News and Features

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

  • Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Automotive Group make gift of land to Central Piedmont for new training center

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Hendrick Automotive Group and local business leader Rick Hendrick have given Central Piedmont Community College approximately 23 acres of land adjacent to the college’s Levine Campus in Matthews. Central Piedmont will use the donated property to build a new first responder training facility. 

    The gift is the latest milestone in a long-time relationship between Central Piedmont, the Hendrick family, and Charlotte-based Hendrick Automotive Group. The college opened the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology in 2006 at the Levine Campus. Each year, the center, named for Joseph R. Hendrick Jr., father of Rick Hendrick, serves more than 3,000 students who aspire to be automotive technicians as well as employed technicians who seek updated skills. A gift from the Hendrick family allowed the college to construct the center. 

    “Institutions of higher education can flourish and make an enhanced impact only when they have corporate and community partners who are willing to collaborate and dream with them. Central Piedmont has such a partner in Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Automotive Group,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “This generous gift will allow the college to realize its vision of building a first responder training facility in southeast Mecklenburg County, where none currently exists. The college appreciates its long-running partnership with the Hendrick family and Hendrick Automotive Group.” 

    Plans for the first responder training center include law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMS, forensics, detention, and telecommunicator facilities. Outdoor training spaces will include a scenario training village and emergency driving range. Indoor facilities will provide a firing range and a fire and rescue area with specialized equipment for comprehensive training. The center will be constructed in phases, with the first phase opening in 2027, and phase two opening in 2028. 

    “Central Piedmont is a cornerstone of the Charlotte community and our broader region,” said Hendrick, the chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group. “Over many years, we’ve been humbled by our relationship with the school, and we’re delighted to support the continued growth of its exceptional Levine Campus. When we broke ground on the Joe Hendrick Center back in 2005, I could not have predicted how substantial its impact would be. With the knowledge that Central Piedmont will use this land to develop a world-class training facility for our first responders, today’s announcement is especially meaningful. My family and our teammates at Hendrick Automotive Group are truly honored to be involved.” 

    In addition to its law enforcement, fire and rescue, EMS and forensics programs, Central Piedmont offers an associate degree program in Public Safety Administration. The two-year program provides students multiple tracks to tailor their experience toward their desired career or current field of expertise.   

    The college has designed the Public Safety Administration curriculum to provide students, as well as practitioners, with knowledge and skills in the technical, managerial and administrative areas necessary for entrance or advancement within various public safety and government organizations. Students completing the program can pursue careers within fire and police departments, emergency management organizations, governmental agencies, industrial firms, correctional facilities, private industries, insurance organizations, educational organizations, security and protective organizations, and through self-employment opportunities. 

    See the Central Piedmont website for more information about the college’s first responder and public safety administration programs. 

    *Editor’s Note: To support our branding initiatives, please refer to the college as:
    First reference: Central Piedmont Community College  
    Second reference: Central Piedmont  
    The college no longer uses the “CPCC” acronym.  

    About Central Piedmont  

    Central Piedmont Community College is highly accessible and convenient to people of all ages who seek a real-world, affordable, hands-on education that will transform their lives and strengthen the economic, social, and cultural environment of Mecklenburg County. Central Piedmont is also a smart investment. At a fraction of the cost, students learn by doing, receiving a combination of technical and soft skills training from quality faculty who prepare them to enter the workforce and make a difference in their family, business, community, and world. Founded in 1963, Central Piedmont Community College has eight locations throughout Mecklenburg County, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma, and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special interest classes. For more information, visit cpcc.edu, or connect with the college on social media at https://www.cpcc.edu/social.  

    About Hendrick Automotive Group 

    Representing 131 franchises and 25 manufacturer nameplates from the Carolinas to California, Hendrick Automotive Group is the largest privately held automotive retail organization in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, the company employs more than 10,000 people in its 94 dealership locations, 21 collision centers and four accessories distributor installers in 13 states. For more information, please visit www.HendrickCars.com.

  • Central Piedmont’s Truist Honors Scholars Prepared for Beyond What’s Next

    Central Piedmont Community College’s Truist Honors Program understands the importance of preparing scholars for the next step in their life journey.

    Central Piedmont’s first research subcommittee of Truist Honors Scholars developed dissertation-like proposals and research-based academic presentations to present at academic conferences followed by an Honors Program Expo, where scholars presented to a group of students, faculty, staff, and college leaders.

    The goal of the research subcommittee is to educate and expose undergraduate honors scholars to experiences and opportunities related to their interests and long-term goals whether they plan to earn a degree, transfer, or enter the workplace. The program defines success as preparing scholars for beyond what’s next.

    Scholars worked for months to understand the terms associated with research, how to conduct a literature review, the use of theories to support their research, the population of interest, and the justification of choices made to support their proposal method and design. Universities and employers value individuals who know the usefulness of research in addition to knowing how to utilize data to tell a story, make decisions, and develop plans.

    Ultimately, they desire critical thinking, communication, collaboration, information and technology literacy, individuals who are comfortable with research and data, and understand the practical application without the fear that many students have when they hear the word research.

    Truist Honors Scholars can participate in designated honors courses, honors curated events, and/or immersion experiences aligned with research, scholarship, and innovation. All of these align with the foundations of Central Piedmont’s Honors Program from the hands-on experience of developing a research proposal, identifying existing literature and credible resources, applying research to the local and global community, and using their leadership skills to create clearly defined goals during the research process.

    Throughout their experiences, scholars are required to reflect and describe their academic, professional, and personal growth as well as the impact of these experiences on their future. Truist Honors Scholars described these experiences as life-changing for a variety of reasons, but the number one reason is that they now know they can do it.

    Deninne Pritchett, honors program faculty director, shares that “even as a seasoned professional and terminal degree holder,” she learns more about research every day, as well as ways to improve how to investigate, display, and manage data. She adds, “If there had been a focus on research, data, and reporting during my community college years, I would have understood more about developing original research than I did at the beginning of my PhD journey.”

    This highlights the importance of Central Piedmont’s Truist Honors Scholars’ taste of doctoral life while attending community college which opens a whole new world of possibilities.

    Central Piedmont hopes to fuel students’ interest and passion for research by launching the Piedmont Interdisciplinary Studies Journal (PISJ), a peer-reviewed academic journal for undergraduate and graduate researchers to publish starting in Fall 2024. The honors program-supported journal will accept scholarly work from various academic fields: empirical research, literature reviews, theoretical analysis, book reviews, and literature-supported student topic papers.

    Contact Dr. Deninne Pritchett for details about the Truist Honors Program and the Piedmont Interdisciplinary Studies Journal.

  • Central Piedmont receives $1 million gift from Coca-Cola Consolidated for scholarships, program support

    CHARLOTTE, NC – Central Piedmont Community College has received a $1 million gift from Coca-Cola Consolidated to support U.S. military veterans and first responder scholarships, provide program support, and assist with other critical needs at the college.

    Central Piedmont provides its military veteran students a range of services in a purposeful and caring way aimed at helping them transition from military service to civilian success in the classroom and the community while accessing all available veterans benefits. The college’s first responder or public safety programs include Basic Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medicine, Fire Protection, and Public Safety Administration.

    Headquartered in Charlotte, Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States, serving consumers, customers and communities for more than 122 years. The company makes, sells and distributes beverages of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies in more than 300 brands and flavors across 14 states and the District of Columbia to approximately 60 million consumers. Coca-Cola Consolidated was named the “World’s Most Admired Company” by Fortune and “America’s Most Successful Midsize Company” by Forbes in 2024.

    “We are honored to partner with Central Piedmont to support U.S. military veterans and first responders in this way,” said Morgan Everett, Vice Chair, Coca-Cola Consolidated. “Our purpose to serve others includes extending a pathway to opportunity, and we hope this gift will provide critical job-readiness skills to our community members as they enter the workforce.”

    Recognizing the growing need for public safety professionals in Mecklenburg County, Central Piedmont launched a new associate degree program in Public Safety Administration in August 2023. The two-year program offers students multiple tracks to tailor their experience toward their desired career or current field of expertise. The program tracks include security and loss prevention, emergency and fire management, law enforcement, and corrections.

    “Central Piedmont thanks Coca-Cola Consolidated for its generous gift in support of our military veteran and first responder students,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “This gift will ease the financial burdens of deserving students who have chosen to serve their country and protect our community. Coca-Cola Consolidated’s support will have a significant and positive impact for generations to come.”

    The Coca-Cola Consolidated gift is the latest initiative in a multi-year partnership between the company and the college. Coca-Cola Consolidated and Central Piedmont also have collaborated to develop a unique workplace learning program. The Coca-Cola Consolidated Apprenticeship Program is a hands-on learning opportunity that provides paid apprenticeships to stimulate interest in high-demand positions in the manufacturing, equipment repair, and logistics sectors at Coke Consolidated's facilities in the Charlotte area. Through the program, apprentices work approximately 20 hours weekly while completing three to four college courses each semester. Apprentices transition to full-time positions upon successful completion of the program.

    About Central Piedmont

    Central Piedmont Community College is highly accessible and convenient to people of all ages who seek a real-world, affordable, hands-on education that will transform their lives and strengthen the economic, social, and cultural environment of Mecklenburg County. Central Piedmont is a smart investment. At a fraction of the cost, students learn by doing, receiving a combination of technical and soft skills training from quality faculty who prepare them to enter the workforce and make a difference in their family, business, community, and world. Founded in 1963, Central Piedmont Community College has eight locations throughout Mecklenburg County, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma, and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special interest classes. For more information, visit cpcc.edu, or connect with the college on social media.

    About Coca-Cola Consolidated, Inc.

    Coca-Cola Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Our Purpose is to honor God in all we do, to serve others, to pursue excellence and to grow profitably. For over 122 years, we have been deeply committed to the consumers, customers and communities we serve and are passionate about the broad portfolio of beverages and services we offer. We make, sell and distribute beverages of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies in more than 300 brands and flavors across 14 states and the District of Columbia, to approximately 60 million consumers.

    Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Coca-Cola Consolidated is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “COKE.” More information about the Company is available online. Follow Coca-Cola Consolidated on Facebook, X, Instagram and LinkedIn. 

  • Recent Central Piedmont graduate wins Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

    The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced the selection of 60 community college students from across the United States as recipients of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. This highly competitive award allows students to complete their undergraduate degrees at four-year institutions with minimal financial burden. 

    Monisha “Mo” Pirela, who graduated from Central Piedmont Community College on May 9, is one of the scholarship recipients. Pirela earned an associate in applied science degree in Architectural Technology at Central Piedmont. A Truist Honors Scholar and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Pirela will attend UNC Charlotte with the start of it fall 2024 semester. Pirela is the only 2024 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship recipient from North Carolina.

    According to Community College Research Center data, transfer pathways from community colleges are a significant contributor to enrollment and diversity at four-year institutions. However, a lack of scholarship opportunities for transfer students, as well as other obstacles like losing credits during the transfer process, continue to keep bachelor’s degree completion rates low.

    One objective of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is to give scholars the opportunity to graduate with as little debt as possible. The award, which is last-dollar funding after all other institutional aid, can provide as much as $55,000 a year. In addition to the financial support, Cooke Transfer Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising – guidance that is crucial for navigating their transition to four-year colleges and planning their career paths. Cooke Scholars also benefit from access to internship opportunities, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as a dynamic network of over 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni. 

    This year’s application saw nearly 1,700 applications from more than 380 community colleges. Applicants were evaluated on their academic prowess, financial need, and leadership qualities.

    Central Piedmont offers its students a number of direct-transfer pathway options, which are guaranteed admission programs through which students who earn an associate degree can transfer directly to a four-year college or university. Several of the pathway programs include scholarships and other financial assistance. See the Central Piedmont website for more details.

    The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded almost $282 million in scholarships to more than 3,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $133 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

  • Central Piedmont holds spring 2024 commencement ceremony

    Central Piedmont Community College held its 2024 spring commencement ceremonies on Thursday, May 9, at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. More than 1,025 students “marched” and received their college credentials during the morning and afternoon ceremonies. 

    Central Piedmont’s tradition is to have graduating students serve as commencement keynote speakers. During the morning festivities, Ndianor Gbandala, a 2024 graduate, addressed her peers by delivering the commencement address. Brianna Duncan, also a 2024 graduate, spoke at the afternoon ceremony. Gbandala graduated with an associate degree in Medical Laboratory Technology. Duncan has earned an associate degree in Nursing. 

    Both Gbandala and Duncan shared how they overcame struggles and challenges to complete their program of studies and received warm rounds of applause from their fellow graduates and audience members.

    Students graduating from Central Piedmont with a degree, diploma, or certificate could participate in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-degree program conferrals into both ceremonies, allowing graduates to “walk” at the time that best fits their families’ schedules.

  • Plant Sale Puts Spotlight on Horticulture Technology Program

    Featuring an array of vegetables, flowers, trees, and ferns, Central Piedmont’s Horticulture Technology students held their semi-annual plant sale on Cato Campus April 19-20. 

    The plant sales draw not just employees and students from the Central Piedmont community, but plenty from the public as well. 

    Jacquelyn Sumrell, a first-year student who is making a career change and eventually would like to be a horticulture instructor, said the plant sale provided an opportunity to put her skills learned in the program to practical use. 

    “We do everything in this process, from cleaning up the plants, preparing them for sale, tagging them correctly, and helping spread the word by marketing the sale,” explained Jacquelyn Sumrell, a first-year student. “It’s helped me gain a better understanding of the process of growing a plant from start to finish. I also have a better appreciation of what the customers are looking for and how to help them.” 

    The knowledge of the students was evident in their work with the customers. One prospective buyer asked a student for the best way to deter deer, rabbits, and squirrels from his garden, and was directed to the peppers to keep the wildlife at bay. 

    Kelly Black, who is in her ninth year as an instructor in the program, praised the way the students have worked this year to ensure the success of the spring sale. 

    “They take a lot of pride in the program,” Black said. “To take something they grow, then sell it to a customer, is special for them. They love the hands-on work that is involved in it.” 

    Given the length of time it takes for some of the plants to propagate, students in this cohort are also finishing what previous classes started last year. That cycle will continue and is a point of pride for students in the program, some of whom return to the plant sale to see their work. 

    As part of their coursework, the students are required to take a business class to help prepare them for that part of the work, and Black said they research the costs and set their own prices for selling the various plants.  

    “We want them to have the experience of running their own business,” she said.

  • Central Piedmont to offer degree program in artificial intelligence

    Central Piedmont Community College will open a new associate-degree program in artificial intelligence (AI) in August, starting the fall semester of 2024. It is only the second North Carolina community college to offer such a program.

    Central Piedmont’s artificial intelligence program will equip students with the foundational knowledge and practical skills necessary to excel in the rapidly growing field of AI. The curriculum will cover machine learning, chatbots and generative AI, chatbot programming, artificial intelligence programming, system analysis and design, and AI applications in various industries. Given the ever-changing technology landscape of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, the degree will provide a platform for students to embark on fulfilling careers in AI.

    Central Piedmont will welcome as many as 50 students to the program this fall. The two-year program will be able to accommodate additional classes of up to 50 students starting each term. Students who complete the program will be qualified for entry-level positions in AI, including AI engineer, AI project manager, AI researcher, AI architect, and machine learning specialist in numerous industries, such as banking and finance, engineering, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and many others.

    For more information about Central Piedmont’s new AI degree program, email Joe Little, associate dean of technology, or call 704-330-6513

  • NursingProcess.org Ranks Central Piedmont’s ADN Program Best in North Carolina

    The online resource NursingProcess.org has ranked Central Piedmont’s Associate Degree in Nursing program as the top ADN program in North Carolina.

    According to its website, NursingProcess.org is a comprehensive resource to navigate information about nursing education and careers. Nursingprocess.org is staffed by an independent group of educators and nursing professionals committed to providing expert-driven information. The site has no affiliations with any college, university, or organization.

    The ranking methodology includes enrollment rates, graduation rates, student-to-faculty ratio, first-time pass rates on the NCLEX-RN certification exam, and affordability.

    Earlier this year, Central Piedmont announced it would expand its nursing programs to accommodate more students and help meet the need for more registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region.

    Central Piedmont will expand its ADN Program from 200 to 300 students beginning May 2024. In turn, Central Piedmont will more than double the size of its Practical Nursing Program from 24 to 64 students.

    By expanding its nursing programs, Central Piedmont will offer two new options for students – an accelerated ADN track and an LPN-to-associate-degree in nursing bridge program.

    The accelerated associate degree in nursing program will give motivated students who can attend school full-time (up to 37 hours per week) the opportunity to complete their studies in 14-15 months. In addition to the rigorous class schedule, students will need to study outside of class 10-15 hours per week. The program will open with its first class in May 2024.

    The LPN-to-ADN bridge option is designed to give licensed practical nurses a path to earn their associate degree in nursing and become registered nurses. The program will span three semesters and take one year to complete. The program, which will include on-campus and online classes, will open May 2025.

    Central Piedmont’s ADN program is the oldest community college program in North Carolina.

    For more information, see the Central Piedmont website, or call 704-330-2722, ext. 3479.

  • Central Piedmont Students Launch Meal Service Business

    With menus inspired by their heritage, Central Piedmont’s Baking and Pastry Arts students have enjoyed a successful launch to Tasty Traditions Bakehouse & Takeout, a capstone project that doubles as a business venture for the students. 

    Entering its second week, the students on Harris Campus sold out all their meals during their opening week of business and expect similar results moving forward. 

    Offerings have ranged from Moroccan Chicken Salad to Pollo Guisdao to Pork Musubi and have represented a departure from typical selections one might expect from students in the program. 

    “We wanted to do something ambitious for this class,” student Natalie Fischer said. “We knew we could just do a standard bakery pre-order, but we wanted to offer meals. It would challenge us more as students, but also be a benefit to staff and students here who usually have to Doordash their lunch.” 

    There are nine students in the capstone class, and they rotate responsibilities during the course to further help prepare them for all the ins-and-outs of the food industry. 

    “I’m in the front of the house now, making sure orders are packed and fulfilled,” student Ashlen Ramos explained. “We have a marketing team that oversees social media, distributing flyers, and using word of mouth to promote the business. Then you have the back of the house, which is really the backbone of this, to make sure orders are prepared and ready every day.” 

    Instructor Jennifer Cubillos said the knowledge gained during previous classes, including a course on cost control and one in marketing, helps prepare the students to take the reins and run the business.  

    “A lot of our students want to be entrepreneurs and own their own business, and this is a testing ground for that,” Cubillos said. “We want our students to understand the practice of creativity and the practice of leadership. The students are managing themselves with real money and real product. They must collaborate with each other – kitchens are team sports.” 

    The success of Tasty Traditions and the overall program has gained some attention off-campus as well. People not affiliated with the college have purchased meals, and Queens University recently placed an order for sugar cookies. 

    There are two weeks left to order meals through Tasty Traditions, and they also offer graduation cake sales as well. You can also follow Tasty Traditions on Facebook and Instagram

  • Central Piedmont and Lees-McRae College establish ‘Guaranteed Admission Program’

    Agreement will help Central Piedmont students take direct transfer path to Lees-McRae

    Leaders of Central Piedmont Community College and Lees-McRae College signed an agreement today to establish a Guaranteed Admission Program, providing Central Piedmont students a new transfer pathway to a bachelor’s degree.

    The Lees-McRae Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP) will automatically admit Central Piedmont students who have earned an Associate of Arts, Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science or Associate in Fine Arts degree and meet specific grade-point-average requirements. Students in the program also will be eligible to receive merit scholarships up to 50 percent of Lees-McRae’s annual tuition.

    Dr. Lee King, Lees-McRae College president; Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont; and other leaders from both institutions signed the agreement during a morning ceremony at Central Piedmont’s Central Campus, in Charlotte. The Lees-McRae Guaranteed Admission Program with Central Piedmont will open to students in August with the start of the fall 2024 semester.

    “This agreement provides an incredible opportunity for more students to receive a Lees-McRae education,” King said. “We’re grateful for this partnership with Central Piedmont and for the great work they do as educators.”

    Leaders from both institutions agree that transfer pathway agreements like the Guaranteed Admission Program are important in North Carolina’s efforts to increase the number of residents with a high-quality credential or post-secondary degree. The myFutureNC initiative has set a goal of two-million more North Carolinians with a credential or degree by 2030 to support the state’s economy.

    “The Lees-McRae Guaranteed Admission Program is a wonderful opportunity for Central Piedmont students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree and beyond,” Deitemeyer said. “The Lees-McRae campus in Banner Elk and the college’s superb faculty and staff offer a unique environment for Central Piedmont graduates to grow and flourish. I am eager to see and hear about the great experiences and success our students will have at Lees-McRae.”