CPCC honors longtime donors’ generosity during campus dedication event

last modified Nov 02, 2011 05:16 PM

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) officials and community members, together with The Merancas Foundation representatives, gathered for a special dedication event today to honor the generosity of longtime CPCC donors Casey and Anke Mermans, founders of The Merancas Foundation, located in Huntersville N.C. The Merancas Foundation has supported CPCC and its many programs for almost 20 years. In recognition of the Foundation’s longtime support, CPCC named its North Campus, also located in Huntersville, N.C., the Merancas Campus.

“The support of the Merancas Foundation substantially impacts CPCC’s ability to extend academic and career-training opportunities to the citizens of Mecklenburg County,” said Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of CPCC. “Given today’s economy, these opportunities are more important than ever before. The Mermans family has found a wonderful way to help individuals and the community-at-large.”

Casey and Anke Mermans founded the Merancas Foundation in 1989. Since the Foundation’s inception, the couple has helped more than 3,000 CPCC students receive an education and has been a strong supporter of the College’s short-term training programs, including its Jumpstart for displaced workers and the Pathways to Employment initiative, which helps disadvantaged adults enter the workforce as skilled employees in as little as 12-14 weeks.

In addition to supporting these academic programs, The Merancas Foundation also has helped CPCC with much-needed program funds. In 2009, the Merancas Foundation enabled CPCC to launch a Center for Sustainability to train students for careers associated with “green” industries and environmental sustainability. More recently, the Merancas Foundation was instrumental in establishing an Engineering Career Academy to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg students prepare for high-demand engineering careers, and an Integrated Systems Technology Certificate Program to prepare students for other high-demand, high-salary technical careers.

“Life is about being a productive citizen,” Mr. Mermans said. “That’s why we have helped CPCC students build productive, meaningful lives over the years. By exposing them to educational and job-training opportunities, we can help them achieve their personal and professional goals. We can help them be successful.”

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree and certification programs, customized corporate training, market-focused continuing education, and special interest classes. CPCC is academically, financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies.