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.
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.