EdNC.org: Central Piedmont Community College wants to create opportunityMarch 29, 2023
by Hannah McClellan, EdNC.org
The summer after Tyler Jackson graduated from high school, he took two college courses through Central Piedmont Community College's Summer Bridge program, meant to help students successfully transition from high school to college.
After one of the orientation sessions Jackson attended, a college staff member dismissed all participants but the "opportunity scholars." Jackson was not an opportunity scholar at the time and he knew little about the program, but he was curious, so he decide to stay behind and learn more. That decision led to Jackson applying for and eventually receiving the scholarship he says changed his life.
"Central Piedmont has opened so many doors," Jackson said in a college promotional video. "They cared more about who I was as a person. Being able to go to school without having to worry about the cost I'm just grateful."
Jackson is one of nearly 400 opportunity scholars Central Piedmont Community College has served since it launched the program in 2017, according to college data last fall. Through the Opportunity Scholarship, students underrepresented in college receive funding to fully cover tuition, books, and fees for two years. In addition, these students receive a notebook computer and access to one-on-one academic coaching for career planning, internships, and job placement.
This support was key for his success, said Jackson, who graduated with an associate of arts degree in December. During the start of the pandemic and remote learning, college staff members kept him from "falling through the cracks."
"It's been a long time coming," he told EdNC. "And my experience has been amazing. I've always felt welcome. Especially being an opportunity scholar, that opened up so many more doors being able to sit in different meetings, visit different places, and being able to have exposure to these things I wouldn't have probably had if I wasn't an opportunity scholar."
The total number of Opportunity Scholarships offered per year varies based on available funding provided by local donors, the college's website says. You can learn more about the scholarship and how to apply here. You can learn about N.C. Community College System (NCCCS) scholarships here.
'What community college can do'
Many community college students some of them adult learners, low income, or first-generation college-goers experience various barriers that can make academic success more difficult. In recent years, North Carolina community colleges have increasingly added support to help their students stay in college.
Community college leaders say meeting the financial, transportation, and child care needs of students helps them complete their programs.
About 48% of N.C. Community College students complete a degree or credential in six years, based on 2022 data from myFutureNC. That rate is lower for students ages 21-24 (38%), Black students (30%), and part-time students (20%).
In comparison, nearly 150 opportunity scholars have graduated from Central Piedmont since 2017. That's a 53% completion rate for cohorts through 2020-21, each before the six-year completion target used by myFutureNC. This success rate is in spite of the fact that many opportunity scholars face more barriers to completion compared to the general community college population. The majority of scholars in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 cohorts can graduate starting this year.
Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president at Central Piedmont, said the Opportunity Scholarship is one of many ways the college is working to expand its impact on students, the economy, and the wider community.
Central Piedmont adds $827.7 million to the economy each year, according to a recent economic impact study, and supports 11,274 jobs. For every dollar students invest in their education at Central Piedmont, they gain $3.80 in lifetime earnings.
"The college helps students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential," Deitemeyer said in a release. "Central Piedmont provides students with the education, training, and skills they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers that provide real economic mobility."
Dr. Deninne Pritchett, the college's chair of psychology, understands that economic mobility well.
Pritchett first started college as a teen mother, at 18. She dropped out of college four times and once from Central Piedmont before returning to successfully graduate from the college in 2010 with an associate degree in art.
"When I arrived at Central Piedmont, there was something different here," she said. "Even the first time when I didn't stay, there was something different, which led me to come back."
Pritchett, who went on to earn a doctorate in psychology, is now the creator of the Adjunct Faculty Learning Community and facilitator for the Diversified Teaching Practices Learning Commons at the college. She also earned an American College and University Educators (ACUE) Advanced Certificate for Teaching Effectiveness and is a featured expert in an ACUE course on learner-centered, equitable teaching practices.
"It just seems like this is what I'm supposed to be doing, because this is where my foundation was set," Pritchett said.
Today, in addition to teaching students psychology, Pritchett aims to make them feel welcomed, understood, and empowered.
She believes that one interaction can change everything, because for her, it did. The last time she enrolled at Central Piedmont, it was a kind financial aid advisor who made her believe in herself.
"I'm a representative of what community college can do for you," Pritchett said. "It's like a full-circle moment that I don't sit high and look low, this is a partnership for me to support students to get wherever they want to get to, whatever that goal is."
For Tyler Jackson, his goal of graduating college expanded to studying abroad while at Central Piedmont and joining student government goals he achieved without stressing about money, thanks to the scholarship program. After graduating with his associate degree debt-free, he feels well-positioned to pursue a bachelor's degree in business and media at UNC Charlotte. In the meantime, he's applied to be a substitute teacher at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, in addition to working at his production company and promoting his film, "LoverBoy The Movie." He's also dreaming about becoming a full-time entertainer acting, filmmaking, and directing or a professor in the arts.
For him, programs like the Opportunity Scholarship are important because they help first-generation and low-income students "seek better" for themselves. Today, he also works as a tutor coordinator at TRIO, Upward Bound the program that initially connected him to Central Piedmont's Summer Bridge program where he aims to be like the mentors he found at Central Piedmont to younger students.
Jackson is grateful for where he is following graduation and is excited for his future and his career. But, what if he decides to pursue something completely different?
"I can also always come back to Central Piedmont," he said. "It's a place where I've always felt at home."Republished with permission from https://www.ednc.org/central-piedmont-community-college-wants-to-create-opportunity/. Read more
Central Piedmont Remembers the Life & Legacy of Dale F. HaltonMarch 22, 2023
WBTV: Lowe's Foundation hopes to address growing need of tradespeopleMarch 21, 2023
The Lowe's Foundation has launched the Gable Grants Program to fund programs for skilled trades. Their partnership with Central Piedmont Community College supports students building careers as skilled tradespeople while also filling a gap in the current local workforce.
Learn more via WBTV's report: Lowe's Foundation hopes to address growing need of tradespeople Read more
Students Honored as Coca-Cola Academic Team ScholarsMarch 16, 2023
Two Central Piedmont Community College students have been named 2023 Coca-Cola Academic Team Scholars, in partnership with Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Each will receive a scholarship.
Ashton Leswing has been named a Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Letrell Grady has been named Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars across the nation with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each scholar also receives a commemorative medallion.
"The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges," said Jane Hale Hopkins, President of the Coca- Cola Scholars Foundation. "We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow's leaders of the global community."
Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service, and this year winners were chosen from more than 2,400 applicants.
Coca-Cola Academic Team members will be recognized in both local and statewide ceremonies and will also be recognized internationally during Phi Theta Kappa's annual convention, PTK Catalyst, to be held in Columbus, Ohio, April 20-22.
Central Piedmont Archives Opens 'Parrallel Lives' ExhibitionMarch 10, 2023
The Central Piedmont Community College Archives department has opened an exhibition of local interest: "Parallel Lives Central High School and Second Ward High School."
The exhibition highlights the centennial history of Charlotte's Central High School and Second Ward High School (both opened in 1923), celebrates the memories of their alumni, and seeks to raise awareness of the importance of historical preservation.
Central High and Second Ward High were built to meet the growing secondary education needs of Charlotte in the early 20th century. The schools were segregated; Second Ward serving Black students and Central High serving white students. With Central High located on Elizabeth Avenue and Second Ward High on Alexander Street, the schools were within walking distance, and yet, their students had separate high school experiences. In 1957, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools began integrating high schools.
One hundred years after building and opening the schools, the Central High facility remains standing as part of Central Piedmont's Central Campus. The gymnasium and a historical plaque are all that remain of Second Ward High.
The "Parallel Lives Central High School and Second Ward High School," exhibition is open to the public through May 8, in the Archives section of the Hagemeyer Library, located in the Parr Center, on Central Campus, with nearby visitor parking available in Lot 5, located at 230 N. Kings Drive.
You may also review an online version of the exhibition.
Central Piedmont to Establish Honors ProgramMarch 6, 2023
Through a generous gift from Truist Bank, Central Piedmont Community College will establish an Honors Program, opening with the start of the 2023 fall semester.
The Honors Program will seek to develop excellence in students by providing high quality enrichment experiences that are intellectually challenging and result in deeper learning. The Honors Program will engage students in meaningful academic, personal, and social development experiences to create independent thinkers and life-long learners through the construction of knowledge.
"The Honors Program is an example of how Central Piedmont is committed to elevating student success," said Dr. Deninne Pritchett, Honors Program faculty director. "The Honors Program will create additional opportunities for students who want to attend Central Piedmont while enhancing the experiences of current students. Students in the Honors Program will be challenged and gain transferable skills that add value to the credits or degree earned at Central Piedmont resulting in better marketability."
Students will actively participate in course sections aligned with the Honors Program foundations emphasizing experiential learning, research, civic engagement, global learning, leadership, and reflective thinking. The Honors Program will include a variety of transformational learning experiences for students planning to transfer, earn a degree, or enter the workplace.
Students in the Honors Program will be referred to as Honors Program Scholars. They will be required to complete 15-credit hours in Honors Program course sections, a 30-hour immersive experience, and 10 activities or events including interview and résumé sessions that emphasize the Honors Program foundations.
Students can apply for scholarships that will cover tuition and course materials as well as travel, events, and immersion experiences aligned with at least one of the program foundations. The Honors Program will be open to students from all courses of study offered at the college. The college will provide alternate methods for acceptance into the program outside of GPA requirements to ensure the program is equitable and inclusive.
"Research shows honors program students have increased retention rates, higher graduation rates, and increased pathways to honors programs at four-year institutions," Pritchett added. "As a champion of students and catalyst for opportunity, Central Piedmont continues to be at the forefront of a changing student population and the need to prepare students for the future."
Students and parents who want to learn more about Central Piedmont's new Honors Program can review the program webpage or contact Dr. Deninne Pritchett at email@example.com.
Central Piedmont to offer teacher licensing certificatesMarch 1, 2023
Bachelor degree graduates who are considering a career in the elementary school classroom will soon be able to receive teacher licensing at multiple North Carolina community colleges, including Central Piedmont Community College.
The new program makes teacher licensing more affordable and convenient with classes at local community colleges. The seven institutions approved thus far to offer the new licensing program are Alamance, Blue Ridge, Central Piedmont, Fayetteville Technical, McDowell Technical, Wayne, and Western Piedmont community colleges.
Central Piedmont will launch its program in August, with the beginning of the fall 2023 semester. The Elementary Education Residency Licensure Certificate program will offer instruction and coaching for residency elementary teachers seeking licensure. This program will help support students with classroom observations and one-on-one sessions, and assist with the creation of their portfolio in preparation for licensing from the state.
This new path to elementary licensure will expand Central Piedmont's current teacher preparation track, which prepares students to transfer to a bachelor degree education program through completion of an associate in arts or associate in science degree.
For more information about Central Piedmont's new teacher licensing certificate program, email Jennifer Perkins, chair of the Teacher Preparation Pathway Program.
Alumnus John White Featured by CBS Chicago for Black History MonthFebruary 23, 2023
Central Piedmont alumnus and Pulitzer Prize winning photographer John H. White was featured by Chicago CBS affiliate WBBM in their Black History Month Artist Series.
See the full video interview via their website: Admired Chicago photographer John H. White chronicles the humanity of history Read more
Central Piedmont & Western Carolina Partner to Launch Catamount Conntection ProgramFebruary 2, 2023
Central Piedmont Community College and Western Carolina University (WCU) announced today the launch of the Catamount Connection Program a new direct pathway to a four-year degree for Central Piedmont students.
Dr. Kelli R. Brown, Western Carolina University chancellor, and Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president, met at WCU to sign a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions that guarantees admission to the university for Central Piedmont associate degree graduates who satisfy certain requirements.
The memorandum launches the Catamount Connection Program. The program's purpose is to create a direct pathway for Central Piedmont graduates to acquire an affordable and accessible four-year degree from WCU. As Deitemeyer announced, "Central Piedmont is excited and proud to partner with Western Carolina University to provide our students a seamless admissions pathway to the university. This program represents a wonderful opportunity for Central Piedmont students."
Brown said she wants to ensure students from Central Piedmont have immediate access to the affordability and quality of WCU. "It is so critical for students to see that if they want to go to a four-year college, but went to a two-year college, they have a pathway to that four-year institution," Brown said. "Western Carolina University is an NC Promise school; the affordability is there and, of course, the quality is always there. There are great advantages for us to have this memorandum of understanding, given that we are a quality four-year institution."
Deitemeyer is equally thrilled to provide WCU as an option for their graduates. "We know our students will be well-prepared here and well-cared for at WCU," she said. "In Cullowhee, they will enjoy challenging classes taught by superb faculty, a beautiful campus and a learning environment that fosters exploration, innovation and excellence. This program offers Central Piedmont students a great destination for pursuing a bachelor's degree."
Students who wish to participate in the Catamount Connection Program must satisfy the following conditions:
- Be a currently enrolled student at Central Piedmont, in a degree-seeking capacity
- Submit a WCU application for admission and records by WCU deadlines
- Submit the application fee or waiver, and fulfill all commitment action steps
- Be in good standing at Central Piedmont and other institutions attended
- Demonstrate good citizenship and conduct
- Earn and maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.50 at Central Piedmont and a minimum GPA of 2.20 in their most recent term
- Earn an associate degree from Central Piedmont in a college transfer program or in an applied program for which an articulation agreement exists
- Enroll at WCU within one academic year of completion of the associate degree
"This transfer pathway also is a wonderful example of higher education partners in North Carolina working together to broaden access to a bachelor's degree and greater opportunities beyond," Deitemeyer explained. "It has been well documented that North Carolina and its workforce and economy need more individuals with bachelor's degrees. The Catamount Connection program addresses this need directly."
Visit WCU's website for more information about how to transfer.
Learn more about applying to Central Piedmont Community College.
Central Piedmont to provide customized training for IPEX USAJanuary 10, 2023
Central Piedmont Community College will provide specialized training for IPEX USA LLC., employees through funding from North Carolina's customized training program. IPEX USA will receive approximately $345,500 in training value from Central Piedmont over a two-year period. The training will cover a broad range of skills building and be delivered by the college's Engineering Technologies Division and other faculty and staff. The training and skills areas will include programmable logic controller, electrical circuit controls, electrical motor controls, Lean Overview, Lean Six Sigma, Root Cause Analysis, as well as multiple workplace and industrial safety courses. The N.C. Community College System's Customized Training Program offers training services and specialized programs to assist new and existing business and industry to remain productive and profitable in North Carolina.
IPEX USA LLC., was founded in 1992 and designs and manufactures thermoplastic piping systems. The company is increasing its Mecklenburg County footprint by building a new, state-of-the-art injection-molding plant in Pineville, N.C. The new 200,000 square-foot facility will encompass Industry 4.0, including artificial intelligence, and increase the company's ability to manufacture fittings for plumbing, electrical, industrial and municipal applications. This facility will become the company's technological flagship operation and be one of the most advanced plastics manufacturing facilities in the industry.
The IPEX expansion project will create approximately 230 jobs, including warehouse, production, maintenance, and production supervisor positions. Central Piedmont will provide the main training component, with the Polymers Center of Excellence providing injection-molding and extrusion training to support the 67 new machines that will be in the new facility. Both new and current Pineville employees will receive the training.
"Central Piedmont is excited to work with IPEX USA as the company expands its operations in Mecklenburg County. The college is eager to assist IPEX as it creates hundreds of new jobs and gives incumbent workers opportunities for growth within the company," said Allison Bowers, Central Piedmont director corporate learning and economic recruitment. "The college, through our Corporate Learning Center, will work hard to develop and deliver the customized training IPEX USA
will need to achieve its expansion goals."
Central Piedmont's Corporate Learning Center is the college's single point of contact for serving the wide range of learning and development needs of businesses and organizations in Mecklenburg County, including customized training. The college's span of learning, expertise and experience make Central Piedmont a uniquely positioned workforce development resource to help meet the performance and organizational needs of local companies.
To talk with a Corporate Learning Center team member, call 704.330.4660, or visit www.cpcc.edu/clc.
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