Few people have done more for the Charlotte community than Harvey Gantt. As Charlotte's first black mayor and Clemson's first black student, Mr. Gantt personally knows the power of education.
That's why this Black History Month he explains why he chooses to support Central Piedmont.
The rock band Metallica's All Within My Hands Foundation (AWMH) has once again selected Central Piedmont Community College to participate in the second iteration of the Metallica Scholars Initiative a program that supports career and technical education programs at community colleges across the nation.
In 2018, the band partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), to select 10 community colleges from across the country that best demonstrated support of relevant jobs skill training for community college students. Central Piedmont was one of the 10 colleges chosen to receive $100,000. The college used the funds to help Central Piedmont students gain the training they needed to enter the workforce. These students became the college's first cohort of Metallica Scholars.
Year two of the Metallica Scholars Initiative:
- awards a $50,000 grant to the original 10 colleges, and challenges each institution to match the grant amount. As a result, the overall grant investment in career and technical education at each college will total $100,000.
- includes expanding the program in 2020 from 10 to 15 schools. The five new community college partners will each receive a $100,000 grant, making AWMH's cumulative contribution $1.5 million.
"We are proud to report that 80 percent of our Metallica Scholars who were scheduled to graduate in the 2019 spring and summer semesters were successful," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "The Metallica Scholars Initiative is transforming lives, providing students with the financial assistance and support services they need to succeed inside and outside the classroom."
Central Piedmont will continue to use the grant funds to provide direct support for students enrolled in one of four healthcare career programs but who need financial assistance to complete their studies and become licensed healthcare professionals. The project will continue to focus on high-demand healthcare programs, including dental assisting, medical assisting, ophthalmic medical personnel, and pharmacy technology, and will target underrepresented students who would not be able to complete their program or obtain credentials without financial support. The goal of the initiative is to ensure students receive relevant jobs skills that will make them competitive in the healthcare field.
AWMH works closely with AACC to implement and manage the program. Recipient colleges of the group's 2020 $1,500,000 grant are all AACC members and are located in communities visited by Metallica during its recent U.S. tour.
Karla Chavez's educational aspirations were sparked in the home and nourished by Central Piedmont.
Her father's passion for learning inspired this first generation graduate to reach for the stars. "With the little formal education he had, my dad went back to school and obtained his HVAC license. He was always reading engineering books when I was growing up," she explained. "I fell in love with engineering because you can engineer anything you can think of."
Karla was also driven by what she saw as a lack of women in the field. "Society tends to steer us away from STEM fields and toward more 'caregiving' fields," she said, "I want to share these fields with other women like myself so we can make a difference in our communities and all over the world."
With a vision in place, she attended Central Piedmont to complete her GED and eventually completed both an A.A. (2017) and A.A.S. in Construction Management Technology (2018).
Karla credits Central Piedmont for offering the support she needed to succeed. "When I attended Central Piedmont, I was a non-traditional student who was juggling multiple responsibilities and many life-events that changed my life forever. Yet, I found so many people who never stopped believing in me," she said. "Every faculty member, instructor, and classmate became more than just a familiar face. The support I received at Central Piedmont was powerful."
Today, Karla Chavez wears many different hats. She is a mother, a caregiver, a project coordinator at a construction company, an active member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), and student at UNC Charlotte in pursuit of her bachelor's degree with plans to obtain her masters.
"Central Piedmont helped me see myself in a place that I couldn't before," says Student Government Vice President and Opportunity Scholar Yeisha Calderon.
Your gift to the Central Piedmont Foundation powers a stronger future for students like Yeisha every day. Listen to her story below.
To donate, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/donation.
To learn more about Powering A Stronger Future, visit www.cpccfoundation.org/campaign.