September 10, 2019
Volume 1 | Issue 36
Your Weekly Commission Update
Community colleges play an important role in educating and training current and future generations of workers,
in addition to providing affordable and responsive higher education to thousands of Pennsylvanians every year.
Online Textbooks Makes College More Affordable for Students
The Community College of Beaver County is the first nonprofit college in Pennsylvania to make most of its course materials available online for one, more reasonable fee. The average student spends more than $1,200 on textbooks a year. The cost of course materials is a barrier to higher education for many students.
Butler Firefighters are Prepared Thanks to Community College
Firefighters in Butler County receive training on how to respond to explosions like the one that recently occurred in Kentucky.  Butler County Community College's public safety training program provides free training off-site and at the on-campus public safety training facility, which has two training simulators. 
Meet Betsy: Full-Time Mother and Community College Student
Betsy Espinosa, a business administration student, was going through a tough time when a HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, professor pushed her beyond her self-imposed writing limitations to truly think outside the box. It turns out, her hardest semester was also her most rewarding semester.
New Recruits Prep for Critical Job
Good luck to Matthew Dudeck, Kevin Mann and James Starosta, who were recently sworn-in as new Wilkes-Barre Township Fire Department 
Station 188 recruits and will attend the Public Safety Institute at  Luzerne County Community College. Prior to graduating in January 2020, they will receive training with a standard higher than most firefighters in the county.
Washington Post Says Community College "Should be First Choice, Not Last Resort"
"Repeat after me: My child is not a failure if he or she starts out at a community college," says 
Washington Post  reporter  Michelle Singletary in her recent article , "Community college should be a first choice, not a last resort."

As she correctly notes, saving money on tuition is more important than ever. Outstanding student loans for the first quarter of 2019 were $1.49 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Household Debt and Credit report.
Community College of Philadelphia Alumna is Featured
Congrats to  Community College of Philadelphia alumna and writer  Aja Beech  on your recent profile in Generocity ! She’s an essayist, op-ed and freelance writer whose byline has appeared at WHYY , PennLive , Al Día News and Huffington Post , among others. In addition, her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize .

We particularly love this part of the Q&A, "I think it is important that people... understand what community college has to offer, some of the most important learning of my life occurred there."
Birthdays & Milestones
Hope you Enjoy a Fabulous Year!
Our Birthday column is on hiatus and will return (and likely be quite robust) the week of September 16. Until then, we wish all you early-September babies a very Happy Birthday!

Did we miss someone? Birthday submissions are welcomed to media@pacommunitycolleges.org .