January 19, 2018
Commission Update
Sharing how PA's community colleges are responsive to the needs of the local communities they serve.

Pennsylvania CC News

A new pathway for students to complete college courses towards an associate degree will expose students to  Pennsylvania Highlands Community College through t he Accelerated College Education, or ACE. Students can begin their postsecondary pathway while still in high school through the Pennsylvania Highlands Academy. Students will complete up to 28 dual enrollment credits and complete their credential at Penn Highlands upon graduation from high school. This affordable, accessible model will include typical college student supports such as advising to help students succeed and meet the rigorous expectations of the college experience.
Pennsylvania House Members join Community College of Beaver County Panel Discussion on Workforce Development
Pennsylvania House Members Rep. Robert Matzie, Rep. Michael Sturla, and Rep. Frank Burns joined a panel discussion on workforce development at the Community College of Beaver County
. The gathering focused on informing policymakers on the advantages of the programs and curriculum at the Community College of Beaver County to galvanize the construction and manufacturing trades as the Shell Chemical company seeks to employ trained workforce for the new ethylene cracker plant. Rep. Matzie noted Pennsylvania policymakers must supplement local efforts to galvanize the workforce in high-demand roles in energy, advanced manufacturing, building and construction trades in order strengthen economic development in the Commonwealth.
PA Community Colleges Receive NSF Award
The National Science Foundation awards grants to improve retention and completion in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) allowing students to enter the workforce. NSF receives more than 48,000 proposals annually; this year, a number of PA community colleges were successful in receiving funding to support growth in science and engineering education programs and research. Specifically, the grants support students who are academically talented and financially underprivileged. Due to the NSF grants, students who qualify will have unique learning experiences and scholarships will help them complete their associate degree or transfer to a university.
Lehigh Carbon Community College received a five-year, $1 Million grant to provide scholarships for talented, low-income students to complete STEM programs and earn a degree or transfer to a university.

Delaware County Community College received $650,000 to help STEM participants in learning cohorts access educational and professional pathways in the Engineering and Mathematics/Natural Science programs. Students will encounter the unique benefits of learning in state of the art educational facilities, engaging through mentorships, and gaining exposure through seminars and field trips.
Luzerne County Community College nursing students can transfer more easily to Bloomsburg University to earn a bachelor's degree. The affordable and accessible option will help current students and graduates from Luzerne's associate degree in nursing program enter the RN-BSN career pathway. Students must meet the minimum GPA and have passed the National Council Licensure Examination to qualify.
This spring, Dr. Anna D. Weitz will retire after more than a decade of leading
Reading Area Community College . She was named Newsmaker of the Year by the Reading Eagle on behalf of the numerous accomplishments during her tenure to advance student success in careers across the spectrum. She included general education course requirements in technology courses and helped the Miller Center for the arts become a magnet for professional theatrical performers.
Over the past decade, RACC faced the same challenges as institutions across the nation when enrollment trends began to fall, but Dr. Weitz ensured the college responded to the needs of all students. Support services were increased and registration was streamlined. As a result, enrollment increased two years in a row. Additional efforts include upgrading science labs and the creation of a satellite campus which offers evening courses in Spring Township.  Dr. Weitz also supported the professional development of the college's faculty and staff. She previously served as president of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. Students attending RACC under Dr. Wetiz's tenure, and those who enroll for many years to come, all positively benefit from her leadership.
The Master Builders Association and Builders Guild will host a career workshop with numerous organizations, including the  Community College of Allegheny County , to help fill the construction and commercial trade workforce needs. Jobs continue to grow as current labor force retires out of the field and expansion of manufacturing continues to create opportunities in Western Pennsylvania.
  PA Community College Student Success  


National Higher Ed News Roundup

More students need to use support services to be prepared for careers
Tapping Apprenticeships to address the skills gap
Congress Considering Higher Education Act Reauthorization