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Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) is listening to the concerns of small businesses in the area. The college is partnering with them so people who are struggling to find a job can find one.
Local optometrists told CPCC they needed help. This is what they said.
"We need you to create this program," CPCC spokesman Jeff Lowrance said. "We need to bring in people who are already trained - who can go to work immediately. We simply can't train them on the job any longer."
The Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Program was created from that plea. It is one of two new programs CPCC established this school year. The other is the cosmetology program.
18 students have enrolled in the Ophthalmic program. It has room to grow. It is a year long program. Once students complete the program they could earn about $34,000 a year. They will be trained to assist optometrists.
"Get the patient's history," Ophthalmic Medical assistant program director Kathleen Rodgers said. "Do various tests, educate the patient, and assist with any surgery or minor procedure with a physician."
The other program established is the Cosmetology program. Administrators say there is a need for trained cosmetologists.
"Jobs are available," Cosmetology Director Catherine Cunningham said. "In every community there is a beauty salon, spa and beauty supply place or a personal care service establishment open 7 days a week."
Students completing the cosmetology program will get an Associate Degree. They could earn about $25,000 a year.
Students who struggled finding work are back in school reinventing themselves so they can earn a living.
"Eventually I want to be an entrepreneur," Student Nicole Harriot said. "And have many streams of income."
CPCC says it takes about two years to implement new programs. The college has about 14 programs geared to train people to get jobs that employers have a hard time filling.