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Contact: Linda Wallace, 215-751-8082, liswallace@ccp.edu
Annette John-Hall, 215-751-8021, anhall@ccp.edu

A Clear Vision for Employment

PHILADELPHIA, PA., Jan. 6, 2017 –Community College of Philadelphia and Salus University have partnered to bring an innovative Ophthalmic Technician Proficiency Certificate Program to Philadelphia. The program is set to launch Jan. 17 at the College’s Northwest Regional Center, complete with a new lab for hands-on training, and is expected to provide family-sustaining jobs for people in the neighborhood.

“Our first class is comprised of local people and we anticipate that they will obtain jobs in eye care in the Philadelphia area,” said Dr. Scott Goldberg, the program’s new director.

eight students. Ultimately, the program’s first cohort will be comprised of up to 16 students will be accepted into the two-semester, full-time program that includes two clinical internships.

“This program puts the College in a unique position to advance ophthalmic workforce initiatives, and foster access to more health-related fields in traditionally underserved communities,” Community College of Philadelphia President Donald Guy Generals said.

The latest U.S. Census data show Pennsylvania’s population is aging faster than the rest of the country. Already, 16 percent of Pennsylvanians are seniors, the fourth-highest percentage nationally. And with age comes the potential for debilitating eye diseases.

“This collaboration embraces both Salus University’s and Community College of Philadelphia’s joint commitment to serving a diverse student population while also developing a curriculum for a rewarding career that has great potential opportunities,” said Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, President of Salus University. “Not only will both institutions benefit from the program, but it benefits the City of Philadelphia since we can now offer a local ophthalmic technician program to residents.”

Ophthalmic technicians work under the supervision of an optometrist or ophthalmologist, and perform a variety of eye and vision-related clinical functions. They record patient histories, perform the pre-testing of comprehensive and follow-up eye and vision examinations, conduct various diagnostic eye and vision care procedures, provide patient education, and perform various clinical practice administrative duties.

The median annual ophthalmic technician salary in Philadelphia is $44,820 as of Dec. 28, 2016, with salaries usually ranging between $37,916 and $49,589 according to salary.com. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that job growth for medical assistants, including eye care support professionals such as ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants, will rise 29% from 2012 through 2022.

Upon graduation, ophthalmic technicians may work in optometry practices, ophthalmology practices or healthcare clinical facilities; optical dispensaries; optical laboratories; healthcare and optical equipment businesses; lens, frame or contact lens companies; and pharmaceutical companies.

“It’s a one-year course, so our students are going to be job-ready as soon as they complete the program,” Dr. Goldberg said. “They should immediately be able to enter into the eye care field, whether it’s optometry, ophthalmology, a lab, or a clinic.”

To learn more, visit the Ophthalmic Technician Proficiency Certificate Program.



Community College of Philadelphia is the largest public institution of higher education in Philadelphia and the sixth largest in Pennsylvania. The College enrolls approximately 34,000 students annually and offers day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as classes online. Visit the College at www.ccp.edu. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook.

Salus University, founded as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1919, today is a diversified, globally recognized professional academic center of learning that offers a wide range of degree programs in the professions of Optometry, Audiology, Physician Assistant, Public Health, Education and Rehabilitation for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Biomedicine, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology. Salus operates four clinical facilities in the Philadelphia area that provide highly specialized vision, hearing and balance, and speech-language pathology services. The University has more than 1,200 students, including PhD candidates, and more than 14,300 alumni worldwide. For more information, please visit www.salus.edu.

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 Carole Haas Gravagno delivers remarks during the Community College of Philadelphia's  2016 Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award breakfast.

For Carole Haas Gravagno, responsible citizenship simply doesn’t mean living purposefully as an engaged, duty-bound member of society. Above all else, good citizenship requires compassion.

Delivering remarks focusing on challenges and solutions to bettering life in the Philadelphia region, Gravagno made the case for compassionate citizenship at the College’s 2016 Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award breakfast at Community College of Philadelphia.

As the eighth Becker Award winner, Gravagno—a philanthropist, dedicated board member, volunteer, and mother who believes all children should have same opportunities as her own—brought to life examples of compassion in action as personified by the late Judge Edward R. Becker (1933-2006), for whom the award is named.

Judge Becker was a civil servant noted for his down-to-earth humility for upholding the highest standard of the law and for his compassion to his fellow man. Flora Becker, his widow, told the story of a time several years ago when the couple hosted Gravagno and her husband, Emilio, a double bassist for the Philadelphia Orchestra, for an unforgettable evening of conversation and music—Ed Becker playing the piano, Emilio Gravagno on bass.

Both women reconnected with an embrace before the Becker Award breakfast, and now count that magical night among their cherished memories. Just two months ago, Gravagno lost Emilio to cancer and personally felt the power of compassion from friends like Flora Becker and others, which “has been such a healing force,” she said.

A former elementary and high school teacher, Gravagno has devoted much of her time to supporting programs that introduce the transformative power of the arts to children and youth, and has worked tirelessly for strong families and better communities. The list of organizations that carry Gavagno’s footprint is long—Play On, Philly!, The Stoneleigh Foundation, The Liberty Museum, Arden Theatre Company, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Please Touch Museum, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Settlement Music School, and Morris Arboretum. She allows compassion to dictate her involvement. “They’re dear to my heart because they help people,” she says of the organizations she works with.

Compassionate citizens, Gravagno explained, are the creative thinkers and doers who use their talents and ingenuity to help others grow and thrive. Citizens such as Kevin Bethel, the former deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department who is now a Stoneleigh fellow, launched the Police School Diversion Program which reduced juvenile arrest rates by almost half since 2013. Bethel came up with a compassionate solution to the problem after hearing that a 10-year-old was arrested, taken to jail and fingerprinted for bringing a pair of fingernail scissors to school. “I’m proud that Kevin has shown us another way,” she said. “That’s compassion.”

Gravagno shared stories of compassionate citizens who have boosted self-esteem throughout the city by helping people accomplish what they thought they never could. Diane Wagenhals of

Lakeside Education Network developed a child care curriculum for first-time parents; Jane Golden, founder of Mural Arts Philadelphia, unites out-of-work artists and communities through collaborative mural painting; and the dedicated instructors and staff of Play On, Philly! who, through teaching music, treats every child as an asset, capable of reaching their full potential.

“That’s why I’m so interested in the arts,” Gravagno said. “One of the things I love about theater is that it gives you a chance to walk in somebody else’s shoes. That’s what compassion is—what is it like to be that other person? We get so involved with ourselves that we forget how it is. The other person has a story, too. That’s what motivates me.”

Previous Becker recipients include Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito (2015); U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (2014); former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell (2011); Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Marjorie O. Rendell (2010); Co-Founder, President and Executive Director of Project H.O.M.E., Sister Mary Scullion (2009); former U.S. Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, Jr., Esq. (2008); and U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (2007).

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