A recently published New America survey shows nearly 85 percent of Americans value community college education. Respondents noted a number of positive contributions of community colleges including: building a strong American workforce, creating success and happiness, and providing a variety of education and workforce needs. The study concludes there is bi-partisan agreement on the quality, affordability, and effectiveness of two-year institutions.
PA policymakers agree. For the 2018-19 fiscal year beginning July 1, PA community colleges will receive increased funding in operating appropriation. Senator Yudichak stated PA community colleges educate employees for "a 21st century job market" with the skilled workforce needed to transform the economy of the Commonwealth. Senator Baker concurred prioritizing education is critical to meeting current and future labor market demands, while improving the lives of PA citizens.
The Keystone Scholars program will provide an initial $100 investment into a PA 529 account for all newborn Pennsylvanian residents at birth and adoptees into Pennsylvania families. The contribution to the child savings program was passed by the General Assembly's FY 2018-19 budget. The purpose of the Keystone Scholars fund, originally co-sponsored by Senators Gordner and Hughes, and Representative Milne, can be applied to higher education expenses at approved higher education institutions, including PA community colleges. A privately funded pilot project offered eligibility for children born in six selected counties: Delaware, Elk, Luzerne, Indiana, Mifflin, or Westmoreland, began in February.
Paralegal students from Lehigh Carbon Community College are successfully working in legal and financial companies or transferring to bachelor's programs upon graduation.
The paralegal studies program prepares students for positions with competitive salaries at banks, real estate firms, law offices and other companies, or additional educational pursuits in political science and public administration or law school.
The solid job market in the Lehigh Valley is responsible for the 68 percent placement of student in legal positions after completion of the associate degree program at Lehigh Carbon.
Bucks Metalwork Training Graduates Recognized
The first class of graduates from the expanded metalwork training program at Bucks County Community College were recognized for earning technical skills necessary for high-wage manufacturing jobs and completing the National Institute of Metalworking Skills certification exam. The training program, funded with US Dept. of Labor's Workforce Innovation Fund, incudes a hybrid of classroom and on-site training at local facilities. The college's Center for Workforce Development has success in placing students in the workforce, due to partnerships with over 60 local manufacturing partners.
The Sustainability and Innovation Hub at Montgomery County Community College hosted a community-focused career fair to introduce community members to local companies, provide financial literacy advice, and resume evaluation. Programs and training opportunities at the college were also featured. The event offered health screenings, a farmers' market and a 5K race.
Awards and Recognitions
The National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development's 27th Annual Higher Education Conference in Austin, TX included the tradition of conferring awards to institutions which demonstrate exceptional dedication to advancement of student success. The 2018 Excellence Award recipients from the Commonwealth were the Community College of Allegheny County: HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College; Montgomery County Community College.
Associate Professor Nicole Ernst of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College was among women recognized at the 2018 Women in Technology Awards. Professor Ernst was presented the Education Impact Award for her positive contributions to the classroom.
Luzerne County Community College
Professor Karen Droms will be recognized for her development of innovative courses to enhance learning with technology during an upcoming conference in Orlando, FL.