CPCC, Siemens receive Distinguished Partners in Excellence award

last modified Feb 11, 2013 08:48 AM

The State Board of Community Colleges has awarded Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) and Siemens Energy of Charlotte, N.C., its Distinguished Partners in Excellence Award. The award honors an exemplary employer, business or industry group that has demonstrated a commitment to the professional development of its employees and/or to the development of North Carolina’s workforce through its partnership efforts with one or more of the state’s 58 community colleges.

The partnership between CPCC and Siemens first began more than 12 years ago and has evolved to include many levels of each organization. “Our partnership with CPCC is a true testament to the collaboration between industry and the community college,” said Mark Pringle, director of operations for Siemens Energy – Charlotte. “CPCC is a great partner for us because they are extremely customer focused, flexible and diligent in meeting all of our training needs. They are a huge part of our success story.”

CPCC and Siemens garnered national attention in 2012, when President Barak Obama mentioned the CPCC/Siemens partnership in his State of the Union address, stressing the importance of community college partnerships with industry and workforce training.

When Siemens had a significant need to build and develop a talent pipeline to address skills gaps in its workforce, the company approached CPCC for a solution. The two entities created an apprenticeship program, which is now training students from several area high schools, including Olympic Community of Schools in Charlotte. The students work at Siemens while attending CPCC, where they take courses within the college’s Mechatronics degree program. Siemens pays for each student’s tuition costs, while participants earn a paycheck and receive intensive company-specific technical training and hands-on experience.

In addition to the apprenticeship program, Siemens has collaborated with CPCC on a variety of customized training projects – administered by the college – to train its workforce in the areas of pre-employment, new employee orientation and specialized classes. To accommodate this large group, CPCC has offered more than 680 classes to Siemens employees; and as a result, was able to earn instructional capacity building funds, enabling it to send instructors to additional training programs in areas such as non-destructive examination, LEED and others.

In 2010, CPCC also helped Siemens through its applicant screening process when the company announced it was hiring 700-plus new positions at its facility in Charlotte. CPCC quickly reached out to Charlotte Works and Centralina Works, which provided Siemens with a way to track applicants through an online portal, significantly expediting the hiring process.

Over the years, the partnership has also extended to Siemens Global, the company’s parent company in Germany. CPCC recently collaborated with the company’s global offices to become certified as the first N.C. community college to offer the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification program. The curriculum associated with this specialized track is being integrated into the College’s current Mechatronics Engineering Technology program, allowing CPCC to offer the certification to local companies, students and apprentices.

To learn more about CPCC’s apprenticeship program, please visit http://www.cpcc.edu/apprenticeships. For more information on Siemens, visit http://www.usa.siemens.com.

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.