Looking for a fresh career in something automotive? CPCC’s got you

Heidi Finley

A Tesla START student gets hands on in class March 28 on Central Piedmont's Merancas Campus. Photo by Darnell Vennie/CPCC

Central Piedmont Community College is one of only two schools in the country partnering with electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla on a new program.

Tesla START is a 12-week automotive technician training program designed to provide students with the skills necessary for job placement as service technicians at Tesla Service Centers across North America. Besides CPCC – one of the Carolinas’ largest community colleges – the only other school piloting the program is Rio Hondo College in Los Angeles.

At CPCC, the program began in January with 13 students at its Merancas Campus in Huntersville. Together, Tesla and CPCC built a service bay for students to train that simulates what they will find at Tesla Service Centers. They’re also working side-by-side on curriculum, instruction and job opportunities for students to transition into full-time employment.

This first class of Tesla START students will graduate April 6 at CPCC, which is among several other colleges in the Carolinas with automotive and motorsports programs.

“Central Piedmont Community College is proud and honored Tesla reached out to us with the opportunity to be among their first community college partners,” President Kandi Deitemeyer said in a news release.

“This is such an extraordinary, new opportunity for CPCC students in our Automotive Systems Technology program and one that will set them up for success in a growing field. Clearly, the automobile industry is moving toward all-electric systems and greater sustainability. CPCC students will be on the cutting-edge of this industrial shift.”

A Tesla student works on a tire March 28 at Central Piedmont Community College. Photo by Darnell Vennie/CPCC


Finley is the editor of Carolina College Bound. Send questions or suggestions to hfinley@charlotteobserver.com