South Piedmont Community College Hosts Over 115 Prospective Students and Businesses During Multi-Campus Open House Event

South Piedmont Community College (SPCC) hosted over 115 prospective students looking to improve their skills and earn credentials during a recent multi-campus Open House. 

The event occurred in Monroe, NC, at SPCC’s Old Charlotte Highway Campus and Tyson Family Center for Technology on Tuesday, March 14th. College leaders described the event as an opportunity to show the value we bring to our community, and the community seemed to respond positively.

“The open house allowed prospective students to come to our campuses, tour the facilities, meet with our admissions and financial aid teams, and learn about the various academic programs at the college,” Lauren Meseroll, SPCC Director of Recruitment and Enrollment Services, said. “Our goal was to allow people to see what we offer, ask questions, and envision what college life could look like for them.”

At the Old Charlotte Highway Campus, event attendees could learn about more than 20 academic programs, meet with counseling and advising staff, and submit an application during the four-hour event. College staff presented on several major programs, such as Associate in a Year, the Career & College Promise program, and its various health sciences programs. 

Interested prospective students could get up close and personal with experiential spaces in the college where they could explore nursing labs, test out medical sonography simulators, and interact with mannequins.

“This event allowed people to get a real, hands-on experience with all that we have to offer,” Dr. Maria Pharr, SPCC President, said. “We had over 250 people at the open house this week, including prospective students and their families. At a time of declining enrollments, we see the opposite trend at SPCC.” 

At the Tyson Family Center for Technology, faculty and staff met with local businesses and students to discuss skill-trades programs, apprenticeships, and corporate training opportunities. Attendees could also learn about the Small Business Center, which helps match local small businesses with support and resources. The Tyson Center houses the college’s multiple trades programs, including manufacturing, welding, and machining. 

“We had several great conversations with potential industry partners where we were able to show them all the college does to support workforce development,” Chris Rivera, Vice President of Business Solutions, said. “From apprenticeship programs to corporate training and work-based learning, our goal is to connect employers and potential students to meet their hiring and professional development needs.” 

SPCC serves Anson County and Union County and is one of four community colleges in North Carolina that have seen enrollment growth over the past four years. In the fall of 2022, SPCC set enrollment records for the college.

“During the open house, we received more than 50 applications from students and heard from several families that they were excited to learn more about what we offer,” Meseroll said. “Our primary message all night was: tell us what you’re interested in, and we’ll help you figure out how to get there.”

Meseroll added, “even if you missed the open house, you can apply any time. We encourage any interested students to message us, come to campus, and learn more about the college.”

SPCC has a rolling admissions process and offers classes year-round, from traditional 16-week semesters to programs as short as four weeks. To learn more about the various programs at the college, visit spcc.edu or call 704-290-5100.

South Piedmont Community College Celebrates New TeachUCPS Program, Sees Partnerships as a Path for Growth for NC Community Colleges

South Piedmont Community College (SPCC) recently announced TeachUCPS, a partnership with Union County Public Schools (UCPS) and Wingate University, to create opportunities to grow the teacher pipeline locally.


SPCC President Dr. Pharr (left), UCPS Superintendent Dr. Drew Houlihan (middle), and Wingate University President Dr. Rhett Brown (right) stand together at the joint press conference on February 8 in Weddington Middle School.

The TeachUCPS program creates multiple pathways for individuals to more easily complete the education and training needed to become licensed elementary, middle, and high school teachers. These programs solve the immediate teacher shortage facing UCPS and allow them to attract, credential, and retain talented educators in Union County.

TeachUCPS: New Pathways for Certified Teachers in Union County

South Piedmont’s partnership with UCPS and Wingate University builds on foundational collaborations, such as Career & College Promise, robust articulation agreements between the three schools, and guaranteed admissions from South Piedmont to Wingate through the Road2Wingate program.

“Students attending Union County high schools can enter one of three pathways that give them opportunities for on-the-job training and access to college courses at South Piedmont,” Russell Carpenter, Director of Apprenticeships and Work-Based Learning, said. “By implementing a pre-apprenticeship model, we can offer high school students real-world experiences in classroom settings that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

South Piedmont Community College directly supports two pathways through the program. The Associate’s Pathway allows high school students to participate in the Career & College Promise program, which dually enrolls them in high school and South Piedmont. Students in this pathway would enroll in the Road2Wingate program, which gives SPCC associate degree graduates guaranteed admission and progressive access to Wingate resources while earning their associate degree tuition-free. Associate’s Pathway students are also eligible for the Gateway Scholarship, which caps tuition at Wingate at $2,500 per year for the two years needed to complete their bachelor’s degree and licensure.

The Pre-Apprenticeship Pathway allows current teaching assistants and high school students to participate in pre-apprenticeship programming, allowing these students to attend South Piedmont for their two-year degree tuition-free while concurrently working at UCPS as a teacher assistant. From there, students attend Wingate University through the Road2Wingate program at the capped tuition rate of $2,500 per year.

“Our collaboration with Union County Public Schools and Wingate University will remove financial and accessibility obstacles for our high school students that wish to pursue a career in education,” Carpenter said.

These pathways help students accelerate their education and put highly trained teachers into UCPS classrooms within 2-4 years, depending on which path students choose. While both of these programs allow students to earn their Associate’s degree tuition-free at South Piedmont, UCPS is developing a tuition assistance program to cover the tuition at Wingate if students commit to teaching three years at a Union County Title 1 school or four years at other Union County schools upon earning their teaching certificate.

“Our goal is to create seamless educational pathways for the community that meets critical labor market needs,” Dr. Maria Pharr, President of South Piedmont Community College, said.

To do this, South Piedmont has been looking for ways to partner with nearby organizations, like UCPS, Wingate, and local businesses, to provide opportunities like TeachUCPS.

“We see partnership and cooperation as necessary to expand educational access and programming,” Dr. Pharr said. “By working together, we can create local opportunities for high school graduates and adult learners to earn a credential and grow their careers seamlessly and efficiently. It’s a win-win-win for public schools, higher education, and our students.”

South Piedmont has experienced record growth recently, which leaders attribute to innovations and programs that improve access, affordability and quality across the board. Alongside programming collaborations like the Road2Wingate program and accelerated pathways like TeachUCPS, the College has been investing in technologies designed to create flexibility and reduce barriers to success for all students.

These investments include Hy-Flex classroom technology, which allows students to select their learning modality (in-person, live online, recorded online) based on their needs, and BibliU, which provides predictable, affordable textbooks college-wide.

“Demand for education never goes away; people are hungry to learn, ready to improve their skills, and eager to advance their careers,” Dr. Pharr said. “Our job as a college is to create quality programming that prepares students for the future and an environment for them to be successful. We’re proud of how we have achieved this at South Piedmont.”


SPCC Corporate Training Program Announces It Is “Open For Business” With the Hiring of New Director

South Piedmont Community College has recently hired Latoya Billings as the new Director of Corporate Training and Education to support its growing Division of Business Solutions. 

Latoya brings 18 years of higher education experience in developing, implementing and managing customized training programs. Her recent experience includes overseeing 18 projects totaling $3 million over the past four years at a nearby community college.

“We are thrilled to have Latoya on our team. Her wealth of experience and knowledge will help our team reach new levels of service for the businesses we serve,” Chris Rivera, SPCC Vice President of Business Solutions, said. “Our partners in the business community rely on our college to provide meaningful, timely solutions to their training challenges and we’re excited to expand our ability to do so through Latoya’s skills. We’re ready, and we’re open for business.”

The Division of Business Solutions offers educational training programs that directly support the needs of small businesses, employees and companies through customized training, corporate training, work-based learning and the Small Business Center.

“Training programs are increasingly important to regional businesses as employers work hard to recruit and retain highly skilled workers. Similarly, the workforce is hungry for meaningful professional development opportunities,” Latoya Billings said. “We’re in the position to help both employer and employee.”

The Customized Training Program at South Piedmont Community College is state-funded and designed to help businesses and industries remain competitive in our rapidly changing world. The state-wide Customized Training Program is designed to react quickly to the needs of local businesses. Course content includes practical hands-on experience that is customized for employees who need to become more productive in the shortest time possible.

Corporate Education at South Piedmont Community College is dedicated to working with local businesses and industry to increase their competitiveness and success by providing high-quality employee training.

Companies interested in working with South Piedmont Community College to develop customized training or corporate training programs can contact Latoya at lbillings@spcc.edu or call her at 704-290-5836.

About SPCC

South Piedmont Community College sits at the crossroads of where you are and where you want to be. It is a college with heart and opportunity; it helps Anson County and Union County residents gain knowledge, improve skills and expand possibilities no matter their starting point. Through accessible, affordable, high-quality programming, SPCC empowers its students to complete their education and achieve their goals.

SPCC has four locations, two in Union County and two in Anson County and has served residents since 1999. Programs include traditional undergraduate studies, adult basic skills education and work-based learning. Learn more at spcc.edu.



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