March 16, 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

Gov. Tom Wolf recently awarded more than $950,000 to postsecondary institutions across the state in an effort to curb sexual assault on college campuses. 

The #ItsOnUs grant recipients included:  Community College of Allegheny County HACC - Central Pennsylvania's Community College and  Community College of Philadelphia .

The colleges will use the funding to establish programs ranging from campus-wide training for students, faculty and staff to institutional campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the sexual assault reporting process.

After graduating from high school in 2008, Tim Semonich went to work at a factory. He drove fork lifts and packed goods. He knew he had to make a change, and  Northampton Community College helped make that goal a reality.

Tim's pathway to higher education was a challenge. He remembers leaving home as a teenager, packing his belongings in a white trash bag and sleeping in a park. He enrolled at  NCC and graduated in 2013 before continuing his education at Moravian College.

After only a year working at Nucor Steel, the largest steel producer in the U.S., Tim was recently promoted to district sales manager, reporting to 13 mills in five states. Keeping workers on the job is a huge priority for him.  "That's really what I'm working to do," he said. "I'm making good money, but that seems almost secondary to the fact that I'm responsible for keeping other people in work."

Once homeless, Tim is now giving back. He recently initiated a "Pay it Forward" yearly scholarship at  NCC , committing to fund it for five years.

The Food for Thoughts food pantry opened this year at  Westmoreland County Community College 's Youngwood campus with the goal of helping students who did not have easy access to food.

It was a celebration for not only the college, but for the graduate who created it. Emily Faulds, who graduated in 2017 with an associate degree in business management, came up with the idea for the pantry in one of her marketing classes. The college held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the facility in February 2018.

"I am so proud of what Emily has done," said Dr. Tuesday Stanley, college president. "It is incumbent upon us to make sure our students are successful holistically."

The pantry relies on donations from college faculty and staff. It is open to all students, no questions asked.

PA Community College nursing graduates by the numbers

National higher education news roundup