Small Business Center to launch 'Small Business Rebound Program’
Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center is excited to announce it has launched a new initiative — the Small Business Rebound Program — to connect small business owners impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with Master in Business Administration (MBA) students from top universities and colleges located across the United States. The program will be available May 11–July 3, 2020.
The program will provide business owners with exclusive access to business advisors, studying for their MBAs at some of the country’s most elite universities, including Stanford University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Advisors will conduct virtual counseling sessions with participants, helping small business owners identify and apply for loan opportunities, redesign their business models, evaluate their budget, and analyze their cash management process.
“Growing up in Charlotte, I saw how small businesses defined the character of our community,” said Ladd Hamrick, a Stanford University MBA student. “Our team of MBAs hopes to help by offering what we’ve learned in the classroom, from financial planning and marketing to crisis leadership.”
One of the many perks of the Small Business Rebound Program is some participants may be eligible for a professional service grant. The MBA business advisors will work with small business owners to help assess and/or gather the information needed to help them apply for the grant.
If awarded funding, eligible small business owners would have the opportunity to receive four hours of counseling from a Small Business Center Network-affiliated certified public accountant (CPA), digital marketing strategists, human resource expert, or attorney (a $1,200 or $1,500 value), depending on their area of need. Potential services include establishing a financial chart of accounts, developing social media accounts/a Google Business page, creating HR policies, and more.
“The goal of this program is to help provide small business owners with the sounding board they need to analyze the current state of their business,” said Renee Hode, executive director of Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center. “Advisors will provide guidance, helping each small business owner sustain their business practices during this challenging time in the marketplace.”
To learn more, visit the Small Business Rebound Program.
PNC Foundation grants to support college's early childhood education program
The PNC Foundation has awarded Central Piedmont Community College two grants totaling $500,000 to support the college’s early childhood education program and help train more pre-K teachers as Mecklenburg County works to provide more pre-K opportunities for local children.
“As our communities face the serious health and economic challenges presented by the current crisis, it’s important to acknowledge that pre-K education is essential to helping today’s children and tomorrow’s workforce achieve economic mobility,” said Weston Andress, PNC regional president for Western Carolinas and a Central Piedmont Foundation board member. “These grants will help train and develop the pre-K educators who will be integral to the growth, quality and resilience of pre-K education in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.”
The first grant of $255,000, awarded over five years, will enable the college to hire an early childhood education recruiter/academic coach. With a focus on Charlotte-Mecklenburg's Title 1 high schools and low-income students from other area high schools, the recruiter/academic coach will promote the program in schools and youth programs such as Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas and the City of Charlotte Mayor's Youth Employment Program. Upon identification of interested students, the recruiter will work with students and families to assist with enrollment and registration. Once students are enrolled, the recruiter will serve as an academic coach, shepherding them along their chosen career pathway.
The college will use the second five-year grant of $245,000 to provide scholarships and other assistance to incumbent child care workers in need of additional college classes and credits to earn an associate degree in early childhood education. Specifically, early childhood education students participating in the Reinforced Instruction for Student Excellence (RISE) developmental math and English program at Central Piedmont will have access to:
- online tutoring service through Smart Thinking available 24 hours a day/seven days a week;
- peer mentors;
- on-site, face-to-face tutors;
- an academic coach/career navigator; and
- laptop computers to aid out-of-class learning, for those with demonstrated financial need.
“The college is grateful to PNC for its generous support of Central Piedmont’s early childhood education program,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “Providing opportunities for more Mecklenburg County children to attend pre-K school is an important economic mobility initiative in the county. The success of this effort will depend in large part on having enough Pre-K teachers.
“PNC is a true partner with the college and Mecklenburg County as we endeavor to ensure all children have the education they need to pursue their academic and life goals,” Deitemeyer said.
Engineering students help develop face shield prototype for healthcare workers’ use
Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of Central Piedmont’s engineering program, continues to produce components for healthcare workers’ face shields, using the 3D printers in Central Campus’s Advanced Technology Center.
Dr. Garbini received more 3D printing material on April 20, and, since that time, he has printed approx. 1,000 face shield parts. He delivered the parts to Charlotte MEDI on April 28.
While dropping off the parts, he learned from one of Charlotte MEDI’s representatives and a few healthcare workers, that an issue with the current design of the face shields is cutting into the heads of users. Considering a nurse’s shift is 12+ hours, this was unacceptable to Dr. Garbini.
As a solution, Dr. Garbini suggested he design his own face shields/masks, independently of Charlotte MEDI’s design, using only Central Piedmont equipment in the engineering lab. His design would address the practical nature of the shield. His request was approved!
Beginning this week, Dr. Garbini will work virtually with a design team, consisting of five personally-selected Associate in Engineering students studying civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering. They are: Alexander Stephenson, Bailen Huggins, Lauran Echols, Laurick Amadi, and Luke Sewing.
The design team will meet virtually to develop a prototype based on utility, which includes comfort, cleaning, and assembly, by May 1. It will be tested by Atrium Main Hospital nurses by the end of the week so the team can receive feedback on its design/fit and make any necessary adjustments before Dr. Garbini mass produces the units in the college’s Engineering Lab.
One of the student volunteers, Lauran Echols, also serves as president of Central Piedmont’s Society of Women Engineers. She and her peers are on standby, waiting to contribute to the effort as well.
Dr. Garbini will need the assistance of as many individuals as possible as he strives to meet the demand created by in-need Atrium Main Hospital oncology nurses, local dental hygiene clinics, SC hospitals, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
“It's exciting to think about the number of people we are helping with our innovation, effort, and collaboration — especially in this time of need,” said Dr. Garbini.
April 24, 2020 Message to the College on Coronavirus: Gov. Cooper Extends Statewide Stay-at-Home Order through May 8
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced yesterday he is extending his statewide stay-at-home order through Friday, May 8. The order continues to restrict gatherings of more than 10 and allows only essential businesses and institutions to operate. The stay-at-home order is aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
As announced previously, Central Piedmont Community College will complete the spring 2020 semester with students learning — and the vast majority of employees working — remotely.
The spring 2020 graduation ceremony scheduled for May 14 has been postponed. The college plans to hold a number of smaller, in-person, program-focused ceremonies on Central Campus, July 29-31. We will communicate the specific plans as soon as they are complete, but please mark these dates on your calendar. In the meantime, the Graduation Committee is exploring other ways to honor graduates during the month of May. More details to come.
Our summer terms will take place as scheduled. The method of instructional delivery — in-person, online, or a combination of the two — will depend on the future severity of the pandemic. Our top priority will be keeping everyone safe. Priority registration for our current students for the summer and fall semesters began April 17. Open registration for new students begins April 27.
Current students who have not done so already should register for their summer and fall classes quickly while plenty of seats are still available.
Please continue to take precautions to stay home and stay healthy. The college has established the Central Piedmont Cares initiative to connect with you and to connect you with helpful resources, as we all continue to navigate this rapidly changing situation. Visit the Central Piedmont Cares website for information regarding available resources.
Visit coronavirus information for all of Central Piedmont's updates on the pandemic.
Grant to support robotics, automation, cybersecurity work at college and partner institutions
The National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program has awarded the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, located at North Carolina State University, in collaboration with community college partners the North Carolina Community College System, Central Piedmont Community College, Wake Technical College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, a $443,619 grant to establish a Robotics/Automation and Cybersecurity Knowledge Sharing Coordination Network (TRACKS-CN).
The TRACKS-CN project is anticipated to take three years to complete, with a projected timeline of July 1, 2020–June 30, 2023.
TRACKS-CN will focus on workforce development efforts at the intersection of robotics/automation and cybersecurity, bringing together organizations and expertise with a focus on workforce development and improving manufacturing in the United States, including community colleges, Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and Manufacturing USA Institutes.
Thanks to Central Piedmont’s past work on a U.S. Department of Transportation’s TAACCT-funded project, which focused on mechatronics (Mechatronics Re-Envisioned), the college was identified as having the subject matter expertise and capacity to serve as a community college partner on this project.
As a result, Central Piedmont’s Jami Dale, chair of the Mechatronics Engineering Technology Program, has been identified as the subject matter expert and will serve as co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on the three-year project. A portion of the grant fuds will support Dale’s role, which includes participating on quarterly partnership calls with TRACKS-CN participants, attending two annual workshop meetings and working on Advanced Technological Education projects that focus on robotics/automation to ensure they align with the work and goals of the TRACKS-CN.
“The network this grant establishes couldn't be more timely,” said Dale. “As learning environments transition to needing an increased catalog of online technical engineering training materials for college instructors, it’s important our partners in education and industry work together to encourage and facilitate the creation and distribution of educational materials for use in North Carolina and beyond.”
Dale was a natural choice to fill the project’s co-PI role. Central Piedmont has operated a mechatronics engineering technology program since 2005. Robust automation content is woven throughout the college’s curriculum and aligns with the goals of the TRACKS-CN. In addition, the college has a strong cybersecurity education program and is exploring the links between these two technology areas as a contributor to the TRACKS-CN.
For more information about STEM programs of study at Central Piedmont and STEM career fields, see cpcc.edu/stem, or contact Chris Paynter, Central Piedmont dean of STEM, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 704.330.6531.
College donates gloves, masks, and gowns to Atrium Health and Novant Health
Central Piedmont Health Professions and Human Services donated more than 30,000 pairs of gloves, 670 N95 masks, 350 isolation gowns, 250 level 3 masks, and 400 bouffant caps to Atrium Health and Novant Health.
All of our health programs and Environmental Health and Safety offered their supplies to meet the community's needs. Faculty from all of the college's Health Careers areas wanted to come in and help pack but we wanted to limit the number of faculty involved to just a few. They were:
- Karen Summers, Interim Dean ,Health Professions and Human Services
- Eileen Clark, Dental Hygiene
- Cathy Flores, Medical Assisting
- Mel Angelisanti, Surgical Technology
Central Piedmont employees use 3D printers to make face shield parts
Central Piedmont’s Dr. Adam Harris, chair of the computer engineering technology, electrical engineering technology and electronics engineering technology programs, and Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of the engineering program, are partnering with Charlotte Latin to produce the parts needed for CharlotteMEDI to make face shields for area hospital personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As instructors, Dr. Harris and Dr. Garbini regularly work in the college’s FabLab, home to 10 3D printers, which the duo has been visiting tirelessly, sometimes twice a day, to manufacture the headbands and bottom clips needed to complete the assembly of CharlotteMEDI’s face shields.
To date, the Central Piedmont team has made approximately 300 3D printed parts, such as bottom clips and headbands.
But, according to Dr. Garbini, that’s only the beginning.
Once the team receives more filament — the material used to produce the parts — and services a couple of the machines to get them all working at 100 percent capacity, Dr. Garbini anticipates being able to print approximately 160 clips a day going forward.
However, productivity isn’t his only concern, so is safety. “I’ve sectioned off the lab in the building to prohibit the parts from being exposed to any external germs or elements before they are shipped,” adds Dr. Garbini. “At the end of the day, Adam and I are grateful to be given the opportunity to use our college’s equipment to contribute to a community need. Any support we can offer to our healthcare providers during this critical time is extremely important — both for their safety and the well-being of the greater Charlotte community.”
Dr. Garbini delivered the face shield parts he and Dr. Harris produced to an approved CharlotteMEDI drop-off location on April 8. The parts will immediately be assembled into face shields, to later be shared with healthcare personnel working at area hospitals throughout Charlotte.
Small Business Center, together with community partner, providing timely, online business counseling and training
Many area small businesses are struggling to navigate today’s evolving, economic landscape due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In response, Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center is offering extended hours of its free, online business counseling sessions.
Local business owners are invited to register online to receive free, confidential business advice from the Center’s advisors who can assist with:
- business financing
- loan applications, such as the SBA Disaster Economic Injury Loan
- business plans
- accounting and financial plans
- basic legal matters
- nonprofit organizational needs
- business startup/venture creation
- and more
All of the above counseling sessions will be available via Webex or by phone, so the appropriate social distancing measures will be followed.
Upcoming Series to Aid Small Businesses
The Central Piedmont Small Business Center is hosting an online, webinar series, beginning April 14, that will discuss a variety of helpful business owner topics, including:
- risk management
- crisis management
- business preparedness and continuity of operations
- emotional intelligence for business owners
Small Business Center Partners with Matthews Chamber of Commerce
In the spirit of providing local small businesses with additional resources during this unprecedented time, Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center has partnered with the Matthews Chamber of Commerce to host “Biz Briefing,” a twice-weekly online presentation that showcases regional business experts answering small business owners questions in real time. The free sessions are held each Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m.
Upcoming topics include: (To register or to learn more about the presenters, click the links below or visit the Matthews Chamber of Commerce.)
- March 31, 2 p.m.: Manage Remote Workers Like a Pro
- April 2, 2 p.m.: Work-From-Home Setup, Tips, and Tools
Anonymous donor gives to college’s Emergency Fund, issues matching-gift challenge
Central Piedmont Community College Foundation is proud to announce an anonymous donor has made a generous and timely commitment that will match all gifts made to the college’s Emergency Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $100,000.
Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund provides short-term financial support to students and employees experiencing financial emergencies.
“This amazing gift, and the community’s response to our donor’s matching-gift challenge, will enable us to better respond to the growing financial needs of our students, faculty, and staff during the coronavirus outbreak,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “These needs include access to the technology needed for remote learning and scholarships for tuition and books, as well as resources for food, housing, child care, transportation, and medical care.”
If you’re a member of the community who would like to make a gift to Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund, and participate in the matching gift challenge, visit cpccfoundation.org/donation. Your support for the Central Piedmont family will be of enormous assistance as the college works together to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Piedmont, community partners help package food for residents in need
Central Piedmont Community College’s hospitality education program partnered with Sysco Charlotte LLC and the Piedmont Culinary Guild on March 25 to package and deliver 500 boxes of food to local restaurant employees who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sysco Charlotte LLC donated 250 cases of food to the community outreach project. The cases consisted of frozen chicken, produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products, such as milk and butter.
Representatives from Central Piedmont, Sysco Charlotte LLC, and the Piedmont Culinary Guild were on site at Central Piedmont’s Culinary Arts Center to receive the cases of food, sort and package the individual boxes, and deliver them to 25–30 restaurants located in Mecklenburg County and beyond.
Each box included three to four major food group items, providing local restaurant workers with a nutritious meal for their family during this unprecedented time. Restaurants needing employee assistance signed up to participate in the community outreach project online through the Piedmont Culinary Guild’s website.
Thanks are extended to Central Piedmont's Richard Kugelmann, division director of the college's hospitality education division; Ross Howard, director of business resources and marketing for Sysco Charlotte LLC; and Kris Reid, co-founder of the Piedmont Culinary Guild for spearheading the initiative.