Titan Solar Power has given Central Piedmont Community College a grant of $15,000 to assist the college in enriching the experience of underrepresented students in its associate degree STEM programs.
The grant will provide funds for students to participate in STEM exposure workshops, career panels, STEM-related counseling for university transfer, and STEM company visits. The college also will use the grant to hold "STEM Tank" competitions, during which students will propose solutions to STEM-related problems relevant to the Central Piedmont and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.
The grant period will run through June 2023 and be open to as many as 60 students in Central Piedmont's Associate of Science, Associate of Engineering, and Associate of Applied Science programs.
"At Titan Solar Power, we believe service to others is an essential part of the human experience. Our branches nationwide are empowered and encouraged to select local charity partners that align with their culture and call to their hearts. On behalf of our Charlotte branch, we are thrilled to partner with Central Piedmont Community College to support the extraordinary work it does," said Sam Jones, Titan Solar Power director of public relations and marketing.
According to the Pew Research Center and Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM employment needs are projected to grow by 9.2 percent by 2029. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and American Council on Education, only 18 percent of all higher education degrees are awarded each year in STEM fields. Of STEM degree recipients nationally, only 32.4 percent are female, 12.6 percent are Black, and 16.7 percent are Latino/Hispanic.
At the same time, North Carolina ranks only 26th in the nation in engineers as a percentage of the workforce, according to data compiled by the National Science Board. Studies show states and regions with a high concentration of engineers have a greater capacity for innovation and often lead in key industries.
"Anything we can do to recruit and retain students in our STEM degree programs is important and greatly needed in the Charlotte region and across North Carolina" said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "That's why this generous grant from Titan Solar Power will have such a positive and significant impact. The college thanks Titan Solar Power for its support and partnership."
Central Piedmont offers more than a dozen STEM programs. Visit the college website for full details.