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September
Thu 22

As Community College of Philadelphia prepared for the 2016-2017 academic year, it placed the focus on learning - by faculty and staff - to develop collaborative networks to guide more students toward their academic and career goals.

The College is entering into its first full academic year of implementing the highly-touted Guided Pathways model to scale, and yesterday Dr. Rob Johnstone, one of the nation's foremost authorities, sought to demystify the concept by offering four streamlined principles.

As Community College of Philadelphia prepared for the 2016-2017 academic year, it placed the focus on learning — by faculty and staff — to develop collaborative networks to guide more students toward their academic and career goals.

The College is entering into its first full academic year of implementing the highly-touted Guided Pathways model to scale, and yesterday Dr. Rob Johnstone, one of the nation’s foremost authorities, sought to demystify the concept by offering four streamlined principles.

“Have a structure. Help students get in a (career and academic) program earlier. Make sure they’re making progress. And keep the focus on learning,” suggested Dr. Johnstone, founder and president of the Bay Area-based National Center for Inquiry & Improvement, which works with two- and four-year institutions to create structures and processes that increase student completion, learning and labor market outcomes. “If you do all four of those things at scale, you will see what’s possible.”

On Sept. 6, the College will welcome thousands of new students who will begin their journey with more personalized services and, eventually, curriculum mapping. They, as well as many returning students, will be beneficiaries of a growing field of support practices birthed as part of the Guided Pathways movement. Among the major changes this year, the College hired seven new full-time faculty advisors to help new students map out more direct paths to graduation, transfer or certificate completion.

In 2015, the College was one of 30 community colleges invited to join the Pathways Project led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).The groundbreaking national initiative will implement guided academic and career pathways at scale — for all students.

This initiative reinforces ongoing efforts to create a holistic, streamlined educational approach to learning and student services, which seek to help students circumvent barriers and obstacles. In the past, Johnstone said, many institutions operated under a cafeteria model, where students got to pick and choose from dozens of course offerings, but were paralyzed by the dizzying array of choicest.

Dr. Johnston asked the capacity crowd in the Winnet Student Life Building’s Great Hall to do an interactive exercise, by which they created a word cloud through text messaging to describe what they thought would be the mindset of new community college students. “Excited,” “scared,” “unsure,” “nervous” and “confused” were some of the adjectives that emerged.

“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Dr. Johnstone said, adding that students need deep connections with professors or other academic mentors who are invested in their success; a cohort of peer support, and an established curriculum that paves out a goal, whether it be academic or career-focused. They need coaching, much like athletes, who are more likely to take advantage of extra supports they are offered.

In this new guided pathways system, faculty and staff have to become “change experts”, Dr. Johnstone added, to help students achieve, and sometimes, adjust their academic goals. As an example, he cited nursing programs that have limited space available in each new class, yet thousands of students trying to enter on the pre-nursing career path. He recommended honest

and difficult conversations with those students who are not likely to meet the academic requirements for admission.

At the College, specially trained allied health counselors are available to help students select a nursing or allied health career for which they meet the academic requirements. These counselors hold information sessions to familiarize potential applicants to the select nursing and allied health programs, according to Dr. Barbara McLaughlin, chair of the College’s Department of Nursing.

In his remarks, President Donald Guy Generals noted social justice issues and challenges also may present a barrier to degree attainment. Amid the growing chorus of national discontent, faculty should be prepared to discuss those issues in classrooms, he said.

From their inception, community colleges were founded on the principles of social justice — as open access to education democratized higher education, which, at one time, primarily served the wealthy.

“The idea of community colleges taking the lead on issues of social justice, “clearly articulates the importance of education as it relates to the democracy of our nation,” Dr. Generals said. “We have to be mindful. If we can’t make the issues of social justice and racism go away, then the rest of the world is going to struggle.”

On August 4th, nine Community College of Philadelphia students celebrated the completion of the Biomedical Technician Training Program at The Wistar Institute on the University of Pennsylvania campus. The ceremony represents far more than a graduation: with each certificate of completion comes new employment opportunities, career connections, and the confidence that drives scientific research and innovation.

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

 

Find Your Money for College Now!

 

PHILADELPHIA, PA., Aug. 24 – For college students today, scholarships can be the academic equivalent of hitting the lotto.  Unlike loans, they don’t have to be re-paid and they can represent tremendous savings, even if the applicant doesn’t possess a stellar GPA.

This fall, Community College of Philadelphia is offering an amazing scholarship that is getting a whirlwind of national press. The 50th Anniversary Scholars program provides eligible graduating high school seniors in Philadelphia the opportunity to pursue an associate’s degree at the College with no cost for tuition and fees.

Hundreds of 2016 high school graduates already have qualified, and more will begin entering the pipeline in the coming academic year.

Successful scholarship applicants know their audience. They show their strengths. They write memorable essays. And they complete their applications.

“An enormous barrier to not getting a scholarship is not applying for one, or not completing the application,” said Gregory Murphy, vice president for Institutional Advancement at the College. “Any student having trouble can come to our office and get help in completing their application.”

Counselors advise high school seniors to start the scholarship application process as early as October to become eligible for the best opportunities.  The College will sponsor six free workshops for the fall semester including three on the Main Campus: Sept. 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 18, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 10, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Each will be held at the Winnet Student Life Building, Room S2-3, which is on 17th Street, just south of Spring Garden Street. Students will receive essay writing assistance, as they learn about specific scholarships, eligibility requirements, and more. Special workshops are planned at the Northeast, Northwest and West Regional Center and will be announced at a later date. 

To learn more about scholarships and get updates, visit www.ccp.edu/paying-college/scholarships or call the scholarship hotline at 215-496-6182. At Community College of Philadelphia, students need only complete one solid application to be automatically considered for scholarships that match their interests. Remember, you don’t always have to be an ‘A’ student to qualify. Scholarships are available to those who have overcome great barriers, demonstrated leadership ability and are enrolled in specific majors. “An hour of work filling out an application can translate into money for books and even more,” said Patti Conroy, director of scholarship programs. “The money can go toward your SEPTA TransPass, your books, your food – that’s all part of your college expenses.”

In addition, the College, in conjunction with OneMain Financial, is offering a special incentive by providing the first 1,000 students who submit scholarship applications by Nov. 1 with Scholly, an easy-to-use mobile application that helps students find, apply for and win college scholarships beyond those awarded by Community College of Philadelphia.  

Below is just a sampling of scholarships the College currently offers:

  • The 50th Anniversary Scholars Program - Allows students to pursue an associate’s degree at no cost for tuition and fees. Open to all eligible graduating Philadelphia high school students. Scholars have already been selected for the fall 2016 semester, but if you are a high school senior, now is the time to get this program on your radar. For more information, visit: http://www.ccp.edu/paying-college/tuition-assistance-programs/50th-anniversary-scholars-program
  • Complete With 15 - Provides eligible students who enroll in four courses each semester with a scholarship that will fund an additional three-credit course. By enrolling in five courses per semester for a minimum of 15 credits, students can complete their associate’s degree in less time while saving money.
  • Ann Silverman Future Philadelphian Scholarship ­- Provides funding to students enrolled in or who began their studies at the College taking ESL courses.
  • Wells Fargo Scholars – Provides tuition scholarships to recognize students who demonstrate the ability to achieve in academic and community endeavors and who have overcome barriers on the way to success. Specifically will provide financial support to low-income single, custodial mothers or fathers pursuing an associate’s degree, with preference given to a student pursuing a degree in a business-related field (Marketing, Accounting, etc.).
  • The MarcDavid LBGTQ Scholarship – Awards $2,500 for tuition and fees. Priority will be given to applicants who are doing advocacy work in the community.

 

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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.

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

PHILADELPHIA, PA., Aug. 24 – One look at George and Morgan Bradley’s Short Order Mobile Cuisine food truck and you know something special is cooking.

The bright turquoise and marigold truck, painted with tropical banana leaves, beckons. Inside, Chef George whips up Latin and Caribbean-inspired offerings: sofrito poached chicken breast, Cuban fries, and tacos featuring slow marinated pork and homemade desserts.

In only five months, Short Order has made a name for itself as the truck to frequent if you want gourmet food with fresh ingredients and restaurant-caliber cleanliness.

With George’s culinary school background and Morgan’s business degree from Drexel, the husband and wife duo knew that launching a food business would be a natural fusion of their interests.  But it wasn’t until they took the Mobile Food Management course last year at Community College of Philadelphia that they decided to go mobile with Short Order.

The class taught them menu development, event-planning and the regulations and permits required to stay in compliance as mobile food entrepreneurs. George even got the opportunity to intern with Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca of Poi Dog Philly Snack Shop lunch cart, whom he met when they came to speak to the class.

“The class was very informative,” Morgan said. “Finishing the course pretty much left us knowing how to be successful in Philadelphia – it made us more comfortable and gave us the affirmation that, yes, we’re going to move forward and buy a truck.”

Since fall semester 2014, Community College of Philadelphia has been broadening its entrepreneurship programs for Philadelphians seeking new careers, including its innovative Mobile Food Management course. When it began, the non-credit Mobile Food Management: Introduction to Food Truck Entrepreneurship program was the first of its kind offered by an accredited institution of higher education. It is serving an industry that expects to generate $2.7 billion in revenue by 2017. The industry is so influential that it was the “caterer of choice” for Mayor Jim Kenney’s recent inaugural block party.

The program is divided into three sections, each offering a three-hour class on Wednesday evenings for five consecutive weeks. The first section, Mobile Food Management 101: Concept and Plan, runs Sept. 7 through Oct. 5; the second, Mobile Food Management 102: Requirements begins Oct 12 and runs through Nov. 9; and the third, Mobile Food Management 103: Design, Costing and Budgeting, begins Nov. 16 and runs through Dec. 14. Tuition for each section is $249.

Students receive a certificate of completion at the end of attending all 3 sections, which is offered through the College’s Corporate Solutions Department. Class sections are designed so they can be taken in any order, though Morgan recommends taking the first class first “to make sure you want to continue the next classes.”

For more information and to register, visit the Mobile Food Management page or call 215-496-6158 or email csinquiry@ccp.edu. To learn more about Short Order Mobile Cuisine, go to: www.shortorder.us

 

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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.

September
Wed 07

Area community colleges are working with businesses to help fill the gap in workforce skills

 

Greater Philadelphia’s manufacturing companies have a problem.

They have jobs available, but too few folks are qualified to fill them.

Just ask Kip Anthony, president of Horsh-am-based manufacturer EFE Labs that’s been in business for 40 years. Anthony said the issue starts before students even graduate from college because they’re not thinking about the manufac-turing industry as an option during and after they leave school.

“A lot of younger people come into the aca-demic channel thinking about tech in terms of software, apps and a service sector,” he said. “Not a lot of them have thought about manufacturing. Society is out of sync about where manufacturing is at. There’s a disconnect.”

Anthony isn’t alone. Companies nationwide are struggling to find skilled labor in today’s manu-facturing economy, according to a report released this month by accounting firm WeiserMazars.

“How we interface with this world has changed, yet we still have the need for aircrafts, cars and all of these things,” Anthony added. “But our rela-tionship has changed with those somewhat.”

The solution might be just down the road. Community colleges, in Greater Philadelphia and nationwide, are shaking off the old “13th grade” stigma and increasing filling the needed role of education and training for a changed manufac-turing world.

The two-year colleges are working directly with local businesses like EFE Labs to fill that skills gap, not only in educating students but also in retraining and “uptraining” current employees.

“The workforce development area nationally has moved to the side, and now there’s a skills gap,” according to Kevin Pollock, president of Montgomery County Community College, who works with EFE Labs and other companies to develop a skilled workforce. “We’re running low on skilled workers.”

Mind the gap

The skills gap can be attributed to a number of things, including an aging workforce that had filled those positions for decades; jobs left unfilled by people who focused on four-year degrees; and businesses and community colleges not putting enough money into training because of the lack of need, among others, Pollock said.

Parents have also steered children away from manufacturing — about only 35 percent of parents encouraged their children to consider a career in manufacturing, according to an October 2012 Deloitte/Manufacturing Institute survey.

“It is imperative to change this public per-ception in order to widen the pool of candidates and attract the essential talent required in today’s highly technical and skilled manufacturing environment,” WeiserMazars noted in their report.

This is where community colleges come into play.

With President Obama advocating free com-munity college education and with concerns over rising education costs, the institutions have been able to throw off the old assumption that cours-es are of a lesser quality than four-year college courses.

“In the last few years they’ve been garner-ing much attention, much more than they usu-ally do in that national spotlight,” said Martha M. Parham, a senior vice president at the American Association of Community Colleges. “They’re the worst-kept secret in America — what community colleges can do for the country.”

Community colleges are paying close attention to what businesses need.

“The big piece is really finding out what the needs are of the businesses in our county, and that’s a lot of businesses,” Montgomery County Community College’s Pollock said. “Sometimes it’s training new employees but also retraining employees already there to enhance their skills. It’s a variety.”

Along with continuing its work with local businesses, Montgomery County Community College is reinvesting in its workforce develop-ment department. It’s in the process of hiring a new executive director to lead the college’s efforts in meeting the county’s needs.

Community colleges are doing what they can to show that manufacturing today is “not your father’s manufacturing company,” said Jerry Parker, president of Delaware County Commu-nity College. “They’re safe, and you’re doing high-skilled work. If we don’t satisfy these needs, these companies are going to go elsewhere.”

Delaware County Community College last December announced it teamed up with the Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties to offer tuition-free courses for employ-ees of the alliance’s member organizations.

EFE Labs’ Anthony has had relationships with four-year universities, but he’s found community colleges are more flexible and willing to listen to business’ needs.

“I do like the agility they have,” Anthony said. “They seem to be willing to take a look and make pragmatic alterations where it makes sense. You’ll see a consensus with local manufacturers and industries in general; there’s an agility there.”

The region’s community colleges see it as a partnership.

“I view it not so much about what we’re doing but how we respond to the needs of those employ-ers that we partner with in the Delaware Valley area,” said Donald A. Borden, president of Cam-den County College.

Power plant supplier Holtec International is building a production facility on the Camden waterfront, which would bring nearly 400 jobs to the area, and it’s working with Camden Coun-ty College — just another example of one business working with its area community college.

“As opposed to us saying, ‘Here’s what we offer,’ we’re responding appropriately to those needs,” Borden said. “It’s an open-ended process. We are very responsive, and that is our intention.”

Flexibility and agility

Every community college is going to be different; because they exist in part to serve the commu-nities they’re in, their work will depend on the needs of the local business community.

Bucks County, for example, is an area of small businesses in the health care and manufacturing industries, among others.

The Bucks County Community College this fall will be launching a new medical lab technician program, which is a direct response to hospitals’ need for skilled workers.

“We continue to work [with businesses] and see if we’re meeting their needs,” President Stephanie Shanblatt said. “That’s our goal — to meet employers’ needs. ... We really have to have the end goal in mind, and we work hard at that.” It’s a two-way street, too.

“We are partners,” said Donald Guy Generals, president of Community College of Philadelphia. “It’s critically important that businesses view themselves as equal partners in terms of help-ing devise curriculums and programs that are real economic opportunities for students once they graduate.”

Companies are listening; they are becoming part of the educational process now to ensure there will be a skilled work force right after graduation.

“You have to have a good interface with com-munity colleges and local academic institutions to help them understand, as a local business, what you need to have in those students,” Antho-ny said. “It helps them tweak and become more effective. Some of them have been successful in that regard and have done a super job.”

If companies don’t take the time to work with community colleges and students and talk about their needs, it could affect the efficiency of the companies.

“Finding a qualified worker may take more effort in getting them up to speed and inter-facing with things,” Anthony said. “[It causes] a little more lag time before full productivity. It costs money and it may inhibit your flexibility to quickly surge. What if you have a spike in service? It’s a competitive problem.”

At Bucks County, local businesses come to the classrooms to help students understand what certain jobs entail — what students would be doing when they’re employed, and it helps them dis-cover where they want to work.

“We have about a 94 percent placement rate [after students graduate,]” Shanblatt said. “That’s terrific, because by the time we get to graduation day, they already have offers from companies.”

‘Let’s do this’

The Philadelphia region’s community colleges, collectively, continue to expand their collabora-tions to bridge that workforce disconnect.

“As a region, we sat down with employers and said, ‘Let’s do this,’” said Karen P. Kozachyn, dean of Workforce Development and Community Edu-cation at Delaware County Community College. “Employers are driving it, that’s how community colleges work. We very rarely build something in a silo. Our leadership understands the value of incorporating businessesinto every conversation to make sure our curriculum is relevant, and that the equipment replicates what students will find in the field, so they’re not learning on something that’s outdated or not used.”

The most important thing to remember about community colleges is that they each have an arm that focuses on the local and regional needs.

“We’re lucky enough to be part of a region that is very active and collaborative,” Kozachyn said.

Six institutes make up a 20-year-old consor-tium called the Collegiate Consortium for Work-force and Economic Development: Bucks Coun-ty Community College, Camden County College, Community College of Philadelphia, Delaware County Community College, Montgomery County Community College and Drexel University.

The consortium identifies the region’s needs, using each institution’s strengths.

“I’m not confined to my own school; I’m con-fined to the talents of the faculty and subject matter experts, which allows employers to have endless resources,” Kozachyn said. “It makes the approach different in this region. There’s not many other regions in the country that have a unique infrastructure.”

The consortium in June this year announced a partnership with Peco on a natural gas work-force development initiative — The Gas Distribu-tion Pipeline Mechanic Introduction Program — to provide students hands-on experience for entry-level employment in the natural gas indus-try. Students will earn an operator qualified cer-tification upon completion.

“We have a domestic supply of natural gas right here in Pennsylvania that can attract jobs, support families and lift the regional economy for genera-tions to come,” Craig White, president and CEO of Philadelphia Gas Works, which is also work-ing to create the curriculum, said in an earlier statement. “Demand is growing and our compa-nies need trained, capable, professional employ-ees. We need them now, and we’re going to need them far into the future. This program helps address that need.”

It’s estimated that over 600 workers are need-ed to repair and replace distribution pipelines in the region over the next several years, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.

One initiative the consortium is working on is a regional apprenticeship program in manu-facturing called the NTMA Tri-state Apprentice-ship Program, or NTAP, in partnership with the National Tooling and Machining Association.

The consortium is developing a competency-based curriculum that will span 11 counties in Greater Philadelphia.

“Our aim through this apprenticeship ini-tiative is to break this vicious circle by at once breaking the ‘dirty, dark and dangerous’ stigma attached to manufacturing, while showing the excellent career opportunities that exist within the industry,” Kozachyn said. “We will attract tal-ented candidates, vet them for markers of indus-try success, give them a high-level overview of the industry, get them employed and offer the pos-sibility of advanced accreditation or degree for those that are motivated to pursue it.”

The region already has the agencies or pro-grams required to institute the initiative and make it successful.

“The agencies or programs just need to be linked together and communicate with one another to operate in unison, not independently, as they have for decades, in many cases,” Kozach-yn said.

University connection Four-year universities and community colleges are also bolstering their relationships with each other through various means, including transfer agreements.

Other universities have taken it a step further, like Rowan University and its partners Rowan College at Gloucester County (formerly Glouces-ter County College) and Rowan College at Burling-ton County (formerly Burlington County College).

The institutions this year announced a “3+1” program unique to New Jersey that enables stu-dents to spend three years at one of the two com-munity colleges and just one at the main campus as students move toward a bachelor’s degree. It will begin this September.

The goal is to lessen the financial burden on students.

The estimated cost of a bachelor’s degree through the program would be about $25,000, about a half of what commuters would spend at the state university and a quarter they would pay at a number of other private schools.

“This is the fastest, best and most economic way of significantly providing access and affordability to all the students without taxing the state,” Row-an President Ali A. Houshmand said. “That’s why we are so particular in expanding our relation-ships with county colleges. Through relations, we want to turn those county colleges as desti-nations for certain groups of the population who want a four-year degree but can’t afford the main campus. These county colleges have the capacity, infrastructure and qualified faculty members.”

Most recently, Delaware County Community College and Pennsylvania State University in July signed an agreement enabling qualified gradu-ates of the community college to transfer to Penn State.

The agreement would also save students mon-ey on their way to a four-year degree.

Honoree Dr. Karren Dunkley, was recognized for her distinguished achievement and contribution to education. She is the principal of Parkway Center City High School in the School District of Philadelphia. In her first two years, she has increased student achievement, expanded advanced placement course offerings, increased community partnerships and is in the process of developing an early college program with Community College of Philadelphia. “We are agents of change for young people,” she said. She quoted the late “Greatest” Muhammad Ali who said that “service is the rent that we pay for room on earth.”

In 2000, Dr. Wunner collaborated with Community College of Philadelphia faculty from its biology and chemistry departments to develop the training program and boost the region’s supply of experienced lab technicians. Students, 12 of whom are accepted each year, complete the apprenticeship program — which includes classroom work and lab training — over the course of two summers. Graduates earn a certificate.

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