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Statement on PA State System of Higher Education Chancellor

“Each year, nearly 8,000 community college students across the Commonwealth transfer to a state system university to continue their education, so it is imperative that Pennsylvania has a robust four-year public university system with strong leadership. That’s why we’re pleased that the state system has selected Dan Greenstein to fill the role of Chancellor for the 14 institutions that represent one option for our students to continue their education,” said Elizabeth A. Bolden, President & CEO for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “As the largest provider of higher education in the state, we are eager to work together with Chancellor Greenstein and the state system institutions to ensure that all Pennsylvania students have access to high-quality, affordable public postsecondary opportunities.”

Community College Partnerships Offer Opportunities to High School Students

By Margaret Anderson, Promotions Writer at Community College of Allegheny County

Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and Penn Hills School District have partnered to offer high school students an opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.

The College in High School (CIHS) program offers an alternative to the traditional method of taking the Advanced Placement (AP) exam administered by The College Board. The following CIHS courses are now offered through CCAC at the high school:

  • AP United States History
  • AP European History
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Studio Art

Students who register with CCAC and earn a “C” or better in the course will receive college credit that can be applied toward a CCAC degree program or may be transferred to another college. Penn Hills School District is covering the cost of tuition for successfully completed CIHS courses. Through this partnership, Penn Hills High School students save a considerable amount of money while getting a head start on their college careers.

Additionally, CCAC’s Washington County Center and Trinity High School have established an articulation agreement that enables Trinity students to earn CCAC credit while in high school. CCAC also provides CIHS courses through the following schools:

  • Bethel Park High School
  • Cornerstone Christian Preparatory Academy
  • Gateway High School
  • Urban Pathways 6-12 Charter School

College-bound high school students also have the opportunity to develop advanced technical skills and earn college credit toward an associate degree while still in high school through CCAC Dual Enrollment Academies.

CCAC is committed to expanding its partnerships with school districts, and the appointment of Andrew Johnson to the new position of Executive Director of Community Partnerships and External Affairs will serve to enhance these working relationships.

Statement on Gov. Wolf’s New Budget Secretary

Statement on Gov. Wolf’s New Budget Secretary

Governor Tom Wolf recently announced the appointment of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College alumna Jen Swails as budget secretary. She brings more than 19 years of fiscal and policy experience in state government and serves as a testament that quality education at one of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges can help prepare you to continue your education or move forward in any career,” said Elizabeth A. Bolden, President & CEO for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “We wish Ms. Swails the best of luck as she transitions into her new role in 2019.”

PA Commission for Community Colleges Welcomes New Communications Director

PA Commission for Community Colleges
Welcomes New Communications Director

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges President & CEO Elizabeth Bolden today announced that Carolyn Simpson has joined the Commission as Director of Communications.

In this role, Simpson will help advance the interests of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges and advocate for the Commonwealth’s community colleges with one, unified voice. She will be responsible for communicating quality achievements and data with policymakers, the media and other key audiences; creating and sustaining relationships with internal and external audiences and partners; and facilitating the exchange of information among the colleges and their various staff organizations.

“With experience in local, state and national public relations, launching and managing social media presences and writing, editing, and developing collateral materials, Carolyn will be a strong addition to the Commission team,” said Bolden. “She will be an asset as we communicate our vision of increasing the workforce readiness skills and educational attainment level of Pennsylvanians to create a productive workforce and vibrant economy.”

Simpson most recently served as Deputy Director of Communications under Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Other professional experience includes her work at SpiriTrust Lutheran®, a York-based non-profit; Sacunas, a Harrisburg-based advertising agency; and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Simpson earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Kutztown University. She currently serves as Treasurer for the Pennsylvania Public Relations Society, is a past president of the International Association of Business Communicators Harrisburg Chapter and is a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges. Members include college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators. The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers. For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

Statement on Closure of Brightwood Career Institute

Statement on Closure of Brightwood Career Institute

“All Pennsylvania community colleges are ready to assist students whose education is unfortunately disrupted by such closures,” said Elizabeth A. Bolden, President & CEO for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Community colleges are committed to increasing access to quality, affordable higher education in Pennsylvania.”

Statement on the Passing of Dr. Jerry Parker

Statement on the passing of Dr. Jerry Parker,
former president of Delaware County Community College

“An inspiring visionary who advanced the mission and success of community colleges in Delaware County and across the Commonwealth, Dr. Parker had a distinguished career that included leadership roles at the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges and related state organizations,” said Elizabeth A. Bolden, President & CEO for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.

“His keen understanding of the unique role that community colleges play in the lives of students, as well as the positive economic impact these institutions have on the regional and state economies, helped shape some of the most significant policy changes in higher education in Pennsylvania, including changes to operating and capital funding allocations. Dr. Parker’s impact and influence in Delaware County, across Pennsylvania and throughout the nation will continue to be demonstrated by those who were fortunate enough to learn from him.”

Statement on Senate Resolution 6 Commission Report

Statement of the PA Commission for Community Colleges
on Senate Resolution 6 Commission Report

Yesterday’s SR6 report outlined serious concerns about the future of First Responders that Pennsylvania community colleges could help address.

First Responder training at Pennsylvania community colleges is among the most respected in the country. Leveraging the expertise of community colleges in our Commonwealth to address this crisis could offer potential solutions to problems outlined in the report.

Pennsylvania Community Colleges Celebrate Community College Completion Challenge Week

HARRISBURG— The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges held a press conference at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College today to celebrate Pennsylvania’s third “Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge (PAC4) Week,” observed from October 16-20.

As part of PAC4 Week, student members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapters have planned events at Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to encourage their classmates to complete their certificate or associate’s degree before leaving community college to transfer to another institution of higher learning or to enter the workforce.

Administrators, trustees, faculty and staff have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to do whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials.  More than 10,000 students, faculty, trustees and staff have signed the pledge since the first PAC4 week in 2015.

On October 3, Representative Jim Marshall, co-chair of the bipartisan House Community College Caucus, introduced a resolution recognizing Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge Week. The measure was adopted by the House unanimously. Today, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge week, introduced by Senator Bob Mensch, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Community College Caucus.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are grateful for the leadership of our Community College Caucus co-chairs Senator Bob Mensch, Senator Lisa Boscola, Representative Jim Marshall and Representative James Roebuck and for the support of the Community College Caucus in spearheading awareness of this and other community college issues in the Legislature,” said Dr. John J. “Ski” Sygielski, President of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College and co-chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.  “It is our hope that PA Community College Completion Challenge Week can help to create a culture of completion at our community colleges – so that our students, their families, and our communities can reap the benefits of an educated workforce and citizenry.”

Studies show that students who complete an associate’s degree earn, on average, $500,000 more throughout their lifetime than those who only have a high school diploma. A  whitepaper from the Lumina Foundation showed that the benefits of degree attainment go far beyond earning power – they are also more likely to remain employed and to have a job that provides health insurance and retirement benefits. On a personal level, they are more likely to report they are in good health, more likely to vote, more likely to volunteer and donate to charitable causes, and their children are more likely to continue their education past the high school level.

PAC4 Week is made possible in part by the support of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which launched the national Phi Theta Kappa Community College Completion Corps in 2010.

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges.  Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators.  The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers.  For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

 

PACCC Statement on Middle Class Task Force

For Immediate Release                                             Media Contact:  Elizabeth Bolden

September 29, 2017                                                   P: (717)232-7584

 Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges Statement on Middle Class Task Force

The Wolf Administration’s convening of the Middle Class Task Force is a promising development, but the task force should also incorporate current research into their findings as they seek to understand how to help Pennsylvania’s middle class.  Higher education and job training are key to supporting both Pennsylvania’s employers and workers.

According to the 2016 Pew Foundation Study, “The State of American Jobs,” more than half (54%) of adults in the labor force say it will be essential for them to get training and develop new skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.  Half of Americans say the purpose of college should be to teach job-related skills, and 85% of respondents rank “soft skills” as critical. These are all areas in which community colleges excel.

Without a doubt, the way the state can better support Pennsylvanians who want to get and keep a Job that Pays is by providing them access to high-quality education and workforce training programs that provide them with the skills that employers need, and which Americans rank as important.

But it has become increasingly difficult for the middle class to access these education and training programs because of cost.  Public postsecondary education in Pennsylvania is among the most expensive in the nation. The average tuition cost at Pennsylvania’s public community colleges is unfortunately among the highest in the nation, in part because of the low levels of state support. An August 2017 study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that higher education spending in Pennsylvania, when adjusted for inflation, decreased by $2,533 per student from 2008-2017 – and ranked 4th among states in the largest proportion of cuts.

Despite community colleges’ critical role in assisting Pennsylvanians – and particularly those with limited financial resources – access life-changing higher education opportunities, the Commonwealth’s FY 17-18 budget failed to provide any funding increase for the community college operating and capital appropriations.  The funding for the colleges was stagnant.  At the same time, the budget increased other education-related appropriations by $442M.

In just three years, it is projected that sixty-three percent of Pennsylvania’s jobs will require at least an associate’s degree or some training beyond high school. Yet many middle class families and students struggle to pay tuition at one of the state’s community colleges, and wonder why paying for a community college education requires them to work and borrow more.  The state’s lagging support for community colleges increases cost of attendance, and reduces the middle class’ ability to obtain a life-changing postsecondary credential.

We understand the Administration’s imperative to not leave the middle class behind. The best way to provide access to the education and training these individuals need is to invest in the providers of that training:  Pennsylvania’s community colleges.  The Commission urges policymakers to reverse the troubling trend of the Commonwealth’s disinvestment in public higher education, thereby providing all Pennsylvanians – and especially those in the middle class – with affordable higher education opportunities.

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a voluntary membership association for Pennsylvania’s community colleges.  Its members include the college presidents, members of the colleges’ boards of trustees, and key college administrators.  The Commission represents the interests of and advocates for the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers.  For more information, please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.

Communications and Social Media RFP

The purpose of this RFP is to solicit proposals from an experienced consultant to assist the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges with communications and social media efforts. The consultant will be
expected to:

  • Work with Commission staff to develop editorial calendars
  • Write, edit and implement content
  • Provide reports and analytics as applicable

You may find the RFP here (pdf version). Word doc here.  Proposals should be submitted by 5:00PM EST, September 8, 2017.