WBTV Story: CMS student already living his dream as mechanic
Omar Cruz is not only a student at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, he’s also a student at Central Piedmont.
Thanks to CMS’ apprenticeship program and a partial scholarship from Central Piedmont, Omar currently attends both schools through the college’s Career & College Promise Dual Enrollment program, an initiative that gives qualified high-school-age students the opportunity to get a jumpstart on their career or college education while still in high school — tuition free.
Each morning, from 7 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Omar can be found at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, and in the afternoons, he’s working under the hood of a car at Mecklenburg Automotive and Collision Center, gaining the valuable hands-on experience he’ll need to pursue his dream career as a Advanced Certified Expert (ACE) certified technician.
The amazing part of Omar’s story is he’s only a teenager. At 17, he’s already earned two certifications and a license from Central Piedmont, will graduate in mid-June from Phillip O. Berry with a diploma from CMS, and begin Central Piedmont this fall.
Central Piedmont to open eye clinic June 15
Thanks to a collaboration between Lions Services, the local ophthalmic community, and Central Piedmont Community College, the college will open an eye clinic in its Leon Levine Health Sciences building, located on its Central Campus, on June 15. The clinic will provide quality eye health care to Central Piedmont students and Charlotte community members who are in need.
Lions Services, a not-for-profit organization renowned for offering free vision exams and glasses to those within the community who needed financial assistance, closed its eye clinic on March 1, 2022, after more than 25 years of service.
Recognizing a need for local individuals to continue to have access to affordable eye care and prescription glasses, Central Piedmont’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program will assume the role of Lions Services’ eye clinic within Charlotte-Mecklenburg and open an eye clinic this spring. The clinic will offer a variety of services, including comprehensive eye exams and eye glasses at no cost.
“We’re honored to fill the eye health care void created by the closing of Lions Services’ eye clinic earlier this year,” said Kathleen Rodgers, program chair for Central Piedmont’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program. “It’s proven that access to affordable eye care allows all members of the population – from children to senior citizens – to thrive and enjoy an improved quality of life. As Charlotte’s community college, local residents rely on us to provide them with accessible services. Our new eye clinic will give us the opportunity to continue this tradition.”
Lions Services is donating all of its eye equipment and supplies to Central Piedmont for its use. In addition, ophthalmic community members who donated their time and energy to providing eye care services at Lions Services eye clinic, will begin volunteering at Central Piedmont’s eye clinic when it opens June 15. The college’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel students and faculty will also provide clinical services.
“We are so fortunate that our eye clinic patients will benefit from the vast knowledge and expertise of Charlotte’s experienced eye care professionals who previously served at Lions Services” said Rodgers. “In addition to our patients receiving the quality care they deserve, the clinic will give our Ophthalmic Medical Personnel students a valuable clinical opportunity as well. The initiative is truly a win-win for all involved.”
“We are very appreciative for this commitment by Central Piedmont to ensure continued eye care for Charlotte’s citizens in need. Hundreds of Charlotteans will benefit each month from this service,” said Dr. David Ugland, a retired ophthalmologist and former volunteer at Lions Services’ eye clinic. “As a volunteer ophthalmologist at Lions, I was reminded with each exam of the positive personal and community impact of the clinic. I am grateful that Central Piedmont will continue to provide this valuable service.”
Central Piedmont’s Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 semester. To learn more, please visit cpcc.edu/programs/ophthalmic-medical-personnel or email email@example.com.
To make a donation in support of Central Piedmont's new eye clinic, please contact the Central Piedmont Foundation at 704.330.6869.
Central Piedmont holds 2022 commencement ceremony
Central Piedmont Community College today hosted its 2021-2022 commencement ceremony at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Almost 900 students “marched” and received their college degrees. More than 2,300 students were eligible to graduate this year.
During the morning festivities, Mr. Kevin Tobin, a 2022 graduate, addressed his peers by delivering this year’s commencement address. Ms. Evelyn Hill, also a 2022 graduate, was the commencement speaker at the 2 p.m., ceremony. This is the fifth time Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation. Evelyn and Kevin both graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in human services technology – substance abuse.
Students matriculating from Central Piedmont with a curriculum degree, diploma, or certificate had the option of participating in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. This is the first year Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-credit programs into a single ceremony, giving graduates the choice to “walk” in the graduation ceremony that better fit their families’ schedule.
In addition to hearing Evelyn’s powerful message during the 2 p.m., ceremony, attendees also saw Dr. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, confer an Honorary Associate Degree in Arts to Mr. Wilton L. Parr, a long-time Central Piedmont student, volunteer, and donor.
Central Piedmont will offer two commencement ceremonies this year to honor its graduates. 2022 summer and fall semester graduates will participate in a special commencement service on December 13, 2022, at 10 a.m., at Bojangles Coliseum. The addition of a fall ceremony will allow the college’s summer and fall graduates to be honored in the same timely way as its spring graduates.
Second Cohort of STRIVE Scholars Graduates
Central Piedmont is excited to announce that its second cohort of STRIVE Scholars graduated yesterday during a special commencement ceremony on the college’s Harris Campus.
The STRIVE (Strengthening Teachers. Reaching Individuals. Valuing Everyone.) Scholars program is a joint early childhood education initiative between the college, Mecklenburg County, The Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council that seeks to address a local shortage in the public Pre-K teacher workforce. The program accomplishes this goal by removing the many financial and personal barriers students who are pursuing an associate degree in early childhood education may face by providing them with better access and the support services they need to succeed.
Founded in January 2020, the STRIVE Scholars Program has graduated 38 students to date. Twenty-five scholars graduated from the program during the May 10 ceremony, and more STRIVE scholarships are set to be awarded to eligible students in summer and fall 2022.
The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically-qualified applicants preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County. In addition to receiving financial assistance, scholars also receive access to mental health supports, professional and personal development opportunities, and can apply for need-based support, including assistance with transportation and child care.
“The STRIVE Scholars program supports higher education access by removing barriers that may cause a student to lose focus and not be able to give 100 percent to their studies,” said Toria Grant, STRIVE recruitment project manager and an early childhood education instructor at Central Piedmont. “This program helps us produce graduates who are prepared to serve the county’s ever-growing pre-k population by providing Mecklenburg’s youngsters with a high quality pre-K education that will better prepare them for their primary education and achieving academic success in the future.”
Central Piedmont Community College contributes nearly $1 billion to Mecklenburg economy
The results of an economic impact study conducted for Central Piedmont Community College found the institution contributes $827.7 million annually to the Mecklenburg County economy, an amount equal to 0.7 percent of the county’s gross regional product.
Central Piedmont’s measured annual $827.7 million economic impact includes $139.9 million in operations spending, $35.6 million in construction spending, $30.8 million in student spending, and a $621.4-million impact made by college alumni who live and work in Mecklenburg County.
Expressed in terms of jobs, Central Piedmont’s $827.7 million impact supports 11,274 jobs, or about one out of 85 jobs in Mecklenburg County.
“For almost 60 years, Central Piedmont Community College has established a solid 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 2019-20 fiscal year. The study found that for every dollar students invest in their Central Piedmont education they receive $3.80 in future earnings for an annual rate of return of 17 percent. For every dollar of public money invested in the college, taxpayers receive $1.40 for an average rate of return of 2.5 percent. From a societal perspective, for every dollar invested in Central Piedmont, residents in North Carolina receive $6.40 in return from the contributions made by Central Piedmont graduates in the state’s workforce.
For more details about the economic impact study, please read the full Executive Summary of the Economic Value of Central Piedmont or view the Central Piedmont economic impact fact sheet. Both documents are accessible on the college’s Reports and Publications Web page.
“Central Piedmont creates value and helps power the Charlotte-Mecklenburg economic engine in many ways. The college helps students increase their employability and achieve their individual potential. The college helps keep students in the county, generating new dollars and opportunities for Mecklenburg County. Central Piedmont provides students with the education, training, and skills they need to have fulfilling and prosperous careers that provide real economic mobility,” Deitemeyer said.
“The college supports the vast variety of industries in Mecklenburg County, serves county businesses, and benefits society as a whole in North Carolina from an expanded economy and improved quality of life. Additionally, the benefits created by Central Piedmont extend to the state and local government through increased tax revenues and public sector savings. Now, more than ever, as Mecklenburg County emerges from the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Piedmont is a sound investment and critical community partner,” Deitemeyer added.
Gov. Cooper Visits, Celebrates College’s Success with Awarding Longleaf Commitment Grants
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper met on Central Piedmont’s Central Campus Thursday with college leadership, elected officials, and students to celebrate Central Piedmont’s success with awarding the Longleaf Commitment Grant to in-need students located throughout the region.
The Longleaf Commitment Grant was originally announced by Gov. Cooper in May 2021 and gives North Carolina high school graduates who plan to attend one of the state’s “Great 58” community colleges the opportunity to receive a grant – not a loan – to cover tuition and fees toward a degree or to attain transfer credit.
Gov Cooper chose to kick off his Longleaf Commitment Grant tour in Charlotte because Central Piedmont has the second highest number of Longleaf Grant recipients among N.C. community colleges. To date, 1,296 Central Piedmont students have received $716,089 in Longleaf Commitment Grant funds.
“We want to make education affordable. We want students to put money in their pockets,” said Gov. Cooper. “The Longleaf Commitment Grants help boost student performance because they allow students to concentrate on their school work. That’s why it’s so important that this grant keeps going and remains available in the future.”
During the press event, Gov. Cooper participated in a roundtable discussion with N.C. Community College System President Thomas Stith III, Central Piedmont President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Chris Cathcart, N.C. State Senator Joyce Waddell, N.C. House Representative Carolyn Logan, and Longleaf Commitment Grant recipients (and Central Piedmont students) Noemi Henriquez, Katherine Perez Puquir, and Leila Turner.
The group discussed how the grants are helping students pursue their education, the steps Central Piedmont has taken to successfully share publicly that Longleaf Grant funds are available, and more.
“The Longleaf Commitment Grant funds helped ease the financial burden on my mom who was paying for three college-aged children,” explained Turner. “The grant is not only enabling me to hold on to my precious college savings so I can one day use them toward my four-year degree, but it’s also helping me concentrate on my studies and not have to take on a full-time job to pay for my tuition and fees.”
Learn more about the North Carolina Longleaf Commitment Grant, including its requirements, and get connected to helpful resources. Contact Financial Aid for additional information.
Congratulations Fall 2021 ACA Scholarship Winners
Congratulations to our fall 2021 ACA Scholarship winners!
Each fall and spring semester, the college's Academic Related Courses (ACA) area selects seven recipients for the ACA Scholarship for awards of $600 each. To apply, students had to write an essay answering the question “Being resilient (the ability to recover quickly from difficult conditions) is a life skill that we often do not recognize. How have you been resilient in your journey as a community college student, and what does this journey look like?" Applicants are reviewed based on meeting the scholarship eligibility requirements and on their essay's quality of writing.
Learn more about the ACA Scholarship.
Students Earn Their Nursing Pin
Despite a pandemic, this year’s class of nursing students persevered, earning their nursing pin during a special ceremony on Dec. 9, and a 94-percent job placement rate.
The pinning ceremony is a time-honored tradition in the nursing community, symbolizing the nursing student’s hard work and commitment to serving others as a healthcare professional.
This year marks the 54th anniversary of the pinning ceremony at Central Piedmont, an institution that is home to the oldest nursing program of its kind in the state of North Carolina and renowned for producing quality healthcare practitioners who are prepared to meet the healthcare needs of residents located in Mecklenburg County and beyond.
To learn more about nursing at Central Piedmont, visit cpcc.edu/programs/nursing.
Kudos to the College's Cyber Security Team
Congratulations to Central Piedmont's Cyber Security Team and program area on its student's performance at the individual and team level during the National Cyber League Competition, which took place Oct. 8 - Nov. 7, 2021. The team placed 137 out of 927 teams that competed nationwide, beating several four-year universities. In the individual competition, Central Piedmont student Daniel Freeman placed 209th out of 3,667 competitors. This put him in the top 6% nationwide. The other team members placed 1,225, 1,826 and 1,870 respectively.
Events like the National Cyber League Competition expose students to industry partners who may provide them with internships and full-time jobs - jobs are one of the best completion statuses our students can have.
2020-2021 Annual Report Now Available Online
The Central Piedmont Annual Report is ready to view online at cpccfoundation.org/annualreport.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020-2021, the college continued to serve as the community’s college, providing the support services, courses, and career training its students needed to stay on track, within an environment that fostered a culture of care.
We are grateful for the continued support of our donors, industry partners, and friends who believe in our vision of providing learning experiences that transform lives and strengthen the local community.
Please enjoy this interactive reading experience, while learning more about our 2020-2021 accomplishments and celebrating our many successes with us through videos, photos, and more.