News and Features

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

  • 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

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

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

    According to its website, is a comprehensive resource to navigate information about nursing education and careers. 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.”

  • ‘UnSpun’ to premier on WTVI PBS Charlotte April 12

    Former Charlotte Mayor and NC Governor Pat McCroy hosts Friday evening political show.

    The new “UnSpun” political show will debut Friday, April 12, at 8 p.m., on WTVI PBS Charlotte. Former Charlotte Mayor and NC Governor Pat McCroy will host the show and seek to expose the spin of partisan politics through interviews, analysis, humor and viewer feedback.

    McCroy brings PBS Charlotte a wealth of state and local political knowledge in the areas of transportation, public safety, health and human services and economic development. As a former member of the U-S Homeland Security Council after 9-11, a former US Senate candidate and former National co-chair of No Labels, McCroy also offers an understanding of national policy issues, campaigns and politics.

    McCroy has been a sought-after political analyst on each of the major national political shows including working for NBC as a recurring guest on “Meet the Press.” In Charlotte, he has hosted a top-rated morning radio show for three years.

    WTVI PBS Charlotte has served citizens in the Carolinas for more than 50 years. PBS Charlotte, licensed by Central Piedmont Community College, offers high quality, noncommercial, educational programs. PBS broadcasts include award-winning children’s programming, ground-breaking documentaries and original performances.

    The station reaches more 1.1 million households across 13 counties in the Charlotte-metro area. PBS Charlotte actively supports local education, highlights local cultural events and promotes citizenship across all electronic media platforms to serve the public interest and further the mission of its parent institution.


  • Central Piedmont Launches New Outreach Efforts to Attract and Support More Adult Learners with ‘Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Future.’ Campaign

    Central Piedmont Community College is rolling out a new initiative to bring more adults who may have not completed a degree or job training program back to the classroom through a new Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Future. campaign

    Over the next few months, Central Piedmont will proactively share job training programs and college information with adults across Mecklenburg County to prepare them for the growing number of job openings. Interested adults are encouraged to visit Central Piedmont’s Better Skills Better Jobs website to learn more and to sign up to connect directly with the college. 

    From public safety to nursing and health care, to business administration and welding, to information technology and advanced manufacturing, and many more, completing courses at Central Piedmont offers a direct pipeline to many of the region’s top employers.

    “We are working hard every day to ensure Central Piedmont meets the needs of our community,” said Dr. Kandi W. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont Community College. “This new 'Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Future.' campaign will help us advance our mission by reaching out to adult learners. We want more adults to acquire the skills, credentials, and degrees they need for a better job, a bigger paycheck, and a brighter future for themselves and their families.”

    Despite North Carolina’s booming economy, less than half of North Carolinians between the ages of 25-44 have the education and training needed to fill current and future job openings. Meanwhile, employers across Mecklenburg County are desperately seeking skilled talent to fill vacancies. 

    The Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Future. campaign includes direct outreach to adults who previously earned some college credits, but left without a degree or certification; special community events and earned media promotions; paid digital marketing and advertising, and customized materials designed to quickly help more adult learners reconnect and re-enroll.  

    The vast majority of higher-wage jobs today require more than a high school diploma, which is why Central Piedmont, the John M. Belk Endowment, myFutureNC, and several other state and local partners are working together to support this special outreach campaign to attract more adult learners back to college.

    “Many in our state are looking for new challenges or a fresh start, and our community colleges are a great place to begin their journey,” said M.C. Belk Pilon, President and Board Chair of the John M. Belk Endowment. “Our goal is for all North Carolinians to have access to an education that will lead to skills, credentials, and degrees, and ultimately the opportunities to achieve their dreams and to help meet the workforce needs across our state.”

    Visit the Better Skills. Better Jobs. Better Future. website for more information.

  • Central Piedmont, UNC Charlotte renew transfer partnership

    Central Piedmont Community College and UNC Charlotte – the Charlotte region's two largest higher-ed institutions – are strengthening their five-year commitment to growing the workforce in Charlotte-Mecklenburg through an updated partnership agreement. 

    The agreement, recently signed by the leaders of the two institutions, builds on 49erNext, UNC Charlotte’s successful co-admission program first launched in 2019, and formally recognizes an added pathway for Central Piedmont students to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the high-demand area of data science. 

    “Central Piedmont Community College is UNC Charlotte’s largest transfer partner by far,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This renewed agreement affirms our longstanding commitment to provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education to students here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.” 

    “The 49erNext program has been a great success because it offers students a direct pathway to a four-year degree as well as an avenue to greater economic mobility,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “The program is a tremendous benefit to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community as we seek to produce more individuals with bachelor’s degrees to meet our growing workforce demands. 49erNext also is a wonderful example of the region’s two largest institutions of higher education working together to serve students and be economic development accelerators.”

    Through the updated formalized agreement, Central Piedmont students in the Associate in Applied Science programs in Information Technology/Data Analysis, Information Technology/ Full Stack Programming, and Information Technology/ Software Development now have a path to pursue a bachelor’s degree in data science, the first degree of its kind in North Carolina. Students can transfer up to 64 credit hours toward their bachelor’s degree. 

    A bachelor’s in data science, offered through UNC Charlotte's fast-growing School of Data Science, creates opportunities for high-demand careers such as data science engineer, data analyst, research engineer, and data science developer. 

    Several new agreements are also in the pipeline between UNC Charlotte and Central Piedmont, as the institutions continue to streamline student transfer processes. 

    For 2022-23: 

    • About 17% of Charlotte’s 23,000 undergraduates had transfer credits from Central Piedmont.
    • 16% of UNC Charlotte bachelor graduates were Central Piedmont transfers. 

    UNC Charlotte is the No. 1 destination for North Carolina community college transfer students. 49erNext first launched with Central Piedmont in 2019 and has grown to include six community college partners. The program maximizes transfer credits through degree plans and regular data exchange between UNC Charlotte and the participating community college to ensure students’ progress toward the timely completion of a baccalaureate degree.

    Last fall, 93% of 49erNext transfer students were admitted into their preferred majors. 

  • Gantt Encourages Value of Determination, Belief to Central Piedmont Students

    Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt visited Central Piedmont’s Parr Center on March 20 and delivered a lecture on his background as a civil rights pioneer, architectural innovator, and influential politician. 

    “If you want to do something, you’ve got the capacity to do it,” said Gantt, the first African American student to enroll at Clemson University in 1963. “You might not go through the same types of struggles that I did, but that does not diminish the struggle you may be going through. If you believe in it, you can achieve it. You need to stay determined, and you can do well.” 

    Gantt spoke for an hour to an audience of Central Piedmont students, primarily in the architectural technology program, and answered questions about his life and career following the event. 

    Gantt’s story began in fifth grade, when a teacher noticed him sketching and drawing during class. Fearful that he was going to be admonished for not paying attention, the teacher instead encouraged him to continue his drawing and had him help design materials for the classroom bulletin board. 

    While in high school, an English teacher and guidance counselor both encouraged Gantt’s pursuit of architecture. At the time, Gantt said, less than one percent of architects in the country were African American, but that did not daunt him. 

    So off he went to Iowa State University, where he excelled in the classroom, but not in the frigid winter environment. His eyes wandered back to his home state of South Carolina and Clemson University, which continually denied his application to attend – not because of his academic record, but because of his race. 

    Undeterred, a legal battle ensued, and Gantt eventually earned the right to attend Clemson – then one of the top architecture programs in the country – and graduated in 1965. Gantt later earned a Master of City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1971 and moved to Charlotte to begin his professional career. 

    He co-founded Gantt Huberman Architects and surrounded himself with a diverse staff – noting the same type of diversity he saw in the lecture hall full of Central Piedmont students. 

    “We wanted our firm to be different,” he said. “Our firm needed to look like the people who founded it. We intentionally went out to find people who wanted to work in that kind of environment. There were not that many African American architects at that time, so we had to go out and find them. We tried to meld a culture where everyone was important, and contributions were made by everyone.” 

    The firm went on to develop some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Charlotte Transportation Center, TransAmerica Square, ImaginOn, Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, and the Johnson C. Smith University Science Center. Gantt shared stories with the students about how those designs came into play. 

    “[It was so] enriching, this whole experience, to make a difference in public life, and make a lasting difference in the buildings we design for so many people,” he said. 

    Gantt’s background in urban planning led him to pursue a career in politics, first serving on city council in 1975 before being elected mayor in 1983. He was the first African American mayor in city history and was in that role until 1987. 

    During the question-and-answer session, Gantt left some parting words of wisdom for the students in attendance. 

    “You will know when you want to do something in life that fits with who you are,” he said. “Something that allows you to be centered, that allows you to feel like you made a contribution. Whatever your struggle is, it can also be an opportunity to learn.” 

  • NC Campus Engagement Honors Deitemeyer

    NC Campus Engagement (NCCE) has honored Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont Community College, with the 2024 Leo M. Lambert Engaged Leader Award. The Lambert Engaged Leader Award recognizes an NCCE president or chancellor who has fostered the creation and/or deepening of community engagement. 

    NCCE is a collaborative network of North Carolina colleges and universities committed to educating students about civic and social responsibility, partnering with communities for positive change, and strengthening democracy. NCCE fosters campus connections, shares best practice information and resources, recognizes outstanding work, and champions civic and community engagement in higher education.

    In 2012, the NCCE Executive Board launched the Lambert Engaged Leader Award to honor the significant contributions of Leo Lambert, former Elon University president, who played a key role in the formative years of NCCE.

    “I humbly accept the Lambert Engaged Leader Award, in honor of the faculty and staff of Central Piedmont Community College and in gratitude to our many corporate and community partners as well as those in higher education,” Deitemeyer said. “As I have learned and come to appreciate during my 30-plus years in higher education, our institutions cannot flourish without strong partnerships. Our colleges and universities do important work. We strive to improve the world through educating and empowering individuals. Thank you to North Carolina Campus Engagement for all you do to amplify our efforts.”

    NC Campus Engagement is based at Elon University.