Central Piedmont Community College and Bank of America today hosted a virtual event featuring Dr. Tim Renick, executive director of Georgia State University's National Institute for Student Success, who presented, "Georgia State's Journey to Eliminating the Racial Equity Gap." Attendees included Central Piedmont employees, board members and student leaders; Bank of America executives, and Charlotte city and county government officials. Also participating were local higher education partners and community nonprofit leaders in education, workforce development and college and career readiness.
For more than a decade, Dr. Renick has used Georgia State's data to drive sustainable change and eliminate the racial equity gap at his institution. As a result of his work, Georgia State - which is also home to Perimeter College, a major provider of associate degrees and student transfer opportunities in Georgia - annually graduates more African-American students than any other public or nonprofit higher education institution in the country and ranks ninth in the nation for advancing social mobility. Dr. Renick has emerged as a national expert on how colleges and universities can decrease disparities in their graduation rates and achievements based on race, ethnicity, and income.
"At Georgia State, we're motivated by a desire to make an impact, not only in the lives of our own students, but also in the lives of students across the country," said Dr. Renick. "That's why our team at Georgia State University has made such a conscious and significant commitment to dedicating our time and resources to sharing with others the important lessons we have learned."
Dr. Renick's accomplishments at Georgia State complement the equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) goals established and continuously reviewed and enhanced at both Central Piedmont and Bank of America.
Over the past year, Central Piedmont has accelerated its EDI work, hosting a number of events and training sessions for employees and students to attend that support EDI awareness, drive culture change, and reinforce EDI initiatives at all six of its campuses. In addition, the college has looked closely at its talent acquisition and hiring processes to ensure equity and diversity is embedded across all of its areas and departments.
"All of the EDI work Central Piedmont is doing is supported by the college's shared values and strategic goals," explained Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "In 2019, the college adopted a new set of guiding values and strategic goals; the desire to reach a greater level of equity throughout the college is found in both.
"Dr. Renick's presentation and the experience of Georgia State provide a path and a set of best practices Central Piedmont can work to incorporate. We want to do all we can to ensure our students achieve success and our faculty and staff feel valued and appreciated."
Similarly, Bank of America has turned its attention toward advancing EDI initiatives within the communities it serves. Last summer, it announced a $1 billion, four-year commitment of support to address economic and racial inequalities that had been accelerated by the global pandemic. As part of that commitment, it pledged $25 million to support career reskilling programs through partnerships with higher education institutions, including community colleges like Central Piedmont.
"Acquiring an education and jobs skills not only improves an employed individual's quality of life but also contributes to the health of our local economy and community. Access to quality, affordable education and job skills training is key to removing economic barriers facing minority individuals and communities," said Charles Bowman, Bank of America's Charlotte Market president. "Central Piedmont has a proven track record of offering courses and training for roles in the fields most in demand within our community. Bank of America supports the college's focus on helping students of color complete the education and training necessary for entering the workforce and earning a sustainable living wage."
Following his formal presentation to Central Piedmont, Bank of America, and city and county representatives, Dr. Renick individually met with:
- Central Piedmont's leadership team to discuss how the college could best advance racial equality, and
- Bank of America's market presidents, located across the country, to discuss what other partnership possibilities may exist to help colleges nationwide create sustainable change on their campuses.
Listen to the March 31, 2021, recording of Dr. Renick's "Georgia State's Journey to Eliminating the Racial Equity Gap" presentation, followed by a Q&A session with attendees.