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Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges Applaud Proposed Increase in College Funding

For Immediate Release                                            

February 9, 2016                                                                                                                                     

Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges Applaud Proposed Increase in College Funding

HARRISBURG— The leaders of Pennsylvania’s 14 public community colleges are applauding Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget proposal, which recommends increased operating funds for the colleges over current levels. The additional funding will help the colleges to serve the educational and workforce needs of their communities and preserve access to higher education.

Last year, Pennsylvania’s community colleges served nearly 314,000 students from every county in Pennsylvania, and conferred 16,071 awards – 55% of them in STEM fields.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are key providers of higher education and workforce training in our communities. The $22.1 million increase in funding proposed by Governor Wolf would help to ensure that community college remains accessible and affordable for Pennsylvanians,” said Tom Leary, President of Luzerne County Community College and Board Chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “We look forward to working together with the Wolf Administration and the General Assembly to pass a budget that includes increased funding for Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.”

Governor Wolf’s budget recommends a total of $237.773 million in funding for community college operations. Community college capital funding is expected to remain stable. The proposed funding would begin to reverse both the effects of the dramatic cut in funding to the colleges in the 2011-12 fiscal year, and the effects of years of funding that has failed to keep pace with inflation.

“Governor Wolf’s budget proposal is a step in the right direction for community college funding,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Investing in community colleges is a valuable strategy for the Commonwealth to grow economic development, workforce training and access to a quality, affordable education in Pennsylvania.”

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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.

 

 

Pennsylvania Community Colleges Celebrate Community College Completion Challenge Week at Capitol

For Immediate Release                                             Media Contact:  Danielle Gross

October 19, 2015                                                        

Pennsylvania Community Colleges Celebrate Community College Completion Challenge Week at Capitol 

HARRISBURG— Pennsylvania’s Community College Caucus, together with the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, held a joint press conference at the state Capitol building today to celebrate Pennsylvania’s first-ever “Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge (PAC4) Week,” observed from October 19-23, 2015.

As part of PAC4 Week, student members of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapters at Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges have planned more than 84 events at 23 campuses 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, faculty and staff have also been asked to sign the pledge, committing themselves to do whatever they can to facilitate completion of student credentials.

On Wednesday, October 14, Senator Bob Mensch, co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Community College Caucus, introduced a resolution recognizing the first annual Pennsylvania Community College Completion Challenge Week. The measure was adopted by the Senate unanimously.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are grateful for the leadership of our Community College Caucus co-chairs Senator Bob Mensch, Senator Lisa Boscola, Representative James Roebuck and Representative Jim Marshall and for the support of the Community College Caucus in spearheading awareness of this and other community college issues in the Legislature,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.  “When community college students complete their degree or certificate, their earnings potential grows, and they are more attractive to employers. We hope that Pennsylvania’s community college students will hear the message spread by Phi Theta Kappa chapters and commit to complete their degree or certificate.”

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 recent issue paper 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. Pennsylvania is among 20 states with a statewide C4 initiative.

“Phi Theta Kappa is proud to partner with the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges to promote college credential completion,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Interim Executive Director of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. “It is our hope that this week of completion events will be the start of an important conversation among students, faculty and staff, college administrators and community leaders. Our goal is to support students and educate them on the importance of completing their education in order to earn the credentials needed to build a stronger Pennsylvania workforce.”

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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.

 

PA Community Colleges Testify Before House Subcommittee

For Immediate Release                                             Media Contact: Danielle Gross

May 28, 2015                                                           

 

PA Community Colleges Testify before House Subcommittee

on Technical Education and Career Readiness

 

READING, PA – A panel representing Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges testified before a House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness at Reading Area Community College Thursday, sharing how the community colleges are providing Pennsylvanians with access to affordable, high-quality postsecondary workforce training that offers students several pathways to careers and is aligned with industry needs. This was the second hearing of the House Subcommittee on Technical Education and Career Readiness, which has been tasked with examining readiness surrounding career and technical education in the state.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to share some of the many success stories from Pennsylvania’s community colleges,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President/CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Community colleges have collaborated with educational and business partners for more than 50 years to provide education and workforce training to their communities.  We support statewide policies to expand career readiness, education and technical training programs so that Pennsylvania’s workforce has the skills and training needed by employers throughout the Commonwealth.”

Joining Bolden on the panel was Dr. Doug Jensen, Vice President, Economic Development and Chief Executive Officer for the Advanced Technology Center at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC). Jensen’s testimony included information about some of WCCC’s collaborations with employers and WCCC’s Advanced Technology Center High School Academy, which is a partnership between the 17 Westmoreland County school districts and four Career and Technology Centers in the region that provides a pathway for students to obtain highly marketable technical skills.

Dr. Karen Kozachyn, Dean, Workforce Development and Community Education at Delaware County Community College (DCCC), told the panel of DCCC’s partnership of more than 20 years with the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The college is now a partner in three Technical College High Schools in Jennersville, Brandywine, and Phoenixville, which develop career pathways for students. At the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year, a total of 244 high school students enrolled in college course through this partnership, earning a total of 1,080 credits.

Dr. Stephen Waller, Interim Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost and Assistant Dean of Science and Mathematics at Reading Area Community College (RACC), shared information on RACC’s new partnership with Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania to allow students the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Technical Leadership from Bloomsburg University at the RACC campus. Waller also discussed the Berks County Technical Academy, which allows high school technical students to earn up to 27 college credits at a free or reduced tuition rate, as well as RACC’s engagement with Project Lead the Way, a pre-engineering program to start to build a bridge for engineering-track high school students to transition to RACC’s applied engineering programs.

Also represented at the hearing were representatives from the Pennsylvania Association of Private School Administrators (PAPSA), the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), Pennsylvania College of Technology, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF).

View testimony and handouts:

Elizabeth Bolden’s written testimony

Dr. Doug Jensen’s written testimony

WCCC handout on stacked credentials

Dr. Karen Kozachyn’s written testimony

Dr. Stephen Waller’s written testimony

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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 Board Elects Executive Committee

PA Commission for Community Colleges Board Elects Executive Committee

HARRISBURG – The Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) elected new offers to its Executive Committee at the Commission’s Annual Meeting on April 13 in Harrisburg.

Named as officers to the Executive Committee of PACCC’s Board of Directors are: Chair Thomas P. Leary, President of Luzerne County Community College; Vice Chair Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt, President of Bucks County Community College; Secretary Kimberly D. Geyer, Trustee of Butler County Community College; and Treasurer Robert Fehnel, Trustee of Northampton Community College.

“This Board of Directors includes leaders who are committed to expanding student success, access and affordability across the state, and I look forward to working with them over the next two years,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President and CEO of PACCC.

The Board of Directors is the governing body of PACCC. Executive Committee members serve two-year terms, beginning on July 1, 2015.

“I am pleased to hand over leadership of the Commission Board to Tom Leary,” said Dr. Nicholas C. Neupauer, outgoing PACCC Board Chair and President of Butler County Community College. “He has a clear understanding of the issues faced by Pennsylvania’s community colleges, as evidenced by his long tenure at Luzerne County Community College, and is passionate about meeting the needs of LCCC students and the community.”

Leary, whose term as Vice Chair of the PACCC board concludes on June 30, began his career at Luzerne County Community College more than thirty years ago as Assistant Director of Admissions. During his career, he has served in several senior leadership positions.

In February, 2008, Leary was inaugurated as the sixth President of the College. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor of History and Political Science.

“I look forward to working with my fellow presidents in our continued efforts to ensure that a community college education remains the most accessible and affordable option for receiving a quality post-secondary education,” said Leary. “With the support of the Commission, we will carry on our work of identifying and implementing measures to support the success of our students across the state.”

Dr. Stephanie Shanblatt begins her first term as a member of PACCC’s Board of Directors as Vice Chair. Shanblatt is the fourth president of Bucks County Community College, having joined the college in October 2012 following a unanimous vote by the college’s board of trustees.

Prior to coming to Bucks, Shanblatt served for 13 years in leadership roles at Lansing Community College in Michigan, the last three years as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. Shanblatt was also a member of the National Advisory Committee on Improving Outcomes for Men of Color in Community Colleges.

This is Secretary Kimberly D. Geyer’s first appointment to the PACCC Board of Directors. She has been a member of the Butler County Community College Board of Trustees since July 2011, and has served on the Trustee Finance Committee and the Trustee Quality Assessment Committee. Geyer is also a member of the BC3 Education Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors. She has been involved in public education for many years, serving on the Mars Area School Board for 12 years, and on the Midwestern Intermediate Unite 4 Board of Directors. In 2010, Geyer was recognized by the Pennsylvania Senate for contributions to education policy throughout the Commonwealth.

Geyer is a graduate of Butler County Community College where she earned an associate degree in liberal arts. She currently serves as Vice-President at Geyer Construction and as a Policy Analyst and Consultant at Mars Research & Retrieval Services.

The 2015-17 term marks Treasurer Robert Fehnel’s second election as Treasurer of the PACCC Board of Directors. He was elected chairman of the Northampton Community College (NCC) Board of Trustees in August of 2014, after serving as vice chairman for ten years. Fehnel has served on the NCC Board for nearly thirty years, including 25 as chair of the Board’s Finance and College Facilities Committee.

Fehnel’s commitment to community service and public education can also be seen in his 28 years of service on local school boards, including 20 years as president of the Wilson Area School Board and his recent election to the Easton Area School Board. He is a graduate of Northampton Community College, where he earned an associate degree in applied science. He is employed as the director of print and mail operations for Berkheimer One Source in Bethlehem, PA.

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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.

Two PA Community College Students Receive Prestigious National Award

HARRISBURG – Two community college students from Pennsylvania – Rachel Lee from Reading Area Community College (RACC) and Aaron Rosengarten from Northampton Community College (NCC) – are among 20 students nationwide who have been named to the 2015 All-USA Community College Academic Team by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

The honor, which comes with a $2,500 scholarship, recognizes high-achieving two-year college students who demonstrate academic excellence and intellectual rigor combined with leadership and service that extends their education beyond the classroom to benefit society.

Sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, with support from the American Association of Community Colleges, this year’s winners – who must have been nominated by his or her college – were chosen from a pool of more than 1,500 students nominated by more than 800 community colleges.

Lee and Rosengarten were both named to the 2015 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team by the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) and Phi Theta Kappa and were honored at an awards banquet in Harrisburg last week. Rosengarten was also named PA’s New Century Scholar by PACCC and Phi Theta Kappa.

“Rachel and Aaron are prime examples of what community college students can accomplish in Pennsylvania,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of PACCC. “We are so proud of their achievements and look forward to seeing where their future academic endeavors may lead.”

Rachel Lee, who graduates from RACC on May 8, is a distinguished scholar who has already received prestigious academic accolades. She was named “Outstanding Presenter” at the Beacon Conference for Two Year Scholars in both 2013 and 2014 for her research into intentional communities and the culture of competition, as well as schizophrenia’s manifestation in individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Lee aspires to become an adolescent psychologist who works with teenagers who suffer from addiction, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and/or stressful home environments. She is planning on continuing her education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree, but has not yet decided upon the institution at this time.

Rosengarten graduates from NCC on May 21, and will attend West Chester University in the fall, where he intends to study political science. He aspires to become a constitutional lawyer, and then seek public office, eventually earning a doctorate. When he graduated from high school in 2012, Rosengarten was accepted to several other institutions of higher learning, but ultimately chose NCC as the smartest financial decision. At NCC, he was a member of the school’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and is this year’s chapter President. He also served on the college’s Academic Appeals and Disciplinary Committees, helped start NCC’s Ban the Bottle Initiative, and was involved with launching NCC’s Day of Service, which encourages NCC students to volunteer in the local community.

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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.

PA Community College Advocates Converge on Capitol for Annual Lobby Day

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For Immediate Release  

Media Contact:  Danielle Gross

P: (717)232-7584 C: (717)418-9001

dgross@pacommunitycolleges.org

April 14, 2015

 

PA Community College Advocates Converge on Capitol for Annual Lobby Day 

HARRISBURG – Hundreds of students, trustees, faculty and staff from Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges joined together at the Capitol today to advocate an adequate funding level in the upcoming FY 15-16 budget as part of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges’ annual Lobby Day.

The colleges are asking for a $15 million increase in state funding in this year’s budget, which will allow them to continue to offer quality academic and workforce programming.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges play a key role in the state’s education and workforce development systems,” said Dr. Nick Neupauer, President of Butler County Community College and Board Chair for the Commission.  “The colleges offer accessible, affordable, high quality education and workforce programs in communities across the state and contribute to the Commonwealth’s economic growth and global competitiveness. The colleges depend on state appropriations to continue their work and to ensure that a postsecondary education remains an affordable option for thousands of students across the Commonwealth.”

In the 2013-14 academic year, Pennsylvania’s community colleges enrolled 344,000 students from all 67 counties in the state, making community colleges the largest providers of higher education in Pennsylvania.  In that same year, they provided a foundation for more than 25,000 students who sought transfer to four-year institutions, and provided workforce training for more than 38,000 Pennsylvanians to either acquire new skills or upgrade existing skills.

“Community Colleges are an affordable launching pad for students as they begin their pathway to a career,” said Senator Lisa Boscola, Democratic Chair of the Senate Community College Caucus. “They are also a re-launching pad for individuals that have to change careers, or need continued learning at any age. So I will continue to work with the Community Colleges Commission and my colleagues here in Harrisburg, to find adequate funding solutions and resources for these invaluable schools.”

Community colleges provide an estimated $41.84 in direct and indirect economic benefits for each dollar in public investment by the state’s taxpayers, which Senator Lloyd Smucker calls “one of the greatest returns on investment of any educational institution.”

“Community colleges are connecting students with jobs,” said Smucker.  And not just any jobs—to high-paying, high-priority jobs, where employers are struggling to find skilled workers.  Community colleges are one of the most powerful engines of economic development in Pennsylvania.”

Representative Jim Marshall serves as the Republican Chair of the House Community College Caucus, and voiced his support for the colleges. “It is clear that community colleges are a cost-effective gateway to future success for countless students across the Commonwealth,” said Marshall.

In addition to the rally, approximately 300 Pennsylvania community college students spent the day visiting with their local legislators to advocate on behalf of the community colleges’ FY 15-16 budget request. The colleges also set up displays highlighting the varied, cutting-edge subjects that community college students Pennsylvania are studying, including 3-D printing, unmanned aerial vehicles, teaching STEM through guitar-making, and a robot that students have programmed to do a variety of movements, including the “Thriller” dance.

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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.

 

PA Community Colleges Honor Exceptional Students

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For Immediate Release                                            

Media Contact:  Danielle Gross

P: (717)232-7584 C: (717)418-9001

dgross@pacommunitycolleges.org

April 14, 2015                                                                 

PA Community Colleges Honor Exceptional Students

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges honored the 21st Annual All-Pennsylvania Academic Team at an awards banquet on Monday, April 13 in Harrisburg. The awards recognize an exceptional group of community college students who have achieved excellence and demonstrated a commitment to their colleges and communities.

The 2015 All-PA Team consists of 44 outstanding community college scholars from across the Commonwealth. They are an exceptionally diverse group, ranging from a teenager who will receive her high school diploma and associate’s degree within a span of two weeks, to a grandmother of four. These students are a testament to the community colleges’ mission that was created over 50 years ago: to provide an accessible and affordable path to higher education for all Pennsylvanians.

Pennsylvania’s community colleges partner with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities to provide scholarships to All-PA Team members at PASSHE institutions.

PASSHE Chancellor Frank T. Brogan describes the All-PA Team as “an exceptional program,” adding, “Since 2001, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education has assisted nearly 300 students through this program. We are proud to be a participant, and to be able to provide tuition assistance to team members who will go on to attend one of our 14 universities.”

Twenty nine of this year’s team members intend to transfer to PASSHE institutions, and 35 of them intend to pursue postgraduate education in a wide range of fields.

The student receiving the highest All-USA Community College Academic Team application score in each state is named a Coca-Cola New Century Scholar. Aaron Rosengarten of Northampton Community College is this year’s recipient of the honor, and a $2,000 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Educational Foundation.

“Northampton has excellent resources and fosters a supportive environment. If it weren’t for the numerous opportunities at the college, I may not have been where I am at right now,” said Rosengarten. “Being nominated for the PA Academic Team was a very proud moment because it’s such a prestigious award that recognizes not only academic achievement, but community involvement as well.”

The Team also includes 5 Coca-Cola Gold Scholars, representing 10% of the total gold scholars nationwide, who will receive $1,500 scholarships, as well as 3 Coca-Cola Silver Scholars, who will receive $1,250 scholarships.

Dr. Karen Morris-Priester, an alumna of HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, served as the evening’s Distinguished Alumni Speaker. Dr. Morris-Priester is an anesthesiologist at Coordinated Health in Allentown who grew up in a housing project in Harrisburg, and aspired to be the first in her family to attend college, a dream that was put on hold as she started a family. Years later, as a single mother of five with a full-time job, she enrolled in nursing school at HACC, moving on to York College of Pennsylvania for a bachelor’s degree. In 2007, she became the first grandmother to graduate from Yale School of Medicine, and was honored on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Dr. Morris Priester, who devotes a substantial portion of her time to mentoring young people interested in pursuing higher education, shared the challenges she faced on her path to a medical degree. “”Life can knock you down. It’s up to you whether you stay there,” said Priester.

The following students were honored at Monday’s banquet:

Community College of Allegheny County

Hashim Ahmed

Jennifer Alspaugh, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar

Emily Burks

Lianna Coholich

Cassie Gartin, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar.

Megan McMonagle

Eric Reiche

Melissa Suehr

Community College of Beaver County

Katie Fisher

Danielle Suman

Bucks County Community College

Marie Helstrom

Christina Smith

Butler County Community College

Andrea Dean

Jenna Massaro

Delaware County Community College

Elizabeth Betancourt

Nathanaelle Dubreuil

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College

Bryce Detweiler

Quyen Do

Christine Hallman

Theresa Kings

Darice Mayhew

Lehigh Carbon Community College

Michael Colarusso, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar

Chelsea Simonson

Luzerne County Community College

Jamie Derr

Ariel Harro

Montgomery County Community College

Kendra Houck, Coca-Cola Silver Scholar

Heidi Hunsberger, Coca-Cola Silver Scholar

Caitlin Moser

Angelina Sirak

Northampton Community College

Rachel Cimera

Steven Davanzo, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar

Carla Garis, Coca-Cola Gold Scholar

Aaron Rosengarten, Coca-Cola New Century Scholar

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

Cassidy Belle

Jennifer Biggs

Danielle Close

Michaela Hanlon

R. Patrick Lehman, Coca-Cola Silver Scholar

Community College of Philadelphia

Kouame Yannick Aka

Lizette Lewis

Reading Area Community College

Rachel Lee

Cherylann McGuire

Westmoreland County Community College

Casey Jarding

Rachael Marks

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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.

PA Commission for Community Colleges Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting 2015

April 13-14

April 13: Harrisburg Hilton

April 14: Lobby Day at the Capitol

Contact the Commission for more information.