CPCC announces ‘Apprenticeship Charlotte’ program

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) announces the launch of Apprenticeship Charlotte, a new career-training program CPCC will customize to meet the specific needs of individual companies.

CPCC has created Apprenticeship Charlotte by drawing on its experience with the successful Apprenticeship 2000 program, which focuses on high school students and serves about a dozen European manufacturing companies in the Charlotte region. Through Apprenticeship Charlotte, CPCC will offer multiple apprenticeship models, including associate degree, diploma and certificate options with multiple entry points from high school through experienced workers. The goal is to make apprenticeships more flexible to meet employer needs and provide shorter experiences to address critical workforce needs.

“For centuries, apprenticeships have been an excellent way for employers to build a talent pipeline,” explained Richard Zollinger, CPCC vice president for learning. “Apprenticeships can be invaluable when permanent positions are available but skilled talent is difficult to find, when a company has plans for future expansion, when current employees need retraining and skills upgrades, and when goals for diversity have been hard to achieve.”

A couple of local and national workforce development trends solidified CPCC’s decision to develop Apprenticeship Charlotte. First, there is a well-documented skills gap or shortage of trained workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs and in other technical fields. Second, most companies want only job candidates that already have some level of experience.

“CPCC, through Apprenticeship Charlotte, will work with individual companies to create an apprenticeship model that meets their needs,” Zollinger said. “Some employers might be interested in training high school students, others might want traditional age college students in associate degree or diploma programs. There could be other companies that want people with previous experience or incumbent workers who can be trained quickly in a new process or to use a new technology.

“The key to Apprenticeship Charlotte is that CPCC wants to work with all kinds of employers to develop workplace learning solutions that meet their needs – everything from identifying candidate pools, to screening candidates, to developing specific courses and learning modules,” Zollinger added.

CPCC staff membershave been meeting with company leaders to introduce the Apprenticeship Charlotte program and concepts. The College also has created a website for the program – www.cpcc.edu/apprenticeships. Anyone with questions about CPCC apprenticeships also can call 704.330.4660, or send an email message to workplace.learning@cpcc.edu.

Central Piedmont Community College is the largest community college in North Carolina, offering close to 300 degree 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. In 2002, the National Alliance of Business named CPCC the Community College of the Year for its response to the workforce and technology needs of local employers and job seekers through innovative educational and training strategies.