News and Features

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

  • Alumnus competing in Tokyo Olympics

    Central Piedmont alumnus Zach Lokken ’21 will represent Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, July 23 – August 8. The Associate in Arts graduate will compete in the MC-1 Canoe Slalom event during his first Olympics appearance.

    Born in Durango, Colo., Zach has won several awards in the sport of American Canoe, including third place in C1 and C2 during the 2015 U.S. National Team Trials.

    When he’s not hitting the rapids, he enjoys skiing and longboarding.

    Learn more about Zach.

    WCNC-TV News Story: View the complete list of local athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympic games.

    Photo credit: AP

  • 2021 Hagemeyer Educational Advancement and Young Alumni Award of Excellence recipients named

    Central Piedmont Community College has named Lynne Tatum Little, RDH, owner of LTL Consulting, the 2021 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award recipient, and James “Dan” Bailey, president and CEO of Steele’s Mechanical, the 2021 Young Alumni Award of Excellence recipient. The awards recognize former Central Piedmont students who have benefited significantly from experiences at Central Piedmont and whose efforts have helped the community. 

    Lynne Tatum Little, RDH ‘88 (Associate in Applied Science, Dental Hygiene)
    A successful consultant and business owner, Lynne Tatum Little attributes her leadership abilities to her experience at Central Piedmont and the discipline required in her coursework. Lynne owns LTL Consulting and has been active within the dental hygiene profession, serving as commissioner of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, board member of the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, and past president of the North Carolina Dental Hygienists’ Association. Additionally, she has served on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation Board since 2016, committing herself to the mission and success of the college as a dedicated volunteer and donor.

    James “Dan” Bailey ‘12 (Associate in Arts)
    As a U.S. Army military veteran who served as a construction engineer and paratrooper, Dan Bailey has acquired skills that would last him a lifetime. He considers Central Piedmont his home and the place where he gained invaluable leadership skills not to only lead, but also to follow. Today, Dan serves as president and CEO of Steele’s Mechanical, where he has grown the 49-year old HVAC company from a local business to one of the fastest-growing mechanical contractors in the region. He’s accomplished this all while continuing to serve the community as a tutor, coach, and supporter of organizations throughout the Carolinas.

    The Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award is named after the college’s first president who served in the position for 23 years. The Young Alumni Award of Excellence was introduced in 2019 to recognize graduates who have completed in the last 10 years and who have made significant contributions to the community in their short time away from Central Piedmont. To learn more about the awards and past recipients, visit cpccfoundation.org/awards.

  • Wells Fargo announces significant grants focused on advancing economic mobility and racial equity in Charlotte

    Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) will deliver more than $3.2 million in grants to address a range of critical community needs across Charlotte, including advancing economic mobility, improving racial equity, supporting minority-owned small businesses and advancing entrepreneurship for the next generation of business leaders.

    Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf announced the grants earlier today at a special event held in Biddle Hall and Auditorium, on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Johnson C. Smith University and United Way of Central Carolinas will each receive grants for $1 million, while Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Resource Center will receive an Open For Business grant from Wells Fargo for $625,000. Other organizations receiving grants include Aspire Community Capital, Charlotte is Creative, City Start-Up Labs, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Prospera, and the Women’s Business Center.

    “While we are seeing signs of economic improvement, we also realize that not all of our communities are benefiting equally in this recovery,” said Scharf. “That is why Wells Fargo is being intentional about supporting a more inclusive economic recovery, with a focus on racial and social equity, economic mobility and investments in low and moderate income communities. We are pleased to announce these grants for the Charlotte area and will continue to focus on ways we can support positive change.”

    The announcements coincide with and help celebrate the return of the Wells Fargo Championship to Charlotte. The PGA TOUR event, which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, has raised more than $24 million for charitable organizations since 2003. The Wells Fargo Championship provides significant economic impact to the Charlotte-area economy – estimated at more than $50 million annually.

    Wells Fargo recently announced equity investments in 11 African American Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) as part of its March 10, 2020, pledge to invest up to $50 million in Black-owned banks. The investments are part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to supporting economic growth in African American communities where MDIs, often community based banks, provide mortgage credit, small business lending, and other banking services. Self Help Credit Union and M&F Bank, two of the MDIs that are receiving funding from Wells Fargo, have branches on Beatties Ford Road.

    Making an impact in Charlotte and North Carolina
    Wells Fargo has been a longstanding community supporter in Charlotte and across North Carolina. Over the last 10 years, Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation have provided nonprofit organizations in North Carolina with more than $190 million in grants. The $3.2 million in grants announced today will support key organizations in their efforts to address critical community needs across Charlotte, including:

    • Johnson C. Smith University: Funding will focus on minority student scholarships, experiential learning supporting entrepreneurship and small business ownership, student financial health education and credit score development.
    • United Way of Central Carolinas: The grant from the Wells Fargo Community Impact Fund will support economic mobility for low income neighborhoods and advancing racial equity via Unite Charlotte.
    • Central Piedmont Community College – Small Business Resource Center: The grant from Wells Fargo’s Open For Business (OFB) fund will be focused on supporting underrepresented small business owners in the Charlotte region. OFB is a roughly $420-million small business recovery effort Wells Fargo created by donating all of the gross processing fees received from participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in 2020. The OFB Fund provides grants to nonprofits serving small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly racially and ethnically diverse and women-owned small businesses.
    • Aspire Community Capital: The grant will support entrepreneurs from low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities in Charlotte.
    • Charlotte is Creative: The grant will impact creatives as entrepreneurs by supporting them with funding, mentorship, business skills training and social capital connections.
    • City Start-Up Labs: The grant will focus on helping bridge the entrepreneurial divide where under-represented populations of African American millennials and returning citizens (previously incarcerated) are not adequately and proportionally able to participate in startup activity and business building.
    • Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte: The grant will help fund a business and entrepreneurship hub supporting Hispanic/Latino entrepreneurs and business owners in Charlotte.
    • Prospera: The funds will provide bilingual (English/Spanish) assistance to Hispanic small business owners and entrepreneurs in Charlotte.
    • Women’s Business Center: The funds will help women-owned businesses in Charlotte start and grow.

    About Wells Fargo
    Wells Fargo & Company is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of all middle market companies and small businesses in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth and Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health and a low-carbon economy. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

    Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter: @WellsFargo.

  • 2021 Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and Young Alumni Award of Excellence Nominations Being Accepted

    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 2021 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and the 2021 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 present the award to this year’s winners virtually or at Central Piedmont’s commencement ceremony, depending on the status of the global pandemic. In addition, 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.

    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. 12, 2021, at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Christa Newkirk at alumni@cpcc.edu or call 704.330.6808.

  • 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.