S eptember 22, 2017
Commission Update
Sharing how PA's community colleges are responsive to the needs of the local communities they serve.
Pennsylvania CC News
To help college-bound youth who have lived in foster care, the Community College of Philadelphia is among 4 higher education institutions in the Philadelphia region that have partnered with the Field Center for Children's Policy, Practice and Research at the University of Pennsylvania to launch the initial phases of "Foster Care to College" programs across the region.

At Community College of Philadelphia, its single point-of-contact service helps students with resources, emergency support and navigating common obstacles, such as issues with financial aid. Its plan is to strengthen its campus network with representatives from financial aid, advising, counseling, administrators and others.

"As a long-time advocate of foster children, I am encouraged to see the Community College of Philadelphia taking a leadership role in assisting foster children and young adults assimilate into the world of higher education," said State Representative and House Education Committee Chair David Hickernell.  "While my pending legislation ( House Bill 1745) would create a tuition and fee waiver program, including a single point of contact at public institutions for youth in foster care or those who have "aged out" of foster care, the legislative process grinds slowly and these children should not have to wait for assistance. I hope this is a model that other higher education entities across our Commonwealth will work to emulate and help these students be successful in their postsecondary education lives."

The pilot programs stem from a multi-year collaboration among more than 30 child-welfare agencies, independent-living and school-readiness programs, financial-aid agencies and governmental and non-profit organizations across Pennsylvania to develop best practices for recruiting, retaining and support for students transitioning to college from foster care.

In Western PA, Trade Unions, CCs offer Apprenticeship Readiness Program
The commercial construction industry continues to expand in western PA, and the need for skilled tradespeople has never been greater. Construction of power plants, health care facilities, office buildings and mixed-use developments is creating lifelong career opportunities in the construction trades.  In Southwestern Pennsylvania alone, industry estimates indicate that $2 billion will be spent on commercial construction in 2018, and that figure does not include construction of the Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.

To meet this high demand, the construction trade associations of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Westmoreland counties have launched the Apprenticeship Readiness Program (ARP) to help those interested in the trades to successfully apply and be accepted into the tuition-free apprenticeship training programs offered by the region's 16 construction trade unions and their partner contractors. A total of 80 students will be trained at Community College of Allegheny County, Community College of Beaver County, Butler County Community College and Westmoreland County Community College. Each college will host a readiness program and will provide training using a nationally-recognized curriculum from North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU).
When William Neusidl started his freshman year at  Northampton Community College last month, he had no trouble finding his way around the campus.

That's because he's been attending NCC's Horizons for Youth program since he was in kindergarten. After aging out of the program, Neusidl, 18, of Bethlehem Township, began volunteering throughout his high school years.

Each year, the Horizons program serves nearly 3,000 students in kindergarten through ninth grade, offering them a chance to discover, play, learn and explore topics from Star Wars to cooking. And Neusidl is not the only Horizons participant to follow this path and many opt to come back as counselors, according to the college.

NCC offers programs on all three of its campuses from Bethlehem Township to Monroe County. All summer, kids get to choose from a set of different weekly classes to delve into from nine to noon each day, said Carrie Hirschman, NCC assistant director of youth programs.

NCC offers a wrap around program for the afternoons, which is more like a camp setting. "It is about exposing kids to something new and different and getting them excited," Hirschman said. "We use the resources at the college. They can be in our pottery lab. They can be in our theater... our science labs."

When it came time to decide on where to go to college, Neusidl didn't hestitate.
"You grow up on this college campus and you're like, 'that's where I want to go,'" Neusidl said.

Approximately 100 middle-school students and their families from the Harrisburg and Steelton-Highspire school districts participated in second annual Harrisburg Promise picnic held in the Rose Garden at the Harrisburg Campus of
HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College.
Woven into the fun activities set to the soft background beat of DJ Salsómano G's music was a life-changing message: "YOUR future is truly our focus."
The theme was emphasized during a brief welcome from HACC President John J. "Ski" Sygielski, Ed.D., and Senghor Manns, CEO of the Harrisburg Housing Authority. Joining them were Sybil Knight-Burney and Travis Waters, superintendents of the Harrisburg and Steelton-Highspire school districts, respectively.
Sygielski led the crowd in rousing cheers for "HACC! HACC!" as the future for the students enrolled in the Harrisburg Promise, an initiative launched in 2016 to provide pathways to postsecondary education with mentoring and career guidance beginning in seventh grade and throughout high school.
When asked by Sygielski to share some of their future goals, the students listed medical doctor, artist, pediatric surgeon, computer engineer, astronaut, construction, biologist and dentist.
Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for a Harrisburg Promise Scholarship through the HACC Foundation. The HACC Foundation has a goal of raising $150,000 by 2020 to establish the Harrisburg Promise Scholarship for students who successfully complete the program and enter HACC as a first-year student. 
National Higher Ed News Roundup