Student Story: Veronica Jones

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

Posted in Announcements, Foundation News, Scholarships, Students.

Central Piedmont Offering New Certification Program in Massage Therapy

Central Piedmont Community College will launch a nine-month, non-credit Massage Therapy Certification program on June 27, through its Corporate and Continuing Education division.

The certification program will offer students a hands-on education and extensive training in therapeutic and medical massage techniques to prepare them to sit for and pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), a license all professional massage therapists must earn to legally practice their craft in 49 of the 50 states across the country.  

"Our massage therapy certificate program is an attractive career path for individuals interested in securing a healthcare-related position, in a short amount of time, that offers an earning potential of $42,750 a year," said Roschella Stephens, associate dean, therapy and acute care division at Central Piedmont. "This program also will be the least expensive massage therapy program in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, which aligns well with the college's mission to provide an affordable education to all." 

Sixteen students are expected to be in the program's first cohort this summer. During the program, they'll learn about the fundamentals of massage therapy, anatomy, physiology, and advanced modalities in the field, and have the opportunity to engage in 114 hours of hands-on training through the program's built-in clinical rotation.

For more information about the new certification program in massage therapy at Central Piedmont, including its program requirements, class days/times, course sequencing, and more, contact Marcus Caldwell by emailing marcus.caldwell@cpcc.edu, calling 704.330.2722, ext. 7234  or visiting cpcc.edu/programs/healthcare-continuing-education.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Resources, Students.

Female Veterans Connect to VA Healthcare Benefits

On May 11, Central Piedmont hosted a "VA Women's Health Reengagement Training" event on its Cato Campus to give women veterans in the Charlotte region an opportunity to mingle with their peers and to learn more about the Veteran Administration's (VA) veteran- and women-centered healthcare services.

The event was part of Women Veterans Health Reengagement Training's (heaRT) initiative to raise awareness of the VA's healthcare policy changes so more female veterans will enroll and take advantage of the healthcare benefits that are available to them.

"Women veterans are one of the largest demographics to not utilize VA healthcare benefits," said Richard Bartell, director of Central Piedmont's Military Families and Veterans Services. "Many of them don't know that even if they have TRICARE or private insurance, they're still eligible. That's why this event is so important, it's connecting our veterans to the benefits they need and deserve."

During the four-hour event, participants networked with one another and learned more about:

  • women's health services
  • whole health and mental health services
  • how to determine their VA care eligibility
  • how to enroll in VA

Central Piedmont was one of two sites in North Carolina to host a Women Veterans heaRT event this month. A total of 13 Women Veterans heaRT events are scheduled to be held throughout the Southeast and the Midwest during May and June.

Learn more about Central Piedmont's Military Families and Veterans Services.

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Posted in Community, Foundation News, Students. Tagged as military, veterans.

Central Piedmont Holds 2022 Commencement

Central Piedmont Community College today hosted its 2021-2022 commencement ceremony at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Almost 900 students "marched" and received their college degrees. More than 2,300 students were eligible to graduate this year.

During the morning festivities, Mr. Kevin Tobin, a 2022 graduate, addressed his peers by delivering this year's commencement address. Ms. Evelyn Hill, also a 2022 graduate, was the commencement speaker at the 2 p.m., ceremony. This is the fifth time Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation. Evelyn and Kevin both graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in human services technology substance abuse.

Students matriculating from Central Piedmont with a curriculum degree, diploma, or certificate had the option of participating in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. This is the first year Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-credit programs into a single ceremony, giving graduates the choice to "walk" in the graduation ceremony that better fit their families' schedule.

In addition to hearing Evelyn's powerful message during the 2 p.m., ceremony, attendees also saw Dr. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, confer an Honorary Associate Degree in Arts to Mr. Wilton L. Parr, a long-time Central Piedmont student, volunteer, and donor.

Central Piedmont will offer two commencement ceremonies this year to honor its graduates. 2022 summer and fall semester graduates will participate in a special commencement service on December 13, 2022, at 10 a.m., at Bojangles Coliseum. The addition of a fall ceremony will allow the college's summer and fall graduates to be honored in the same timely way as its spring graduates.

View photos from the day's festivities in our online gallery.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Students.

Second Cohort of STRIVE Scholars Graduates

Central Piedmont is excited to announce that its second cohort of STRIVE Scholars graduated yesterday during a special commencement ceremony on the college's Harris Campus.

The STRIVE (Strengthening Teachers. Reaching Individuals. Valuing Everyone.) Scholars program is a joint early childhood education initiative between the college, Mecklenburg County, The Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council that seeks to address a local shortage in the public Pre-K teacher workforce. The program accomplishes this goal by removing the many financial and personal barriers students who are pursuing an associate degree in early childhood education may face by providing them with better access and the support services they need to succeed.

Founded in January 2020, the STRIVE Scholars Program has graduated 38 students to date. Twenty-five scholars graduated from the program during the May 10 ceremony, and more STRIVE scholarships are set to be awarded to eligible students in summer and fall 2022.

The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically-qualified applicants preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County. In addition to receiving financial assistance, scholars also receive access to mental health supports, professional and personal development opportunities, and can apply for need-based support, including assistance with transportation and child care.

"The STRIVE Scholars program supports higher education access by removing barriers that may cause a student to lose focus and not be able to give 100 percent to their studies," said Toria Grant, STRIVE recruitment project manager and an early childhood education instructor at Central Piedmont. "This program helps us produce graduates who are prepared to serve the county's ever-growing pre-k population by providing Mecklenburg's youngsters with a high quality pre-K education that will better prepare them for their primary education and achieving academic success in the future."

Learn more about the program or attend a virtual STRIVE information session.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Scholarships, Students.

Students Give Back to Local Community

Students preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwichesOn Oct. 27, approximately 50 Central Piedmont Opportunity Scholars gathered in the Worrell Gym, located on Central Piedmont's Central Campus, to participate in a special "Spread the Love" event.

During their time together, the students:

Each month, the college's Office of Mentoring and Bridge hosts bi-weekly Pop Series workshops to help Opportunity Scholarship recipients bridge the transition between high school and college by informing students of campus resources in an attempt to sharpen their self-advocacy skills, learn the importance of professional communication, and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Workshop attendance is required for all first-year Opportunity Scholars, while second-year Opportunity Scholarship students have the choice to attend.

The Mentoring and Bridge team changes the workshop theme monthly to reflect an area that can best benefit students. Featured themes have included and / or will include study habits and learning (September), health and fitness (November), and stress management (December). The Spread the Love event held on Oct. 27 supported the team's October theme community and giving back.

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Posted in Announcements, Campus, Foundation News, Students.

Central Piedmont to Launch Practical Nursing Program

Central Piedmont Community College will launch the Dickson Practical Nursing Program in January, with the start of the spring 2022 semester. The 11-month, three-semester diploma program will open with a class of 18 students. The North Carolina Board of Nursing has approved Central Piedmont to establish and offer the program.

Graduates of the Dickson Practical Nursing Program will be eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which is required for practice as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), with employment opportunities found in hospitals; rehabilitation, long-term care, and home health facilities; clinics; and physicians' offices. LPNs serve an important role in the healthcare delivery system, ensuring quality care for patients. They assist physicians and RNs in providing critical and essential services, including monitoring patients' vital signs and supervising nursing assistants and collaborating with other members of the healthcare team.

The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte awarded Central Piedmont a $500,000 grant to develop a new LPN program at the college to provide students an accelerated path to a meaningful, family-sustaining career in the healthcare industry and address specific employment needs within the Charlotte region's healthcare sector. The Dickson 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 LPN salary is $48,055, which offers a viable economic-mobility pathway for lower-income residents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

After opening the program with 18 students, Central Piedmont will expand the second class to 24 seats. The college will monitor local needs for LPNs and will adjust the size of future classes to meet demand. The program will be based on the Central Campus.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont can contact Jeanette Cheshire, the college's associate dean of nursing and nurse aid, at 704.330.6451 or jeanette.cheshire@cpcc.edu.

Learn more about all of the sources of financial assistance currently available to Central Piedmont students.

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Posted in Announcements, Campus, Foundation News, Students.

College Hosts 2021 Commencement Ceremonies

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. 

View photos from the college's ceremonies.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Campus, Community, Foundation News, Students. Tagged as graduation.

Strive Scholars Programs is Building Pre-K Educators

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:

  • technology
  • transportation
  • 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.

Attend a STRIVE information session virtually.

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Posted in Announcements, Community, Foundation News, Scholarships, Students. Tagged as early childhood education.

Johnson C. Smith University Announces Direct Admission Program with Central Piedmont

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.

JSCU President Clarence D. Armbrister and Central Piedmont President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer"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."

Learn more about the JCSU program.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Community, Foundation News, Students.

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