News and Features

What's going on in the Central Piedmont community and what Central Piedmont is doing in the community.

  • Central Piedmont’s Inaugural Year Up Class Graduates

    Central Piedmont Community College announces its inaugural Year Up Charlotte class of 40 students graduated on July 23 during a virtual commencement ceremony, hosted by Year Up Charlotte and its long-term partner, Bank of America.

    The college began partnering with the national nonprofit Year Up in August 2019, when the organization launched its Charlotte location with generous support from Bank of America, the John M. Belk Endowment, and the Duke Endowment. The intensive, yearlong program prepares students (ages 18–26) for entry-level technology and customer-facing roles in fields such as business operations, information technology, and software development and support.

    Trinity Simpson, one of the students graduating from Year Up Charlotte’s first class, delivered the keynote speech at the July 23 commencement ceremony. Simpson feared that if he stayed in his small town in North Carolina, he would “be working a minimum wage job with no opportunity and become another statistic.” He has completed his Year Up internship at Bank of America in cyber security and has accepted an offer as an operations control analyst at the bank.

    The students enrolled in Central Piedmont’s Year Up program at the beginning of the 2019 fall semester. Participants spent their first semester taking technical and professional skills classes taught by Central Piedmont and Year Up staff, and then participated in a full-time, credit-bearing internship at a corporate partner firm during the spring term, learning the real-world skills they would need to excel in the workforce.

    “The Year Up Program provides a challenging and nurturing space for students to get the skills they need to succeed in today’s workforce,” said JJ McEachern, dean of enrollment management at Central Piedmont. “As a result, it’s one of the most successful partnerships in higher education. It not only supports students during their educational journey, but also through the career phases of their life.”

    The program is provided to students at no cost. Throughout the year-long program, students earn college credits and receive access to a robust offering of services and supports from Year Up to promote their success, including an educational stipend. They also have access to Central Piedmont’s many services, including the college’s library and tutoring resources,

    Nationwide, 90% of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing Year Up, with average starting salaries of $42,000/year. Because of the program’s ability to help move the economic mobility needle, it has garnered the support of multiple community partners across the Charlotte region, including the John M. Belk Endowment, the Duke Endowment, Bank of America, and Leading on Opportunity.

  • Drive-Thru Graduation Ceremonies Celebrate Class of 2020

    In celebration of its Class of 2020, Central Piedmont hosted drive-thru graduation ceremonies July 29 and 30 on its Cato Campus, located in northeast Charlotte. More than 440 Central Piedmont 2020 graduates participated in the two-day event, which included ceremonies for the college’s traditional undergraduate programs, as well as its College and Career Readiness programs (high school completion, Accelerated Career Training, and NCWorks Next Gen).

    Central Piedmont’s graduation committee designed the college’s drive-thru graduation ceremonies with the health and well-being of its faculty/staff, students, and their family and friends in mind. As a result, all event volunteers and graduates were asked to wear face coverings, and social distancing and state guidelines were followed during the ceremonies.

    “It was important we recognize our 2020 graduates’ accomplishments, especially during this unprecedented time, when so many of them had to overcome multiple obstacles to achieve their educational goals this year,” said Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, who was on-site both days to personally congratulate graduates. “The Class of 2020 is a resilient group of individuals. I look forward to hearing their many success stories and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

    The college offers nearly 300 programs to get students real-world ready. Affordable and flexible Central Piedmont classes can help students earn the skills to fast track into a career pathway or lay the foundation for a four-year degree. Registration for the fall 2020 term is open. The college looks forward to welcoming new and returning students on Aug. 10.

    View the graduation event photo gallery or watch the ceremony live-streams on Facebook.

  • Two Central Piedmont students to matriculate to Ivy League schools in fall 2020

    Central Piedmont Community College is excited that two of its 2020 graduates — Koichi Takara and Christopher St. Hilaire — will matriculate to Ivy League schools in fall 2020. Both Takara and St. Hilaire overcame a number of obstacles to reach this milestone in their academic journey.

    Koichi Takara

    After living in Japan for the majority of his childhood, Takara moved to California and graduated from one of their highest-rated public high schools. His résumé was padded with an outstanding SAT score, 4.2 GPA, and an abundance of extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as he was rejected from six of his top seven college choices. To make matters worse, he could not afford the one school that accepted him. As a result, he moved to Huntersville, NC, and enrolled at Central Piedmont where he flourished. During his time at Central Piedmont, he served as president of the Student Government Association and was an active member of the college’s Rotaract, Phi Theta Kappa chapter, and the NC Scholars of Global Distinction. After graduating from Central Piedmont on May 14, Takara plans to attend Cornell University as a junior on a full scholarship. He’ll major in industrial labor relations. Says Takara, “coming to Central Piedmont was the best decision of my life.”

    Christopher St. Hilaire

    St. Hilaire felt isolated in high school and dropped out at just 15 years of age. He later completed his studies, earning his GED from Central Piedmont in 2015. He immediately joined the workforce, working as a server at Ballantyne Country Club. A club member recognized St. Hilaire’s potential and urged him to go back to school. Thankfully, St. Hilaire heeded his friend’s advice and enrolled where he was most familiar: Central Piedmont. Back on campus, St. Hilaire decided to be a part of everything the college community had to offer – Student Government Association, Rotaract, Model UN, and Phi Theta Kappa. He excelled at Central Piedmont, and will graduate this week with an associate (transfer) degree. This fall, St. Hilaire will move to New Jersey, where he will study philosophy at Princeton University on a full scholarship as one of only 13 community college students in the country to be admitted to the Ivy League school for the fall term. “Central Piedmont welcomed me back with open arms and getting involved in its many student life and leadership activities made it all worthwhile,” says St. Hilaire.

    For more Central Piedmont student success stories, please visit the college’s Facebook page.

  • Central Piedmont Culinary Arts Alumnus Gene Kato ’99 Nominated for James Beard Award

    Congratulations are extended to Central Piedmont’s culinary arts alumnus Gene Kato ‘99, on being named a 2020 James Beard Award nominee. The awards are distributed by the James Beard Foundation, a nonprofit organization that celebrates, nurtures, and honors chefs and other leaders making America's food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. 

    The James Beard Awards are given in many categories, including chefs and restaurants, books, journalism, and broadcast media, plus restaurant design, leadership, humanitarian work, and lifetime achievement. Kato is one of six chefs nominated in award’s “Best Chefs: Great Lakes” category.

    The category recognizes chefs who set high culinary standards and also demonstrate integrity and admirable leadership skills in their respective regions. Nominees may be from any kind of dining establishment, but must have been working as a chef for at least five years, with the three most recent years spent in the region.

    Kato is the executive chef at Momotaro Restaurant, a Japanese restaurant located in the heart of Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood. Known as an innovator of Japanese cuisine, Kato is devoted to elevating Japanese cuisine while remaining authentic to tradition. His upbringing in a Japanese household in Charlotte, NC, helped him learn how to cook the foods considered so integral to his heritage and culture.

    Should he win the award, Kato will receive a certificate, a silver medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia, and a complimentary professional membership for one year to the James Beard Foundation.

    This year’s winners will be announced on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, from Chicago, broadcast live via the James Beard Foundation’s Twitter feed.

  • Central Piedmont contributes $1.2 billion annually to Mecklenburg economy

    The results of an economic impact study conducted for Central Piedmont found the institution contributes $1.2 billion annually to the Mecklenburg County economy, an amount equal to one percent of the county’s gross regional product.

    Central Piedmont’s measured annual $1.2-billion economic impact includes $155.4 million in operations spending, $36.5 million in construction spending, $42.1 million in student spending, and a $919.5-million impact made by college alumni who live and work in Mecklenburg County.

    “For more than 56 years, Central Piedmont Community College has established a record and reputation for making a positive impact in Mecklenburg County,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “We know generations of students and hundreds of employers have been benefitted from having a comprehensive college and workforce development partner such as Central Piedmont serving Charlotte-Mecklenburg. We also know Central Piedmont makes a significant impact as an economic engine, boosting the county’s economy and generating an excellent return on the investment made by students and taxpayers.”

    The economic modeling firm Emsi conducted the study, looking at college data from the 2017-18 fiscal year. The study found that for every dollar students invest in their Central Piedmont education they receive $3.20 in future earnings for an annual rate of return of 15.5 percent. For every dollar of public money invested in the college, taxpayers receive $1.70 for an average rate of return of 4.5 percent.

    For more details about the economic impact study, review the economic impact fact sheet (PDF).

  • WSOC-TV report: Many students overlook community colleges

    Community colleges are often the way you can have it all when it comes to higher education: You can have “the dream without the bill.”

    That’s how WSOC-TV, the region’s ABC affiliate, described the excellent option of community college for earning a degree without the stress of heavy debt hanging over your head. At Central Piedmont, it's possible to achieve the dream of higher education minus the nightmare of crippling debt that can sometimes follow.

    Getting a high-quality education at an affordable price is a reality for many Central Piedmont students, including the following alumni who were featured in a two-part WSOC-TV news story on the student debt crisis.

    • Watch Part 1: Central Piedmont Alumna Wylena Jones is an adult learner who recently graduated from Central Piedmont with her associate degree in nursing with almost no student debt.
    • Watch Part 2: Central Piedmont Alumni Kayla, Koby, and Keyshawn Brown are triplets who attended Central Piedmont’s middle college high school, allowing them to earn their associate degree from the college at no-cost as high school students.

    Learn about financial aid opportunities at Central Piedmont.

    Learn how you can earn college credit at Central Piedmont as a high school student.

  • 2019 Central Piedmont Nursing Graduates Earn 100% Passing and Employment Rate

    Congratulations are extended to Central Piedmont’s nursing students for earning a 100%-employment rate and passing rate on their respective NCLEX-RN certification exam in 2019.

    National certifications are considered the highest credential in the nation’s healthcare system and are widely recognized by today’s employers. That may be why our nursing graduates continue to be heavily recruited by many of today’s leading healthcare providers, including Atrium and Novant Health (as referenced in the following video).

    Are you ready to #ConquerPossibility at Central Piedmont and join this in-demand career field? Learn more about Central Piedmont’s nursing program.

  • Central Piedmont seeks nominations for 2020 Hagemeyer and Young Alumni Awards

    Do you know a Central Piedmont Community College graduate who is making a tremendous difference in the community? Nominations are currently being sought for the 2020 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and the 2020 Young Alumni Award of Excellence. These awards recognize Central Piedmont graduates who have significantly benefited from their experiences at Central Piedmont and whose efforts have helped the community.

    Nominations are being sought for individuals who have:

    • demonstrated community involvement/professional involvement, social responsibility and impact
    • acquired scholastic and learning skills that have led to continued personal and educational growth
    • improved his or her economic status and social capital as a result of attending Central Piedmont
    • invested in the lives of others and is seen as a role model
    • graduated within the last 10 years (Young Alumni Award of Excellence only)

    Individuals interested in applying should note:

    • attendance at graduation is preferred
    • political candidates may not be selected or honored in a year in which they are actively pursuing election or re-election

    The college will recognize this year’s winners at Central Piedmont’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 14, 2020, and a one-year scholarship will be granted to a Central Piedmont student in an area of study reflective of the winner’s background.

    Nomination forms are available on the Central Piedmont website until the nomination deadline passes.

    Completed nomination forms should be submitted online; or mailed to Christa Newkirk, Office of Alumni Relations, P.O. Box 35009, Charlotte, NC, 28235. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 28, 2020, at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Christa Newkirk at alumni@cpcc.edu or call 704.330.6808.

  • Large gift will help establish Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence

    A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has made a significant gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College to support the creation of a new Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. The center will advance the best practices of impactful teaching at the college to inspire, guide, and support instructors in the key areas of pedagogy, course content and information delivery.

    The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence at Central Piedmont will facilitate the professional development of the college’s full- and part-time faculty, with the goal of enriching students’ learning and overall educational experience, motivating them to persist and complete their programs of study.

    The gift to help create the center comes as part of Central Piedmont’s ongoing “Powering a Stronger Future” campaign. The five-year fundraising effort seeks to raise $40 million – the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the college’s 56-year history. The campaign will run through June 2022, and has raised more than $23.5 million to date.

    The center’s focus areas will include:

    • developing pedagogy that is inclusive, equitable, and centered on student learning and success,
    • using technological tools and resources to enhance classroom teaching,
    • encouraging and supporting instructional innovation,
    • furthering the continued growth and instructional effectiveness of all faculty,
    • fostering and disseminating strategies that improve classroom experiences for students,
    • promoting the ongoing assessment of teaching strategies and student learning, and
    • developing instructional content and methods that promote critical thinking and skills needed for careers and further education.

    Current programming plans for the center include:

    • conducting workshops for instructors,
    • sponsoring guest speakers to share best practices,
    • providing semester-long orientation and training programs for new instructors and skills-refreshment programs for established faculty,
    • establishing mentoring relationships for new instructors with successful classroom instructors,
    • conducting training sessions focused on the needs of part-time instructors, and
    • sharing scholarly research and articles related to best practices in classroom teaching and learning.

    “The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence will be a permanent resource and catalyst for instructional excellence at Central Piedmont,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “The center will be based on Central Campus, but it will serve instructors and offer programming at all of the college’s campuses.  The center will be critical to ensuring outstanding classroom instruction and learning for all of our students.”

    The college will hold a ceremony to dedicate the center during the 2020 spring semester. 

  • Central Piedmont Alumnus Wins Food Network's 'Chopped'

    Congratulations to Central Piedmont alumnus and 2018 Hagemeyer Award winner Chris Coleman for winning Food Network's "Chopped!"

    We are so proud of our alumni and all that they are doing to conquer possibility.

    Read the complete Charlotte Observer article.