News and Features

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

  • Small Business Center to Partner on ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’

    The Fifth Third Bank Foundation has announced its 2019 Strengthening Our Communities Fund grants for North Carolina. The awards benefit local nonprofit programs that support small business development. The Fifth Third Foundation awarded Central Piedmont Community College a $50,000 grant to support entrepreneurship through a pitch competition.

    Central Piedmont designed the “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” to help address income inequality and equity through entrepreneurship. The competition will provide underserved individuals who participate with access to the capital, training resources, and social connections needed to remove barriers, and allow individuals to take an idea and turn it into a viable business. The top prize winner of the competition will receive $10,000 in seed money for a start-up business.

    “Fifth Third Bank is committed to strengthening our communities, and we cannot do it alone: it takes strong and engaged partners like Central Piedmont to truly make a difference,” said Lee Fite, regional president for Fifth Third Bank in the Mid-Atlantic. “The ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’ addresses an essential link between economic mobility and entrepreneurship. The work our partners like Central Piedmont are doing to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs will directly benefit our community.”

    “Studies show that four out of five entrepreneurs do not access bank loans or venture capital. Rather, their sources of funding are personal net worth, family wealth, or connections to networks,” said Renee Hode, executive director of Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center. “Unfortunately, this leads to inequality in entrepreneurship. The ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’ seeks to expand opportunity for everyone in the greater Charlotte region, especially those populations who may experience barriers or have limited access to resources to start a business.”

    The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” is an open call for business ideas from residents across the region. Individuals will have 53 seconds to pitch their idea in the form of a video submission uploaded to 53ideas.com. The submission deadline is Feb. 20, 2020. For open, inclusive access to the needed technology, Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center will be hosting pop-up recording events throughout the community. Visit 53ideas.com for pop-up dates and times.

    Judges will review the submissions and select the top 53 pitches. Top entrants will advance in the competition and receive a $50 award. Over the following 53 days, the participants will work to refine their ideas and master their pitch before another selection process.

    Training and coaching on pitching, marketing, financing, forecasting, and business law will be available to participants, regardless of whether they advance in the competition. Free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont, and Stanly.

    After the 53-day training period, the top 53 entrants will participate in a closed pitch event where the judges will narrow the field down to 15. The top 15 will receive $200 each and go on to compete on stage for the top awards: first place receives $10,000; second place earns $5,000; and third place receives $2,500 in seed funding to help turn their ideas into a viable business.

    The 38 participants who did not advance can still showcase their ideas at an expo before the final pitch event. This gives these participants visibility with event attendees, as well as an opportunity to share their ideas and increase their social networks.

    “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” is made possible by the support from the Fifth Third Bank Foundation and the Central Piedmont Foundation, and also the City of Charlotte’s Economic Development Office.

    Learn more about the “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” at 53ideas.com or upload a video submission by the Feb. 20 deadline.

  • Koichi Takara receives 2019 Community Impact Student Award

    Congratulations to Central Piedmont Community College student Koichi Takara who was recently recognized for outstanding leadership and service by North Carolina Campus Compact, a statewide network of colleges and universities with a shared commitment to civic engagement.

    Takara received the organization’s 2019 Community Impact Student Award, which honors one student leader at each school, who has demonstrated a deep commitment to community involvement and an ability to inspire others.

    Takara has made significant leadership and service contributions both inside and outside the Central Piedmont community since becoming a student in 2018. He is a Foundation Scholar for Peer Mentoring, was elected President of the Student Government Association, and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Rotaract, and the NC Scholars of Global Distinction program.

    As SGA Student Body President, he not only leads the constitutional revision committee to address the needs of the student body, but also strives to engage all six of the college’s campuses by boosting student engagement in the many opportunities and campus organizations the college offers. His efforts have resulted in more students being involved civically and adopting leadership roles.

    Says Jesse Bennett, the director of service-learning at Central Piedmont who nominated Takara for the award, “Koichi’s approach is always enthusiastic and compassionate. He possesses a willingness to share skills, knowledge, and expertise on a wide array of subject matter.”

    Takara, a Huntersville resident, plans to major in political science and international relations and eventually attend law school after completing his associate in arts degree at Central Piedmont.

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

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

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

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

    The center’s focus areas will include:

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

    Current programming plans for the center include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Read the complete Charlotte Observer article.

  • College launches JA Finance Park® and JA BizTown® storefront

    Representatives from Central Piedmont Community College and Junior Achievement of the Central Carolinas gathered at the organization’s JA Finance Park® at the JA TowneBank Opportunity headquarters in Camp North End to participate in a special ribbon-cutting event to welcome Central Piedmont to the space.

    JA Finance Park® and JA BizTown® are two programs spearheaded by Junior Achievement USA to prepare young people for the real world by teaching them how to follow a monthly budget, understand the actual “costs of living,” and think critically and solve problems. In addition, students are asked to make decisions regarding housing, transportation, education, insurance, and more.

    JA of the Carolinas recently launched these two programs in the Charlotte area, creating a simulated town that helps students (grades 4-12) connect the dots between what they learn in school and the real world. During their visit to the “town,” students have the opportunity to visit a variety of storefronts, including  SunTrust, Publix, AT&T, Equifax, and many more.

    The Central Piedmont space is overseen by part-time Central Piedmont employees who are on-site to not only educate students on the different educational paths available to them, but also to help high school students apply to the college for free and assist them with filling out their financial aid applications.

    This is an exciting partnership with Central Piedmont and the Junior League. Central Piedmont is the first community college in the country to participate in these national programs, which strive to instill sound financial literacy and money management skills in today’s youth so they may succeed in the future.

    Learn more about JA Finance Park® and JA Biztown®.

  • #ConquerPossibility: Desiree Kinker

    Central Piedmont alumna Desiree Kinker, a chef at one of the tailgating groups at the Panthers' games, talks about her life transition from a recovering drug addict to a tailgating star in this Nov. 8 Charlotte Observer article

    Read how Desiree, a graduate of the college's culinary arts program, is using her Central Piedmont education to conquer possibility.

  • Students Attend Model UN Event, Named Outstanding Delegates

    Last month, Central Piedmont Model United Nations Club members attended the UNCC Carolinas Conference, together with high schools and colleges from across North Carolina. The event gave the college’s first-time and returning Central Piedmont Model United Nations delegates the opportunity to further develop their negotiating, problem solving, and public speaking skills within each committee. 

    Students researched, debated, and wrote mock UN resolutions at the conference about a variety of current global topics, such as gender and the role of women in disarmament, the effects of global warming on human health, the rising tensions between China and the U.S., and preventing spillover violence from the Sudan conflict.

    “I learned about topics I otherwise would not have been aware of beforehand,” said Returning Model UN member Yasmine Outtara.

    Three of the newer members of the Central Piedmont Model UN team – Katherine Beekman, Emma Hoff, and Christopher St. Hilaire – were named Outstanding Delegates for representing South Africa in the Security Council and General Assembly 1st respectively.

    How to join the Central Piedmont Model UN team
    Any Central Piedmont student is welcome to join the Model UN Club. Club meetings are:

    Central Campus: Mondays, 2:30 - 4 p.m., in Zeiss, Room 3120

    Levine Campus: Fridays, 1-2 p.m., in Levine II, Room 1307

    Learn more here.

    Upcoming Conferences
    Central Piedmont students will be attending two more conferences in spring 2020: the Harvard National Model UN Conference in February and the Southern Regional Model UN Conference in Charlotte in March. 

  • Central Piedmont announces campaign goal of $40 million

    Central Piedmont Community College has launched the public phase of its “Powering a Stronger Future” campaign. The five-year fundraising effort seeks to raise $40 million – the most ambitious and comprehensive campaign in the college’s 56-year history.

    The campaign will run through June 2022, and has raised $23.5 million during its two-year quiet phase.

    “The Powering a Stronger Future campaign is about students and addressing the upward mobility challenges in Mecklenburg County,” Central Piedmont President Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer explained. “For those who want our community to thrive and want to make an investment – education is a game changer. Central Piedmont is a great place to help students thrive and be successful in our community. I think there is no better investment for Mecklenburg’s future.”

    The Powering a Stronger Future campaign priorities include:

    • $15 million to fund student scholarships and support the student emergency fund;
    • $9.5 million for student support services, such as academic and career advising, leadership opportunities, out-of-classroom experiences, enhanced disability services, and the Summer Bridge program that helps students prepare for their first semester of college;
    • $9.5 million to further instructional excellence through support for programs, equipment and other resources and faculty;
    • $5 million for specific programs that foster economic mobility, such as the Accelerated Career Training program for under- and unemployed adults, the early childhood education program that trains pre-K teachers, and strategic workforce partnerships; and
    • $1 million for the college’s annual fund to respond to evolving priorities and needs.

    Pat Rodgers, president and CEO of Rodgers Builders and a Central Piedmont alumna, is serving as the honorary campaign chair. The campaign chairpersons are Weston Andress, regional president, PNC Financial Services; Linda Lockman-Brooks, president, Lockman-Brooks Marketing Services; and Carl Showalter, president, Showalter Construction.

    “Central Piedmont is a solid investment for donors because you see the results. You see the results in the lives of Central Piedmont graduates,” Rodgers shared. “What they carry with them from Central Piedmont is the education of a lifetime, and it changes their lives and the lives around them.

    “My time at Central Piedmont was life changing. It meant so much to me to have the opportunity to go to the Central Piedmont of my day. When I look at what Central Piedmont is now and the impact it makes, it is just amazing. I know the impact it had on my life, and I think it’s fair to say, if you live in this community, Central Piedmont impacts your life as well,” Rodgers added.

    For more information about the Central Piedmont’s Powering a Stronger Future campaign, visit cpccfoundation.org/campaign, or call the Central Piedmont Foundation at 704.330.6869.

    “Central Piedmont is a trusted entity,” Deitemeyer said. “When this community considers the number of people we need going into the workforce and how we’re going to move this great city to the next level that offers prosperity to all, it’s going to take an education provider like Central Piedmont. So this campaign is about people and providing pathways to opportunity and greater economic mobility and personal success.”

  • Central Piedmont partners with Facebook to offer Digital Marketing Certificate

    In an ongoing effort to ensure local residents are equipped with the digital skills needed to compete in today’s economy, Central Piedmont Community College has partnered with Facebook to offer a short-term workforce Digital Marketing Certificate program led through the college’s Small Business Center.

    According to Burning Glass Labor Insights, digital marketing skills were required in more than 20 percent of the job posts listed across 30 different occupations in 2018. A similar study conducted by Emsi (economicmodeling.com) on the local level, found that Charlotte organizations, including banks and retailers, posted more than 6,600 jobs over the past 12 months that sought candidates with digital and social media marketing skills.

    Recognizing the need for more digital marketing professionals in the marketplace, Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center will offer the Digital Marketing Certificate beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Designed for working adults, the six-month program will be offered as a non-credit program. No transcript or college application is required. Mostly delivered online, the program will include seven in-person sessions. The program will cost $2,250, with partial $1,000 and $2,000 scholarships available.

    Top marketing professionals from Facebook, LinkedIn, Zillow, Spanx, and others created the program content which will cover a variety of topics, ranging from email marketing and social media marketing, to marketing analytics and paid search/display advertising.

    Participants who complete the program will:

    • Boost their portfolio with real-world projects, including a digital marketing plan, Facebook ad, email marketing campaign, and more to add to their portfolio
    • earn a certificate endorsed and co-branded by Facebook and Central Piedmont
    • prove they are top candidates and job-ready with core marketing concepts and practical technical skills

    Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center will begin accepting scholarship applications Thursday, October 10 at cpcc.edu/digital-marketing. To reserve a spot or to learn more, visit cpcc.edu/digital-marketing.

  • Central Piedmont, UNC Charlotte Announce Innovative Co-Admission Program

    UNC Charlotte and Central Piedmont Community College today announced a new co-admission program to facilitate degree completion and student success by creating a seamless pathway for individuals who want to start their degree at Central Piedmont and complete their degree at UNC Charlotte.

    This innovative co-admission program, called 49erNext, allows both Central Piedmont and UNC Charlotte to engage in a fully integrated proactive advising model, ensuring students’ progress toward the timely completion of a baccalaureate degree. As participants in the 49erNext program, students are eligible to transfer into more than 75 undergraduate degree programs (130+ majors) at UNC Charlotte, as long as they earn an associate degree at Central Piedmont with a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.

    “UNC Charlotte admits the most transfer students of all universities in the UNC System so this partnership with Central Piedmont will ensure that we are meeting students’ academic, financial aid, and career planning needs while making the transfer experience more seamless,” said UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “Nearly 60% of students in the inaugural 49erNext class are from underrepresented populations, and this program is designed to produce a greater number of workforce-ready, qualified graduates at a significant cost savings to them.”

    In addition to proactive advising, students enrolled in the program will also have access to:

    • a coordinated set of support services in critical areas like career planning and financial aid; 
    • free student privileges on UNC Charlotte’s campus including admission to select Charlotte 49ers athletic events, library access, and admission to campus events;
    • discounted CATS all-access light rail and bus pass;
    • discounted access to UNC Charlotte recreational facilities.

    For fall 2019, 111 students are enrolled in the 49erNext program. This past year, about 4,000 transfer students enrolled at UNC Charlotte—69 percent came from a North Carolina community college and 29 percent of those came from Central Piedmont Community College.

    “Central Piedmont is excited about the 49erNext program 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. “Institutions the size of Central Piedmont and UNC Charlotte sometimes can be challenging to navigate for students. Those students in the 49erNext program will have a clearly marked map leading from one institution to the next. This program will serve the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community well as we seek to produce more individuals with bachelor’s degrees to meet our growing workforce demands.”

    Both institutions have agreed to make collective institutional decisions and implement policies and processes that commit to:

    • Put students first -- enable students to earn a quality degree in a timely manner;
    • Foster success -- ensure and expect all students to achieve their full potential;
    • Ensure equity -- ensure that all students, regardless of gender, race, income or family educational history, have equal opportunity.

    Building on the partnership with Central Piedmont, UNC Charlotte hopes to expand 49erNext to other North Carolina community colleges.

    Students interested in learning more about the 49erNext program should visit cpcc.edu/49erNext or email 49erNext@cpcc.edu.