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Community Colleges Offer 44 Additional Programs in 2014-15 School Year

HARRISBURG— Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges are offering 44 new programs in the 2014-15 academic year, offering a wide range of credentials including certificates, diplomas and associate degrees in wide-ranging fields. Among them are new life sciences, mechatronics, unmanned aerial technology and culinary arts programs.

“As the largest public provider of higher education in Pennsylvania, our community colleges are important components in Pennsylvania’s continued workforce development,” says Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “By regularly evaluating local needs and creating new programs, our colleges are helping to create solid jobs and foster innovation in Pennsylvania’s higher education landscape.”

The decision to create new programs at community colleges is not undertaken lightly. It is a multi-step process that accounts for local labor market data; demand in high-priority occupations; student interest; equipment, facility and faculty needs; college strategic plans; and the needs of local employers. Many colleges consult with advisory councils comprised of employers in varying industries. Ultimately, the decision to add new programs rests in the hands of the Board of Trustees at each individual community college.

This is a continuous, ongoing process: many new programs are in the planning stages for addition to course offerings for the 2015-16 academic year. Because the course offerings are managed on a local level, community colleges are able to nimbly respond to needs of their local communities.

For example, the Community College of Beaver County is launching a new Process Technology associate degree program focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. The program goals include increasing the number of highly-skilled, well-educated and diverse process technicians in the region; contributing to a needed workforce should Shell build the proposed ethane cracker plant; and meeting the employment needs of regional industry partners.

The adaptations of colleges to community needs do not only apply to new programs, but the reinstatement of programs placed on hold. At two colleges, an Associate of Applied Science degree in electric utility technology, offered by both Pennsylvania Highlands Community College (Penn Highlands) and Reading Area Community College (RACC) has been reinstated after being placed on hold in 2011 due to the recession. The Colleges have revived their partnerships with FirstEnergy Corp’s Pennsylvania utilities (Penelec, Met-Ed, West Penn Power and Pennsylvania Power) to offer award-winning program to train the next generation of utility substation workers. The programs combine hands-on utility skills at Penelec’s training facilities with academic coursework on the Penn Highlands and RACC campuses.

A full list of the new programs is below.
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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.

Community College of Allegheny County
Mechatronics Technology AS
Mechatronics Technology Certificate
Information Technology Support Certificate
Social Work: Fundamentals of Social Work Foundation Certificate

Community College of Beaver County
Communication AA
Cybersecurity AAS
Robotics and Embedded Systems Certificate
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle AAS

Bucks County Community College
Exercise Science AS

Delaware County Community College
Engineering Technology AS
Skilled Trades AAS
Advanced Technology AAS

HACC – Central Pennsylvania’s Community College
Hospitality & Tourism Management AA
Hospitality & Tourism Management Certificate

Lehigh Carbon Community College
Environmental Science AS
Biology AS
Exercise Science AS
Physics AS
Chemistry AS
Pre-Engineering AS
Diesel Truck Technology Diploma

Montgomery County Community College
Baking & Pastry Arts Certificate
Culinary Arts AAS
Baking & Pastry Arts AAS
Culinary Arts Certificate
Cloud Computing Certificate
Life Sciences AS
Biotechnology Certificate

Northampton Community College
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC/R) and Refrigeration Tech Certificate
Public Health AAS

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College
Environmental Science AS
Healthcare Information Specialist AAS

Community College of Philadelphia
Paralegal Studies Proficiency Cert Certificate
Biology AS
Accounting Paraprofessional Certificate
Entrepreneurship Proficiency Cert Certificate

Reading Area Community College
Information Technology Certificate
Creative Writing Transfer AA
Mechatronics Engineering Technology Certificate
Health Sciences Certificate
Business Academic Certificate
Administrative Office Specialist AAS

Westmoreland County Community College
Fine Arts – Graphic Design AFA
Criminal Justice – Security Professional Certificate

Resources, Opportunities for Veterans Abound at Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges

HARRISBURG— Veterans of the US Armed Services – and their family members – receive a wide range of educational opportunities, benefits and support services at Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges.

“Pennsylvania’s community colleges are dedicated to meeting the unique needs of veterans, their dependents, and those currently serving our country, and we appreciate the service and sacrifice of our servicemembers,” says Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “The array of services provided by our colleges addresses a wide array of issues ranging from academic, to financial, physical and social needs.”

Many schools offer a Resource Center, Service Departments, or office dedicated to services for veterans on their campuses, where veterans, service members and spouses or dependents can receive assistance with their transition to college life, learn about educational benefits and work study opportunities, or meet with other veterans. The departments also provide referrals for campus and community services for veterans. At some colleges, veterans can receive college credit for some of their military training, including basic training.

Seven of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges – Community College of Allegheny County, Bucks County Community College, Butler County Community College, HACC – Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, Northampton Community College, Community College of Philadelphia and Reading Area Community College – were named to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools® list in late October, which means that they exhibit leading practices to support military students.

Five schools have official chapters of the Student Veterans of America: Community College of Allegheny County, Butler County Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Montgomery County of Community College and Community College of Philadelphia. Several other schools have clubs for veterans that are unaffiliated with national groups.

Four schools – Community College of Beaver County, Bucks County Community College, HACC – Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, and Montgomery County Community College – have been selected to participate in the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon Program for the 2014-15 academic year. The program allows approved institutions of higher learning and the VA to partially or fully fund tuition and fee expenses that exceed the established thresholds under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

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Pennsylvania’s Community Colleges Crucial to State’s Manufacturing Industry

HARRISBURG— As manufacturers around the country observe Manufacturing Day tomorrow, Pennsylvania’s community colleges are celebrating their role as educators at the forefront of the modern manufacturing industry. Today’s manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania include highly trained employees who work on state-of-the-art equipment in well-paying jobs.

“Community colleges in Pennsylvania are training today’s skilled manufacturing workers,” says Elizabeth Bolden, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. “Our colleges are responsive to the needs of their communities and local economies, and many have implemented new programs to train workers in high-priority occupations, including manufacturing jobs.”

Community colleges throughout the state have pioneered training programs in conjunction with local community and business leaders. They regularly increase training offerings in high-demand manufacturing occupations in the state, such as welding or machine repair and even create new programs to train needed workers in local growth industries, such as Marcellus Shale in the southwest or pharmaceutical processing in the southeast. In addition, new programs are established to re-train or enhance the skills of Pennsylvanians who lose their jobs when their employers close their doors or relocate elsewhere.

Northeastern Pennsylvania received a boost on Monday when it was announced that Lehigh Carbon Community College, Luzerne County Community College and Northampton Community College will receive a four-year $10 million federal grant to develop new degree, certificate, and diploma programs in high priority career fields. This marks the third time that Pennsylvania community colleges have received grants via the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program (TAACCCT). These grants help to expand the capacity of the American community college system to provide innovative training programs in partnerships with local employers.

Pennsylvania’s community colleges are working to meet the challenges of providing skilled workers for today’s manufacturing jobs. According to the PA Department of Labor, there were 556,700 manufacturing jobs in the state in August 2014. Growing sectors include Plastics Product Manufacturing; Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing; and Architectural and Structural Metals Manufacturing. For information on Manufacturing Day events throughout Pennsylvania, visit www.mfgday.com

 

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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.