May 4, 2018
Commission Update

Sharing how PA's community colleges are responsive to the needs of the local communities they serve.

News from Pennsylvania's community colleges

In the next decade, the talent pool of skilled workers to fill high-demand jobs in certain industries has declined due to the retirement of many people in the baby boomer generation.

However, community colleges are working hard to develop programs to help fill industry needs. An example is at Delaware County Community College, which just announced a new Process Operator Academy to train workers to be process operators in petroleum, chemical, pharmaceutical, food and other industries.

Process operators oversee, monitor and maintain equipment, including valves, fittings, and pressure and measurement devices to ensure smooth work flow and state and federal regulatory and safety compliance. Braskem America provided funding for the eight-week, noncredit program and Braskem and Eastern Controls, Inc. helped DCCC create the curriculum.

The median salary for a process operator is $28.33 per hour, according the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. To learn more about DCCC's new Process Operator Academy, call 610-359-5137.

People looking to learn or advance their skills can do just that at Northampton Community College's newly opened Easton Educational Outreach Center.

NCC plans to work closely with Easton's CareerLink office to determine what services and skills are most needed in the community. To start, the college is offering noncredit courses, including many options for micro-credentialing. The college will be working on bringing for-credit general education courses to the facility to help people jump-start their education.

Training will range from manufacturing and industrial to hospitality, public safety, health care and computer skills, according to Lauren Loeffler, vice president of workforce development and community education at NCC.

William "Don" Thomas will make history May 16 when he graduates and becomes the most senior student to graduate from Butler County Community College.

The 80-year-old Saxonburg resident, an Air Force veteran, will receive his associate of arts degree in history at BC3's 50 th commencement exercises. The milestone underscores how Pennsylvania community colleges serve students of all ages, from high school graduates to an octogenarian.

"I had to give the effort," Don told The New Castle News. "I earned it. I worked. I said, 'You provide. I provide.' And the net result? A degree. They didn't hand it to me."

BC3 President Dr. Nick Neupauer said he's inspired by Don's determination.

"It is never too late to get an education," Dr. Neupauer said. "No matter what your age, education is a great route to improving yourself, your role in society and your role locally."

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