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
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 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.
Coca-Cola Consolidated and College Launching Career PipelineNovember 4, 2022
Nation's Largest Coca-Cola Bottler, Central Piedmont Community College, and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Collaborate to Foster Economic Mobility
Coke Consolidated is funding up to 30 apprenticeships at Central Piedmont Community College to spur interest in high-demand positions in manufacturing, equipment repair and logistics at its Charlotte-area facilities.
Qualified applicants will receive financial support for career certificates in fields such as HVAC repair and manufacturing, while gaining experience through part-time positions at Coke Consolidated. The application process will begin in early 2023.
"These scholarships exemplify our commitment to empowering the next generation of diverse servant leaders," said Dave Katz, President and Chief Operating Officer at Coke Consolidated. "We're looking for talented candidates who want to grow their skillsets and their careers."
"Coke Consolidated is dedicated to providing opportunities for new and existing teammates to continuously learn and grow," said Brent Tollison, a Senior Vice President at Coke Consolidated and member of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance Board of Trustees.
"We want to invest in people and to provide the resources and encouragement they need to achieve their goals," he said. "These aren't job opportunities. These are career opportunities."
Coke Consolidated is committed to workforce development and economic opportunity in the communities it serves. Applicants selected for an apprenticeship will have ongoing training and leadership development opportunities as part of their employment experience.
Central Piedmont's credentialing programs are flexible and designed to meet the needs of students who also are working part-time. Coke Consolidated's apprenticeship program targets the more than 65% of adults in the region who don't have a bachelor's degree.
"Central Piedmont is pleased and proud to partner with Coke Consolidated to offer students a pathway to invaluable work experience and rewarding, high-demand careers in manufacturing," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont President. "We are eager to open the program, and we thank Coke Consolidated for their support and collaboration."
Coke Consolidated is working with the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance (CLT Alliance) to highlight opportunities in the manufacturing sector and to promote scholarships for interested applicants. Charlotte is home to more than 3,600 manufacturing companies, which together employ over 145,000 people. 7,500 new manufacturing jobs have been announced in the region since 2020, according to CLT Alliance.
"Manufacturing is integral in the Charlotte Region, and the industry and next generation of talent are poised to shape our future economy," said CLT Alliance President and CEO Janet LaBar. "We applaud Coke Consolidated's commitment to strengthening our workforce and believe collaborations like this will strengthen our pipeline, enrich our economy, and provide a pathway to opportunity for our region's residents."
Coca-Cola Consolidated currently has open positions in the Charlotte area, including many technical jobs. Learn more by visiting Careers.CokeConsolidated.com.
About Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc.
Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Our Purpose is To Honor God in all we do, To Serve Others, To Pursue Excellence, and To Grow Profitably. For over 120 years, we have been deeply committed to the consumers, customers, and communities we serve and are passionate about the broad portfolio of beverages and services we offer. We make, sell, and distribute beverages of The CocaCola Company and other partner companies in more than 300 brands and flavors across 14 states and the District of Columbia to approximately 60 million consumers. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Coca-Cola Consolidated is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "COKE." More information about the Company is available at www.cokeconsolidated.com.
Central Piedmont's RN Program Among Best in NCOctober 18, 2022
RegisteredNursing.org, a nursing advocacy organization, has released its annual lists of "Best RN Programs." Central Piedmont Community College's RN program is ranked number two among the 20 that were evaluated in North Carolina. The number-two ranking is the highest among N.C. community college programs.
The complete "2023 Best RN Programs in North Carolina" ranking can be found at https://www.registerednursing.org/state/north-carolina/#rankings. RegisteredNursing.org assessed nursing programs using several factors which represent how well a program supports students toward licensure and beyond. Details about the methodology used can be reviewed at https://www.registerednursing.org/rn-ranking-methodology/.
Central Piedmont's nursing program is the oldest program in the N.C. Community College System and has graduated more than 3,000 students since its inception in 1965. Interested students can apply to enter three different nursing tracks:
- The Christa A. Overcash Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) Program
- The one-year Dickson Practical Nursing Program
- Nurse Aide Program.
To learn more about Central Piedmont's more than 20 healthcare career programs, visit the college website.
For information on financial assistance available through Central Piedmont Foundation scholarships for nursing students, visit our scholarship portal.
Student Story: Jules OmakindaOctober 10, 2022
Jules Omakinda is a hardworking student who dreams of becoming a pilot one day.
Jules is currently pursuing his associate degree in cyber security at Central Piedmont Community College. "Central Piedmont has a positive reputation and offers many opportunities that students can take advantage of," says Jules. Jules enjoys feeling like he is a part of a community. As he explains it, "Central Piedmont is a place that truly feels like home, and I appreciate how the community works together to help me succeed in my career."
Jules knew as early as he could remember that he would like to be a pilot someday. For him, Central Piedmont is the ideal place to begin his aviation goals. As a result of his cyber security associate degree, he plans to attend another institution to obtain his master's degree in cyber security. His goal is to secure a high-paying job that will help him pay for aviation school.
One thing Jules would like anyone reading this to remember would be to, "keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and utilize all that Central Piedmont provides you to reach your next chapter in life." Read more
Honeywell Makes $1-Million Gift to Establish STEM Scholars AcademySeptember 9, 2022
Honeywell, a global leader in aerospace, building technologies, performance materials, and technologies, has made a $1-million gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College to establish the Honeywell STEM Scholars Academy at the college. The gift will come to Central Piedmont in annual installments of $200,000 over the next five years.
The gift and the creation of the Honeywell STEM Scholars Academy were announced during a Sept. 6 event , at Honeywell's global headquarters, in Charlotte.
The Honeywell STEM Scholars Academy will boost diversity among students enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) programs at the college who are pursuing a certification, degree, and careers in a high-demand STEM-related field. The college plans to involve 100 students in the academy, beginning in fall 2022, and seeks to engage 125 additional students each year, over the next four years.
"Many thanks to Honeywell for this generous gift that will help the college transform even more lives while filling a real need in this community -- graduating more students with a background in STEM," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "The STEM Scholars Academy will seek to recruit and retain students from populations currently underrepresented in STEM fields. This will help Central Piedmont better address the local workforce's demands and prepare our students for greater economic mobility and career prospects in the future."
As a Honeywell STEM Scholars Academy student, participants will have the opportunity to focus on one of three STEM academic pathways at Central Piedmont engineering, health sciences, or information technology and have access to a variety of Central Piedmont's student support services, including tutoring, coaching, peer mentoring, career counseling, and more.
"Honeywell's investment in STEM education is about helping to advance economic mobility for minority students by removing financial barriers to education and guiding them toward in-demand careers," said Karen Mattimore, chief human resources officer and senior vice president for Honeywell. "Honeywell is a key employer in STEM fields because we understand investing in education will contribute to a strong pipeline of career-ready graduates."
In addition to having the opportunity to take advantage of Central Piedmont's many academic resources, academy students will receive STEM education and training opportunities through the Carolina Youth Coalition, a non-profit organization that prepares high-achieving, under-resourced students to enter, excel in, and graduate from college so they can become full participants in society.
Student Story: Veronica JonesJuly 25, 2022
To culinary arts student Veronica Jones, food is life.
Before enrolling at Central Piedmont in 2021, Veronica was a law enforcement officer for 25 years, serving the Charlotte community not only in uniform, but also as a servant-leader, stocking food pantries and cooking meals / delivering groceries to the elderly, the homeless, and local families in need.
"Preparing food perfectly combines my life-long passions of serving others with entertaining family and friends," explains Veronica. "Central Piedmont's culinary arts program is exposing me to new, interesting dishes, as well as different cooking techniques. This aligns well with my future career goals to become a food blogger who shares dishes from across the globe with others so they can learn to appreciate other cultures' cuisines."
But before she starts collecting stamps in her passport, she has to complete the culinary arts program. That means focusing on her education a mantra that was instilled in her by her parents as a child.
"My mother grew up in the segregated South during the 1940s and 1950s, picking cotton as a sharecropper in Johnston, South Carolina," explains Veronica. "Sometimes, months went by when she didn't attend school. She and my father didn't want the same thing for me and my eight siblings. So, they reminded us daily how 'a lack of education can lead to a life of poverty.' I've never forgotten that saying; in fact, it's one of the many reasons I take my education so seriously today."
With her parents words in her head, Veronica searched for a quality educational institution, that could not only provide her with the learning schedule she needed, but also a financial aid package that wouldn't cause her to break the bank. She found both at Central Piedmont.
"Central Piedmont has a unique eight-week class schedule that coordinates well with my schedule, giving me the quality time I require with my family," she says. "In addition, the college offered me THREE scholarships that have allowed me to concentrate on my college studies instead of worrying about how I'm going to pay for tuition and books."
That said, Veronica is on track to graduate from Central Piedmont in May 2023, and her parents will be extremely proud yet again. Read more
College Named Metallica Scholars Initiative Recipient for Fourth Consecutive YearJuly 12, 2022
For the fourth-consecutive year, Central Piedmont Community College was selected to participate in the Metallica Scholars Initiative and receive $10,000 in funding to support its career and technical education programs.
Funded by Metallica's All Within My Hands (AWMH) and led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Metallica Scholars Initiative was created in 2018 to fundamentally improve the earning potential for students who become Metallica Scholars.
Central Piedmont will continue to use the grant funds in addition to a $10,000 matching gift from the Central Piedmont Foundation to provide direct support for students enrolled in its healthcare career programs who need financial assistance to complete their studies and become licensed healthcare professionals. The goal of the initiative is to ensure all graduating healthcare students have funding to pay for their licensure/certification exams so they can quickly enter the workforce fully licensed/certified.
"The Metallica Scholars program has proven to provide significant resources for community college students looking to learn the skills needed for today's workforce," said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC's president and CEO. "We are honored to partner with the All Within My Hands Foundation to continue to expand this opportunity for community colleges and their students."
Learn more about the Metallica Scholars Initiative at Central Piedmont.
View the complete list of new and returning schools selected to participate in the Metallica Scholars Initiative.Read more
Associate Degree in Nursing Achieves Highest Three-Year Pass Rate in the StateJuly 11, 2022
Central Piedmont had the highest three-year pass rate in the state -- 98 percent -- along with Alamance Community College, for the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program. The state pass rate average is 90 percent and the national pass rate is 82 percent.
Central Piedmont's nursing program is the oldest nursing program in the N.C. Community College System and has graduated more than 3,000 students since its inception in 1965.
According to the North Carolina Board of Nursing, "A nursing program leading to an associate degree is generally two years in length and is offered by a college that awards associate and/or applied science degrees. The nursing curriculum includes classroom and clinical experiences for patients across the lifespan in hospital, long term care, and community settings.Graduates of approved associate/applied science programs earn a college degree and are eligible to apply to take NCLEX-RN. A Registered Nurse license is awarded upon successful "Pass" on NCLEX and satisfaction of other licensure requirements."
Learn more information about our Christa A. Overcash Associate Degree in Nursing at cpcc.edu/nursing.
For more details about scholarships that are available for students pursuing a career in nursing, visit our scholarship portal.
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