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Charlotte And Central Piedmont Deepen Their Alliance To Strengthen The Metro Area Workforce

In the heart of North Carolina, two towering pillars of education—the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Central Piedmont Community College—are deepening their alliance with a revised partnership agreement. This collaboration underscores a shared vision for bolstering the workforce in the burgeoning Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, a region teeming with promise and potential.

This enhanced partnership, solidified by the recent signing ceremony attended by the leaders of both institutions, marks a significant evolution of UNC Charlotte’s 49erNext program. Launched with acclaim in 2019, 49erNext has paved the way for students from Central Piedmont to seamlessly transition into a four-year degree program. The latest iteration of this agreement shines a spotlight on a new frontier: a direct conduit for students aiming to delve into the increasingly vital field of data science.

“Central Piedmont Community College is UNC Charlotte’s largest transfer partner by far,” declared UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber, encapsulating the essence of this strengthened bond. “This renewed agreement affirms our long-standing commitment to provide accessible, affordable, quality higher education to students here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.”

Echoing this sentiment, Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, reflected on the triumphs of the 49erNext program. “The 49erNext program has been a great success because it offers students a direct pathway to a four-year degree as well as an avenue to greater economic mobility. The program is a tremendous benefit to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community as we seek to produce more individuals with bachelor’s degrees to meet our growing workforce demands. 49erNext also is a wonderful example of the region’s two largest institutions of higher education working together to serve students and be economic development accelerators.”

Under the auspices of this formalized agreement, students enrolled in Central Piedmont’s Associate in Applied Science programs—spanning Information Technology/Data Analysis, Full Stack Programming, and Software Development—will now find doors opened to a bachelor’s degree in data science. This offering is not only the first of its kind in North Carolina but also a beacon for those drawn to the high-demand careers this field promises, from data science engineering to data analytics.

As part of this transfer program, students are afforded the opportunity to bring up to 64 credit hours with them toward their bachelor’s degree, a testament to the efficiency and foresight of this academic pathway.

While this initiative mirrors a similar partnership established in 2021 with Wake Technical Community College, it’s clear that UNC Charlotte and Central Piedmont are not resting on their laurels. With several new agreements in the works, these institutions remain committed to refining and expanding the avenues through which students can transition from associate to bachelor’s degrees, ensuring that the pipeline of skilled, educated workers into the Charlotte-Mecklenburg workforce is both robust and unimpeded.

In an era where the intersections of education and economic vitality are more pronounced than ever, the alliance between UNC Charlotte and Central Piedmont Community College stands as a model of innovation, collaboration, and foresight. Their partnership is more than just a series of agreements; it’s a beacon of hope for the future of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and a testament to the power of education as a catalyst for community transformation.

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