Grant to support robotics, automation, cybersecurity work at college and partner institutions
The National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program has awarded the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, located at North Carolina State University, in collaboration with community college partners the North Carolina Community College System, Central Piedmont Community College, Wake Technical College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, a $443,619 grant to establish a Robotics/Automation and Cybersecurity Knowledge Sharing Coordination Network (TRACKS-CN).
The TRACKS-CN project is anticipated to take three years to complete, with a projected timeline of July 1, 2020–June 30, 2023.
TRACKS-CN will focus on workforce development efforts at the intersection of robotics/automation and cybersecurity, bringing together organizations and expertise with a focus on workforce development and improving manufacturing in the United States, including community colleges, Manufacturing Extension Partnerships and Manufacturing USA Institutes.
Thanks to Central Piedmont’s past work on a U.S. Department of Transportation’s TAACCT-funded project, which focused on mechatronics (Mechatronics Re-Envisioned), the college was identified as having the subject matter expertise and capacity to serve as a community college partner on this project.
As a result, Central Piedmont’s Jami Dale, chair of the Mechatronics Engineering Technology Program, has been identified as the subject matter expert and will serve as co-Principal Investigator (co-PI) on the three-year project. A portion of the grant fuds will support Dale’s role, which includes participating on quarterly partnership calls with TRACKS-CN participants, attending two annual workshop meetings and working on Advanced Technological Education projects that focus on robotics/automation to ensure they align with the work and goals of the TRACKS-CN.
“The network this grant establishes couldn't be more timely,” said Dale. “As learning environments transition to needing an increased catalog of online technical engineering training materials for college instructors, it’s important our partners in education and industry work together to encourage and facilitate the creation and distribution of educational materials for use in North Carolina and beyond.”
Dale was a natural choice to fill the project’s co-PI role. Central Piedmont has operated a mechatronics engineering technology program since 2005. Robust automation content is woven throughout the college’s curriculum and aligns with the goals of the TRACKS-CN. In addition, the college has a strong cybersecurity education program and is exploring the links between these two technology areas as a contributor to the TRACKS-CN.
For more information about STEM programs of study at Central Piedmont and STEM career fields, see cpcc.edu/stem, or contact Chris Paynter, Central Piedmont dean of STEM, at email@example.com or at 704.330.6531.
College donates gloves, masks, and gowns to Atrium Health and Novant Health
Central Piedmont Health Professions and Human Services donated more than 30,000 pairs of gloves, 670 N95 masks, 350 isolation gowns, 250 level 3 masks, and 400 bouffant caps to Atrium Health and Novant Health.
All of our health programs and Environmental Health and Safety offered their supplies to meet the community's needs. Faculty from all of the college's Health Careers areas wanted to come in and help pack but we wanted to limit the number of faculty involved to just a few. They were:
- Karen Summers, Interim Dean ,Health Professions and Human Services
- Eileen Clark, Dental Hygiene
- Cathy Flores, Medical Assisting
- Mel Angelisanti, Surgical Technology
Central Piedmont employees use 3D printers to make face shield parts
Central Piedmont’s Dr. Adam Harris, chair of the computer engineering technology, electrical engineering technology and electronics engineering technology programs, and Dr. Jacob Garbini, chair of the engineering program, are partnering with Charlotte Latin to produce the parts needed for CharlotteMEDI to make face shields for area hospital personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As instructors, Dr. Harris and Dr. Garbini regularly work in the college’s FabLab, home to 10 3D printers, which the duo has been visiting tirelessly, sometimes twice a day, to manufacture the headbands and bottom clips needed to complete the assembly of CharlotteMEDI’s face shields.
To date, the Central Piedmont team has made approximately 300 3D printed parts, such as bottom clips and headbands.
But, according to Dr. Garbini, that’s only the beginning.
Once the team receives more filament — the material used to produce the parts — and services a couple of the machines to get them all working at 100 percent capacity, Dr. Garbini anticipates being able to print approximately 160 clips a day going forward.
However, productivity isn’t his only concern, so is safety. “I’ve sectioned off the lab in the building to prohibit the parts from being exposed to any external germs or elements before they are shipped,” adds Dr. Garbini. “At the end of the day, Adam and I are grateful to be given the opportunity to use our college’s equipment to contribute to a community need. Any support we can offer to our healthcare providers during this critical time is extremely important — both for their safety and the well-being of the greater Charlotte community.”
Dr. Garbini delivered the face shield parts he and Dr. Harris produced to an approved CharlotteMEDI drop-off location on April 8. The parts will immediately be assembled into face shields, to later be shared with healthcare personnel working at area hospitals throughout Charlotte.
Small Business Center, together with community partner, providing timely, online business counseling and training
Many area small businesses are struggling to navigate today’s evolving, economic landscape due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In response, Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center is offering extended hours of its free, online business counseling sessions.
Local business owners are invited to register online to receive free, confidential business advice from the Center’s advisors who can assist with:
- business financing
- loan applications, such as the SBA Disaster Economic Injury Loan
- business plans
- accounting and financial plans
- basic legal matters
- nonprofit organizational needs
- business startup/venture creation
- and more
All of the above counseling sessions will be available via Webex or by phone, so the appropriate social distancing measures will be followed.
Upcoming Series to Aid Small Businesses
The Central Piedmont Small Business Center is hosting an online, webinar series, beginning April 14, that will discuss a variety of helpful business owner topics, including:
- risk management
- crisis management
- business preparedness and continuity of operations
- emotional intelligence for business owners
Small Business Center Partners with Matthews Chamber of Commerce
In the spirit of providing local small businesses with additional resources during this unprecedented time, Central Piedmont’s Small Business Center has partnered with the Matthews Chamber of Commerce to host “Biz Briefing,” a twice-weekly online presentation that showcases regional business experts answering small business owners questions in real time. The free sessions are held each Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m.
Upcoming topics include: (To register or to learn more about the presenters, click the links below or visit the Matthews Chamber of Commerce.)
- March 31, 2 p.m.: Manage Remote Workers Like a Pro
- April 2, 2 p.m.: Work-From-Home Setup, Tips, and Tools
Anonymous donor gives to college’s Emergency Fund, issues matching-gift challenge
Central Piedmont Community College Foundation is proud to announce an anonymous donor has made a generous and timely commitment that will match all gifts made to the college’s Emergency Fund on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $100,000.
Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund provides short-term financial support to students and employees experiencing financial emergencies.
“This amazing gift, and the community’s response to our donor’s matching-gift challenge, will enable us to better respond to the growing financial needs of our students, faculty, and staff during the coronavirus outbreak,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. “These needs include access to the technology needed for remote learning and scholarships for tuition and books, as well as resources for food, housing, child care, transportation, and medical care.”
If you’re a member of the community who would like to make a gift to Central Piedmont’s Emergency Fund, and participate in the matching gift challenge, visit cpccfoundation.org/donation. Your support for the Central Piedmont family will be of enormous assistance as the college works together to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Piedmont, community partners help package food for residents in need
Central Piedmont Community College’s hospitality education program partnered with Sysco Charlotte LLC and the Piedmont Culinary Guild on March 25 to package and deliver 500 boxes of food to local restaurant employees who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Sysco Charlotte LLC donated 250 cases of food to the community outreach project. The cases consisted of frozen chicken, produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dairy products, such as milk and butter.
Representatives from Central Piedmont, Sysco Charlotte LLC, and the Piedmont Culinary Guild were on site at Central Piedmont’s Culinary Arts Center to receive the cases of food, sort and package the individual boxes, and deliver them to 25–30 restaurants located in Mecklenburg County and beyond.
Each box included three to four major food group items, providing local restaurant workers with a nutritious meal for their family during this unprecedented time. Restaurants needing employee assistance signed up to participate in the community outreach project online through the Piedmont Culinary Guild’s website.
Thanks are extended to Central Piedmont's Richard Kugelmann, division director of the college's hospitality education division; Ross Howard, director of business resources and marketing for Sysco Charlotte LLC; and Kris Reid, co-founder of the Piedmont Culinary Guild for spearheading the initiative.
College loans Chromebooks, WiFi hotspots to students and employees in need
Recognizing not everyone has access to technology while they learn and work remotely during this unprecedented time, Central Piedmont has loaned a limited number of Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots — at no cost — to approximately 250 students and employees in need. A distribution point, staffed by Central Piedmont employees, has been set up behind the North Classroom building, located on the college’s Central Campus.
In the weeks and months ahead, students in need will be able to use their assigned device as long as they are enrolled in classes and until the college is able to resume traditional, in-person classes. At that point, computer labs will reopen. Employees will be able to use their loaned equipment until they are able to return to on-campus work.
“Our internal community is our top priority, we understand that everyone may not have the technology needed to complete their studies or work,” said Dena Shonts, associate dean for student engagement at Central Piedmont. “Our job is to help them succeed and providing them with the tools to do that is essential.”
To be considered for the program, students and employees had to apply online or call the college’s Single Stop office.
March 24, 2020 Message to the College on Coronavirus: Mecklenburg County Issues Stay-at-Home Order
Mecklenburg County issues a stay-at-home order, effective 8 a.m. Thursday through April 16.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Mecklenburg County, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management Office has announced a Stay-at-Home order for County residents. The order will go into effect on Thursday, March 26 at 8:00 a.m. and will remain in effect for the next 21 days.
The order was announced Tuesday afternoon by Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris during the Board of County Commissioners Budget and Public Policy meeting.
The order will require County residents to remain in their homes for the next 21 days as part of an attempt to reduce the number of new COVID-19 infections within the County. Exceptions will be allowed for those seeking medical treatment, buying food or exercising outdoors.
Essential workers, including hospital and medical staff, pharmacy employees, law enforcement, firefighters, EMS Agency (MEDIC), some government employees and food service and grocery store employees will be allowed to travel to work.
"As we said from the beginning, we must act based on what we are seeing on the ground in our community," said Harris. "Mecklenburg County has far more cases than any other County in North Carolina, and this extra step will keep more people away from each other and begin to flatten the rate of new cases before the hospital system becomes overwhelmed."
The order will be enforced by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
The order will not prohibit restaurants from providing take out or delivery options. It also does not prohibit daycares, homeless shelters, and government agencies from operating.
For more information:
- review the Stay-at-Home order for County residents Essential Businesses and Operations section, 10. Educational Institutions may remain open "for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research related to COVID-19, or performing essential functions..."
- review frequently asked questions and a complete list of essential services at MeckNC.gov.
Visit coronavirus information for all of Central Piedmont's updates on COVID-19.
March 18, 2020 Message to the College on Coronavirus — College Suspending Classes that Require In-person Instruction
From Central Piedmont Communications, Marketing & Public Relations:
Given Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order on March 14, that closed public K-12 schools to students, and following the March 17 recommendation of NC Community College System President Peter Hans, Central Piedmont Community College will suspend classes that require face-to-face, in-person instruction until further notice. College faculty and staff are working this week to move as many classes as possible to online delivery, with these online classes re-starting on March 23.
All Central Piedmont classes that can be offered remotely will be provided via online delivery. All classes that require in-person instruction will be suspended and not resumed until the risks associated with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic have subsided. Students will be contacted by their instructors this week with specific information and instructions regarding their classes. Students should check their college email frequently for updates.
Central Piedmont remains open; however, as of 5 p.m. today, March 18, its campuses and centers will be accessible only to employees whose presence is required to perform essential functions related to the operations and business of the college. Department managers are defining these functions and will be communicating these directly to the affected employees. Faculty members have been on campus this week to receive assistance in finalizing their class conversions to online delivery. Student support services, such as counseling and tutoring, are being transitioned to online formats.
The college will have as many employees as possible telework from home, with only those who perform essential functions reporting to campus until further notice. Employees should direct questions about teleworking to their supervisor. As a reminder to employees who need to work on campus, if you are feeling ill at all or have any kind of cold or flu-like symptoms, such as coughing, fever, body aches, difficulty breathing, etc., please stay at home, and consult a doctor before returning to campus. Please make your supervisor and Human Resources aware of your situation.
Central Piedmont’s top priority is protecting the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. Moving as many classes as possible to online delivery will help our students accomplish their educational goals, while doing all we can to help contain the spread of the virus.
Again, this is a rapidly evolving situation, so we ask all of you to check your college email often for further updates. Also please continue to visit this page to review all announcements and instructions. Please continue following all of the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) guidelines for keeping yourself safe.
Visit coronavirus information for all of Central Piedmont's updates on COVID-19.
March 13, 2020 Message to the College on Coronavirus — Spring Break Extended
The situation surrounding COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) is rapidly changing. That’s why Central Piedmont is working hard to monitor and follow local, state, and federal public health recommendations. The college vows to do its part to limit the spread and impact of the virus, while continuing to serve the educational needs of our students and community.
At a news conference yesterday (3/12/20), N.C. Governor Roy Cooper urged the community to “protect the public health above all else,” and that is Central Piedmont’s goal as well. The college’s chief priority is the health and well-being of our students and employees.
Central Piedmont will remain open, but will adjust how our students learn and how our employees work.
The college’s students and faculty are currently on spring break through this Sunday, March 15. The college has decided to extend spring break — for students only — for an extra week, until Monday, March 23. That means students should not come to campus next week and classes will resume in some format on March 23.
During the week ahead, faculty and staff will work together quickly to identify which classes can be successfully moved from in-person instruction to an online or alternative delivery method. The goal is to begin this alternative instruction delivery on Monday, March 23. At that time, there may still be the need for a limited number of in-person classes and attendance for courses such as those with labs and other hands-on requirements. For any in-person classes and labs, the college will look for ways to conduct these with smaller groups of students.
Students should watch their college email inbox during the coming week for further announcements regarding classes.
In the meantime, Gov. Cooper also announced yesterday he is recommending employers allow people to work from home, and discouraging gatherings of more than 100 people, as the state continues to have more cases of COVID-19. Here is what this means for Central Piedmont:
- Department and division managers will work with college leadership and Human Resources to determine which employees’ functions are considered “essential” to daily college operations. We are committed to helping our students complete the spring semester, but we are implementing “social distancing” practices to protect our students, employees, and the community at large.
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “social distancing means remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others.”
- In an effort to support “social distancing” and minimize the interaction of groups of people who might have been unknowingly exposed to COVID-19, the college will ask employees identified as non-essential during this time to work or teach from home, if at all possible, beginning next week. Departments also will use staggered staffing to ensure operations continue with as few as persons as necessary on campus. Be on the lookout for communication from Human Resources and your supervisor/manager about how this action will be implemented for your team.
By recommendation of Gov. Cooper, college-related events and gatherings of 100 or more people will be canceled or postponed. College employees who have supervision over events of 100 or more persons should move forward immediately to cancel all such events through April 30. Direct any questions to your vice president. For events with fewer than 100 people, please use your best judgment regarding rescheduling or canceling, and direct any questions to your vice president.
- Teleconferencing is recommended.
- The college continues to prohibit students, faculty, and staff from non-essential, college-affiliated travel. The college has expanded this requirement to prohibit all non-essential travel outside Mecklenburg County without approval from your vice president. This does not apply to employees who commute to campus from outside Mecklenburg County. An employee’s daily commute is considered essential.
- The college continues to strongly discourage personal out-of-state travel. Employees with travel planned for outside of North Carolina should talk with their supervisor immediately. Essential employees returning from out-of-state travel could be asked to self-quarantine off campus for 14 days. Please see the CDC’s considerations when deciding whether it’s safe to travel within the U.S. and the CDC map of states reporting cases of COVID-19.
- Employees who traveled out of state during the March 7-15 spring break period should contact Human Resources immediately for further instructions.
- Students who traveled out of the continental U.S. during the March 7-15 spring break period should contact Student Services — the Admissions, Records and Registration Office — at 704.330.6006 immediately for further instructions.
Again, this is an ever-changing situation, and we know you will have questions. The college, our community, the state, and the nation are navigating through uncharted territory. Students, please share with your instructors any questions or concerns you have about your classes. Employees should address their concerns to their supervisors.
Everyone in our college community is encouraged to follow the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) guidelines for keeping yourself safe. If you should begin to feel ill, please stay home, and seek a doctor’s advice before returning to campus.
Visit coronavirus information for all of Central Piedmont's updates on COVID-19.