but it is important to note these motivated and smart young adults leveraged the resources and proudly exceed all of our expectations,” said Charles Bowman, Bank of America’s Charlotte Market President. “We look forward to deepening the partnership and continuing to make a positive impact for the young adults and adults of this community and region.”
Launched in 2019, Year Up Charlotte offers first-semester students the opportunity to take credit-bearing technical courses taught by Central Piedmont faculty along with professional skills classes taught by staff of the national non-profit Year Up. Students earn a stipend and have access to the college’s many services, including its library and tutoring resources.
“Through their commitment and support, Central Piedmont and Bank of America have given Year Up Charlotte students the opportunity to learn in-demand skills and make an impact in corporate America,” said Elise Ford, site director for Year Up Charlotte. “We are thrilled to continue partnering with Central Piedmont and Bank of America as we work to empower more young people to redefine what talent looks like and where it comes from.”
In their second semester, Year Up Charlotte students enter a full-time, credit-earning internship at Bank of America or another corporate partner. There is no cost for students to participate in the program. Bank of America’s advocacy and strong leadership role, coupled with Year Up’s outcomes, have led other Charlotte-area companies to extend workplace-learning opportunities for the involved student population.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in spring 2020, Central Piedmont and Year Up provided laptops and personal Wi-Fi hotspots so students could continue their instruction online. Bank of America provided the interns with the same technology their employees use so they could work remotely.
“Central Piedmont is honored to receive the Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award with Bank of America and Year Up,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “When the
Year Up Charlotte program was launched at Central Piedmont in 2019, it was the largest opening class of students in Year Up’s history. From that point forward, with Bank of America’s generous support and intense engagement, Year Up Charlotte has been a superb, high-quality program that is transforming the lives of students. Central Piedmont’s goal is to help ensure the Year Up Charlotte program continues to be a model for other schools and cities to replicate.”
Of the partnership’s first cohort, 70 percent of graduates are now working at Bank of America full-time; 10 percent are enrolled in school full-time.
Year Up is a national nonprofit organization that serves more the 5,000 young people annually.
Message to the College on Coronavirus: Spring Semester 2021 Hybrid Classes Can Begin Meeting On-Campus Feb. 3
Spring semester 2021 hybrid classes can begin meeting on-campus Wednesday, Feb. 3. Students taking hybrid classes will check with their instructors over the next couple of days to confirm when their classes will meet on campus.
Students in classes that have been meeting on campus will continue coming to campus as specified by their instructors.
Students with questions about class meeting schedules have been asked to contact their instructors.
If you will be coming to campus for the first time this semester, remember to read the Employee Guide for Returning to Campus. Also, remember to complete the Health Acknowledgement form the Monday of each week you will be on campus.
Central Piedmont thanks its employees for working so hard this semester. Keep up the good work, and please stay safe.