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 PA 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.
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, 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, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.For more information, visit the PA Commission for Community Colleges website.