CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) will receive a job training grant of $2,499,378. The announcement was made by The White House, U.S. Dept. of Labor and U.S. Dept. of Education.
The grant will be used to support the “Mechatronics Re-Envisioned” project at CPCC, which is designed to help more students earn degrees, certificates and other industry-recognized credentials in mechatronics.
Nearly $450 million in grants is being distributed to community colleges across the country as part of the “job-driven training” initiative. Vice President Joe Biden, Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the grant winners.
As a result of the grants, community colleges and other institutions of higher education will be able to partner with employers to increase educational opportunities and training for job seekers looking to acquire the skills they need for highly demanded jobs in industries like energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and information technology.
The mechatronics program at CPCC trains students for positions in high-tech advanced manufacturing environments. The Mechatronics Engineering Technology curriculum prepares individuals for jobs requiring electrical and mechanical engineering knowledge as well as advanced computer skills. This breadth of knowledge and skills are needed to operate the complex systems found in advanced manufacturing. CPCC was one of the first community colleges in the U.S. to develop and offer a program in mechatronics.
“This grant will allow CPCC to develop new digital courses to improve training in this high-tech field to support the advanced manufacturing firms in the Charlotte region,” stated Chris Paynter, CPCC dean of STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) programs. “There also will be a redesign of how the courses are offered, which will allow for credit for prior learning experiences, as well as a fast track program for those seeking certifications.”
The Mechatronics Re-Envisioned project at CPCC will launch in October aiming to reinforce the growth of the Charlotte area’s energy sector and the advanced manufacturing partners in the region. CPCC looks to create a curriculum with industry partners and other employers in mind so that students are well prepared and the talent pipeline supports advanced manufacturing companies.
“This is an exciting award that will provide our students with access to new resources as well as an accelerated pathway for those with prior experience so they can enter the job market more quickly,” Paynter continued. “This project is designed to chip away at the skills gap which impacts many local employers who are looking for workers with high-tech skills.”