At Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), one of the largest community colleges in the Carolinas, curriculums are being designed with the local job market in mind. The school is located in North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg region, where even amid the pandemic, demand for highly skilled workers has been increasing. In the fourth quarter of 2020, the area added nearly 45,000 jobs, a growth rate that outpaced the national economy.
This climate has provided CPCC with an opportunity to deliver on its commitment to equity by expanding Black and Hispanic/Latino access to post-graduate careers, while also providing a steady supply of qualified workers for local employers to draw from a goal that contributes some $1.2 billion annually to the Mecklenburg County economy.
Through its four-year Bridge-to-Careers program, eligible Black and Hispanic/Latino students receive guidance and support services, along with training for specific jobs in the highest growth sectors of the local economy. Jobs in the Mecklenburg area are highly concentrated in information technology, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, transportation and construction, according to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.
To support these students and to expand their opportunities, Bank of America is providing a $1 million grant to CPCC, part of the bank’s $25 million commitment to enhance job skills for Black and Hispanic/Latino students. At CPCC the funds will be used for scholarships to match PELL grants, which go to students demonstrating a financial need for tuition assistance.