Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) Friday announced the Department of Education has given final approval for the establishment of the Rural Regional Community College of Northern Pennsylvania.
Sen. Scarnati hailed the decision as a vital step in bringing affordable, accessible education alternatives to the area.
This endeavor began in 2014 when Sen. Scarnati introduced legislation in the Senate to create a first-of-its kind rural regional college to provide post-secondary educational opportunities to underserved residents in Northcentral and Northwest Pennsylvania.
Act 126 of 2014 was signed into law and since that time area legislators, education and business leaders, the College Board of Trustees and the Department of Education have been working together to develop the college’s operating and financial plans.
“Access to the Rural Regional College is critical to providing new career opportunities for students and improving the economy,” Sen. Scarnati said. “I’d like to thank the Board of Trustees of the Rural Regional College, all those who worked so diligently to develop the approved plan, and especially my former Senate colleague and current Board Member Senator Mary Jo White, for helping to make this idea a reality. I am very pleased with the major progress that has taken place as we work toward opening the college this fall.”
“This will be the first community college to offer greatly needed higher educational opportunities to Northwestern Pennsylvania,” Sen. Scarnati continued. “Thanks to input by education, business and community leaders, we can help area residents receive the training and education they need.”
Sen. Scarnati explained that the new college will offer two-year associate degrees, as well as training and certificate programs.
Curriculum of the college will be determined by the Board of Trustees, based upon the future workforce needs of the designated region of Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter, Venango and Warren counties.
“I thank the Pennsylvania Department of Education for working with me and my colleagues to establish the college,” Sen. Scarnati stated. “This final approval brings us one step closer to providing rural communities in this area with education and training close to home and at an affordable cost.”