Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) has received a $926,000 grant from Charlotte Works, the workforce development board for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The monies will be used to support CPCC’s newly created Work and Learn program, a NO COST initiative that helps young adults, ages 16 to 24, gain work experience, enter the job market, complete educational goals and prepare for a career.
The program strives to help out-of-school youth, defined as 16- to 24-year-olds who are not attending any school and who have one or more barriers to employment (ex. having no high school credential; having a disability; being homeless, an ex-offender, pregnant or a parenting teen) gain access to an education, training and employment.
“We need to reach at-risk young adults before they become disconnected and provide them with services that keep them engaged,” said Kathi McLendon, dean of CPCC’s College and Career Readiness Department. “What makes Work and Learn unique is it combines educational support and a sense of community together with financial incentives, tuition-free, short-term occupational training, paid work experience and employment opportunities to create an environment that allows students to complete their educational and career goals in a timely and efficient manner.”
To begin, individuals who meet the program’s requirements meet individually with a Work and Learn staff member at CPCC. Participants without a high school diploma can enroll in GED/HiSET classes or Adult High School while they co-enroll in one of the college’s 20 short-term certificate programs, such as Welding Technology, Truck Driving and CDL, Natural Hair Care or Medical Coding. Participants are connected to a local employer where they can engage in work-based learning, such as a paid or unpaid internship, and gain experience and learn new skills.
The program is structured to provide a number of benefits to students, including:
- career exploration to help participants identify potential career options in high-demand fields
- honest feedback about their employment readiness to help them compete for and keep a job
- a way to find work in a field they are passionate about while not incurring any associated training costs
- opportunities to participate in leadership development and community serving learning projects
- mentoring and one year of follow-along support after their employment goal is reached
- invaluable knowledge that will teach them how to market their skills to potential employers and help them identify job opportunities
CPCC’s Work and Learn team expects to accommodate 250 students during the upcoming academic year.
“We are excited about the comprehensive services that Work and Learn provides to at-risk young adults. The College and Career Readiness department works with approximately 8,000 students a year, many of whom face multiple barriers to employment. To address those barriers effectively, a holistic approach is needed to engage, motivate and provide education, training and employment support,” said McLendon. “Through Work and Learn’s customized approach, we will work with each participant individually to develop an academic and career plan that truly reflects their needs, interests and passions. In doing so, we will be creating a model that can enhance Mecklenburg County’s economic mobility.”
Individuals interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to attend an Information Session, held each Tuesday at 10 a.m., in the CPCC Education Center, Room 106, located at 1412 East 4th Street, Charlotte. Questions about Work and Learn and/or its eligibility requirements may be directed to 704.330.6794 or firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>.
*Prepared by CPCC and funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act under contract with Charlotte Works.
Central Piedmont Community College is one of the largest community colleges in the Carolinas, offering nearly 300 degree, diploma and certification programs; customized corporate training; market-focused continuing education; and special interest classes. CPCC is academically, financially and geographically accessible to all citizens of Mecklenburg County. CPCC responds to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies. Established in 1963, CPCC has provided more than 50 years of service to Mecklenburg County residents, business and industry. For more information, see cpcc.edu<http://cpcc.edu/>. Connect with the college on social media at cpcc.edu/social<http://www.cpcc.edu/social>.