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.
Central Piedmont Community College has named Lynne Tatum Little, RDH, owner of LTL Consulting, the 2021 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award recipient, and James "Dan" Bailey, president and CEO of Steele's Mechanical, the 2021 Young Alumni Award of Excellence recipient. The awards recognize former Central Piedmont students who have benefited significantly from experiences at Central Piedmont and whose efforts have helped the community.
Lynne Tatum Little, RDH '88 (Associate in Applied Science, Dental Hygiene)
A successful consultant and business owner, Lynne Tatum Little attributes her leadership abilities to her experience at Central Piedmont and the discipline required in her coursework. Lynne owns LTL Consulting and has been active within the dental hygiene profession, serving as commissioner of the American Dental Hygienists' Association, board member of the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, and past president of the North Carolina Dental Hygienists' Association. Additionally, she has served on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation Board since 2016, committing herself to the mission and success of the college as a dedicated volunteer and donor.
James "Dan" Bailey '12 (Associate in Arts)
As a U.S. Army military veteran who served as a construction engineer and paratrooper, Dan Bailey has acquired skills that would last him a lifetime. He considers Central Piedmont his home and the place where he gained invaluable leadership skills not to only lead, but also to follow. Today, Dan serves as president and CEO of Steele's Mechanical, where he has grown the 49-year old HVAC company from a local business to one of the fastest-growing mechanical contractors in the region. He's accomplished this all while continuing to serve the community as a tutor, coach, and supporter of organizations throughout the Carolinas.
Watch the videos below of Lynne's acceptance speech for the Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and Dan's acceptance speech for the Young Alumni Award of Excellence.
The Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award is named after the college's first president who served in the position for 23 years. The Young Alumni Award of Excellence was introduced in 2019 to recognize graduates who have completed in the last 10 years and who have made significant contributions to the community in their short time away from Central Piedmont. To learn more about the awards and past recipients, visit cpccfoundation.org/awards.
The Mecklenburg County Pre-K initiative, the Foundation for the Carolinas, the Comprehensive Early Learning Center, and the Central Piedmont Foundation have awarded Central Piedmont's early childhood education program a $4 million grant to create the STRIVE Scholars program.
The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically qualified students preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County.
According to research conducted by Mecklenburg County, Charlotte's workforce lacks the postsecondary education necessary to assure the quality of its lead and assistant Pre-K teachers in the classroom.
The college's STRIVE Scholars program seeks to address this workforce need by providing students who are pursuing an Associate in Applied Science or certificate in early childhood education with better access to a higher education and need-based support services, including:
- child care
In addition, the program will provide Scholars with comprehensive support services, such as academic advising, mentoring, and more, to ensure their academic success.
The early childhood education program is grateful and excited to be a part of this important initiative to bring universal pre-kindergarten to Mecklenburg County.
Learn more about the STRIVE Scholarship.
Today, leadership for Johnson C. Smith University and Central Piedmont Community College announced "JCSU Connect" a new bachelor's degree pathway that will expand college access to more students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and beyond. This new collaboration is part of JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister's mission to help address the lack of economic upward mobility in Charlotte by providing local students a guided pathway to earn bachelor's degrees from JCSU.
"For more than 150 years, JCSU has been a leader in providing educational access," said Armbrister. "As the University continues to focus on providing opportunities to address economic upward mobility in Charlotte, we look forward to this new partnership with Central Piedmont Community College to assist those seeking bachelor's degrees and experience Charlotte's HBCU, the only HBCU in partnership with Central Piedmont."
JCSU Connect is a "2+2" program, meaning participating students will complete an associate degree at Central Piedmont and a bachelor's degree at JCSU. During the first two years of study, students in the JCSU Connect Program will take classes at Central Piedmont and engage in intentional career and academic workshops at JCSU. During the third-year, students will enroll at JCSU and be placed in an on-campus paid internship (via federal work study) at JCSU that correlates with their field of study. During the final year of study, participants will complete their academic program at JCSU and engage in experiential learning, including internships and undergraduate research.
"We are excited to partner with Johnson C. Smith University and thrilled to offer this pathway to our students," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "JCSU Connect will be a wonderful program for our students who want to earn a four-year degree. We know they will flourish at JCSU. At the same time, this transfer program is another great example of the higher education community in Charlotte working together to build more avenues to opportunity and enhance our community's economic mobility."Read more
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.
The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte has awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $500,000 grant to develop a new licensed practical nursing program at the college that will provide students with an accelerated path to a meaningful, family-sustaining career in the healthcare industry and address the employment needs of Charlotte's healthcare sector. Thanks to the Foundation's generous gift, the program will permanently be named the Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont.
"This gift will provide us with the resources we need to create a quality program," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "The funds will not only allow us to provide financial aid to our most in need students, but also enable us to hire full- and part-time faculty, develop challenging course content and purchase program-specific material and equipment that will produce quality graduates prepared to enter the workforce."
Licensed practical nurses serve an important role in the healthcare delivery system, ensuring quality care for patients. They assist physicians and registered nurses in providing critical, essential services, including monitoring patients' vital signs and supervising nursing assistants and collaborating with other members of the healthcare team. Licensed practical nurses are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, private practices, medical offices and with home healthcare agencies.
Central Piedmont's licensed practical nursing program will enable students to earn their professional credential in one year, preparing them for employment more quickly. This is especially important, given the median licensed practical nursing salary is $48,055, which offers a viable economic-mobility pathway for low-income residents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
"The Foundation values and appreciates Central Piedmont's important education and career training role in our community," said R. Stuart Dickson, chairman of the board of directors for The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte. "The college is a critical resource in expanding opportunities for the citizens of Mecklenburg County. This grant addresses two of The Dickson Foundation's priorities education and healthcare. We are pleased to partner with Central Piedmont to begin and name this new program."
The Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont will be based on the college's Central Campus and will focus on patient data collection and subsequent care, safety and hygiene, medications, use of medical records, nursing procedures, applying anatomy and physiology, professional behavior, and healthcare law and policy.
The first cohort of licensed practical nursing students is expected to begin classes in fall 2021 and graduate in summer 2022. Upon completing the program, all of the program's graduates will take the National Council Licensure Examination in Practical Nursing to become a nationally-certified licensed practical nurse. It is anticipated the program will begin with 18 students in its first year and grow to 40 students in the second year.
Central Piedmont will have the option to add students in subsequent years to meet student and workforce demand.
The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte is a longtime supporter of Central Piedmont and of healthcare and education in the Charlotte area. The Foundation's grant will help the college further progress toward its Powering a Stronger Future campaign goal of $40 million.
Individuals interested in learning more about the Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont can contact Jeanette Cheshire, associate dean of nursing and nurse aid at Central Piedmont, at 704.330.6451 or at email@example.com.
Central Piedmont Community College received more than $700,000 from JPMorgan Chase to meet community needs for economically mobile career pathways and pandemic-related relief. A $500,000 grant will help the college develop new, fully online training pathways in high-demand IT fields, including cybersecurity, health IT and forensic accounting. The funds will provide for course development, instructional capacity, technology and student support services.
In addition, JPMorgan Chase will extend a second grant of $235,000 to Central Piedmont to provide sub-grants to 11 Mecklenburg County non-profit organizations that are serving populations severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grant funds will help them meet increased demands for services like housing, food, healthcare, legal assistance and technology among the Charlotte area's most vulnerable populations.
"When JPMorgan Chase comes to a city, one of the first things we do is identify community partners that will help us not only connect with the community, but also actually make a long-term and sustainable impact on its residents and their economic mobility. We found a partner in Central Piedmont Community College," said Dekonti Mends-Cole, vice president of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase. "Central Piedmont does not just educate students; it also identifies the needs of the surrounding community and provides the tools and the programs to address them. We're pleased to partner with the college to help the residents of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County thrive."
These two grants are the latest in a history of support JPMorgan Chase has provided Central Piedmont. Since 2014, JPMorgan Chase has invested approximately $1.6 million in the college to support multiple programs, including truck driver training, electrical vehicle technology training, global logistics and distribution, and a customized training program for workers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Approximately 525 students have earned credentials though these programs.
"What an incredible blessing it is to be included in a partnership with JPMorgan Chase, Central Piedmont and 10 other nonprofits to help people in need in our community. At Loaves & Fishes, we see the faces of children, families and seniors here in our community who don't know where their next meal is going to come from. It fills my heart to know this funding will help to ensure everyone in need will have a full plate for the days, weeks and months to come," said Tina Postel, executive director of Loaves & Fishes.
"JPMorgan Chase understands well and supports generously Central Piedmont's mission of helping students achieve career success and greater economic mobility by providing pathways to skills training that is relevant in our global economy," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "JPMorgan Chase is a true partner and leader in this community's work to ensure a greater number of our neighbors get the opportunity and support to build family-sustaining careers. The college and Charlotte region are blessed to have such an intuitive and responsive partner like JPMorgan Chase."
Central Piedmont Community College and Bank of America today announced a new $1-million jobs initiative partnership to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce and embark on a path to success in the Charlotte region. This initiative builds on Bank of America's ongoing work in the communities it serves to address underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis.
"Bank of America has a long-standing commitment to advancing economic mobility in the U.S., and particularly in Charlotte region," said Bank of America Charlotte Market President Charles Bowman. "Our focus on workforce development has been integral in creating opportunities for local residents, and for that reason we have a history of supporting Central Piedmont. Recent events that heighten the urgency to advance racial equity have driven us to do more, and this financial grant is a first step of that commitment."
The initiative is part of the bank's recent nationwide $1-billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equity and economic opportunity, and a $25-million commitment recently announced to enhance up-skilling and re-skilling for Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals.This year alone, the bank provided $3.3 million in grants to nonprofits that are connecting individuals to skills and employment in the Charlotte region.
"Central Piedmont is grateful and excited to be part of Bank of America's national initiative to create educational and career success opportunities for Black and Hispanic-Latino students," said Central Piedmont President Kandi Deitemeyer. "This generous grant will enable the college to support these students in developing the skills that lead to family-sustaining careers in high-demand employment fields. Bank of America's thoughtful philanthropic investment promises significant benefits for students, their families, and our entire community."
The national $25-million initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges, including Central Piedmont, that serve predominately Black and Hispanic-Latino students, public historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and public Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs). Bank of America is also partnering with and providing funding to the Aspen Institute to convene the participating higher education institutions for technical and programmatic assistance and to share best practices.
"Today is a special day for Central Piedmont Community College and the thousands of students it serves," said Dena R. Diorio, Mecklenburg County Manager. "For more than 50 years Central Piedmont has played an integral part in providing educational, training and workforce opportunities, making the college a key player in improving the economic trajectory for many of its students."
"Central Piedmont Community College is a treasured asset to Charlotte, not only as a solid workforce partner, but also as one of the key contributors responsible for our city's prospering economic mobility," shared Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. "By offering careers, collaboration, and higher learning to our residents, this institution is a shining illustration that our city continues to flourish."
Bank of America, in partnership with the Charlotte regions' corporate community and local public sector, will continue to work to ensure the workforce development programs target specific hiring needs to create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.
"We're incredibly grateful for our partnership with Central Piedmont Community College, as academic medicine continues to grow in importance for Atrium Health," said Atrium's Jim Dunn, Executive Vice President & chief people and culture officer. "The workforce development programs at Central Piedmont open up tremendous opportunities for local students to obtain the skills and experience to secure fulfilling and rewarding careers. From Certified Nursing Assistant training, to Nursing and Allied Health career pathways, the Charlotte area is fortunate to have such a local talent pipeline partner to help fill a variety of roles within our Atrium Health enterprise."
The most recent financial commitment builds on support the bank has provided to other area higher education institutions focused on serving students of color and strengthening community economic mobility. Recipients include historically Black institutions of higher education, Johnson C Smith University and Livingstone College, as well as UNC Charlotte, Queens University and Johnson & Wales University.
"Central Piedmont provides much-needed opportunities for underrepresented populations to access higher education and acquire the skills needed to establish meaningful careers," said President and CEO of myFutureNC Cecilia Holden. "The college's short-term certificate and two-year degree programs are aligned with the needs of employers and offer direct pathways to in-demand jobs and greater economic mobility. Expanding higher education and career preparation access to underserved, low-income individuals will have immeasurable impact on their lives and the economic vitality of North Carolina."
Additionally, as part of its "Executive on Loan" program, Bank of America executive Anna-Maria (Ria) Nicholls serves as Chief Diversity Officer to Central Piedmont and plays a key role in helping them shape an institutional vision for equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Central Piedmont's Opportunity Scholarship Initiative provides low-income students with a pathway to a degree and greater economic mobility by covering the full cost of attendance tuition, books, and fees for two years. Recipients also receive a notebook computer to meet their digital needs.
Central Piedmont's $52,500 grant is part of a larger, $9.25 million commitment the Lowes Foundation made to the greater Charlotte region on Oct. 13, to support some of the most critical challenges facing Charlotte today: providing safe affordable housing, continuing to grow the skilled trade industry, ensuring access to technology, and boosting small businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Piedmont will use its grant funds to support students participating in the ROC (Rebuilding Opportunities in Construction) program an initiative that trains and certifies high school students for in-demand trade skills in the construction industry and/or students who are interested in pursuing a construction-focused career pathway.
NC State's Belk Center for Community College Leadership and Research recently released its International Education at North Carolina Community Colleges report, and Central Piedmont's efforts in providing international education opportunities to its students were featured in the report's findings.
The report is a collaboration between the Belk Center and the North Carolina Community College System Office and uses data collected during the 2019-2020 academic year to explore how North Carolina community colleges address the system's mission to "develop a globally and multi-cultural competent workforce."
The report provides a broad overview of what sorts of international education opportunities are available at NC community colleges and suggests that international education is much more prevalent at NC community colleges than national data indicates.
Central Piedmont has been offering study abroad experiences to its students and members of the local community in for more than 20 years. Each year, during spring break and the summer term, Central Piedmont faculty members lead short-term study abroad excursions to a variety of locations across the globe, including: Ecuador, Italy, Greece, Japan, Thailand, Peru, Tanzania, and many others.
Since the college's 2020 study abroad programs were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Learning Office has turned its attention to:
- providing students with virtual, international exchange experiences
- encouraging students to apply for the Scholars of Global Distinction program
- ensuring the college's curriculum includes a global learning perspective
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