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Mon 01

The growth of Queenie's Pets wasn't just happenstance. Silberstein is one of 251 Philadelphia business owners who have graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Community College of Philadelphia.

The 10KSB program, as it is known, started three years ago, said Margaret Berger Bradley, the executive director of the program at CCP until this week. Through the program, business owners get an education, expert advice, networking, and sometimes access to business loans. It has been described as a mini-M.B.A., where owners learn about accounting, financial reporting, and writing business plans.

"One of our owners said he was trained as an architect, but he was never trained to run his own business," Bradley said. Silberstein said of 10,000 Small Businesses: "It took my success and kicked it into high gear. "It gave me this enormous access to all these other entrepreneurs who were having some of the same challenges I was having despite being in different industries."

After completing the program in April 2014, Silberstein moved from her home-office to the store in February 2015. Philadelphia has a great record of people starting small businesses, said John Grady, president of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which teamed with CCP and the city to bring the program here. But the region lags in the businesses' rate of growth.

Lynette M. Brown-Sow commands the room. She’s a stately woman with a regal bearing, a cool eye, and a winning smile. Vice President for Marketing and Government Relations at Community College of Philadelphia, for the last 20 years she has helped it grow into a major institution and take its place on the national stage. She calls her job positioning and promoting. But, this doesn’t come close to describing the scope of her power.

One of the most surprising aspects was how students themselves engaged with those nudges. At Community College of Philadelphia and SUNY Brockport, students began texting back to messaging services designed to help them balance school and life stress or avoid academic trouble. "We ended up uncovering a really useful delivery channel for college administrators to reach and positively impact students that may have been underestimated in the past," Fishbane says.

Photo: ACHIEVEability participant Tracey Morris, of West Philadelphia, holds her daughter Kristyn after her graduation from Community College of Philadelphia in May 2014. Morris recently graduated from St. Joseph is University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. (Photo courtesy of Tracey Morris)

The 2016 class valedictorian said she looked forward to the future — a future that didn’t always look as bright. Montgomery’s life, and her outlook, changed for the better after she arrived at Camelot Education Academy three years ago.

“I’m really proud of myself,” said the 18-year-old South Philadelphia graduate who plans to earn degrees in criminal justice from Community College of Philadelphia and Central Penn College in Harrisburg en route to becoming a homicide detective. “It was a challenge. If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere. It was a challenge but I fought through it.”

Two years ago, in an effort to lose weight, Bill McDowell began taking daily lunchtime strolls around the indoor walking path on the second floor of the Mint Building — one of Community College of Philadelphia’s many wellness activities which promote a culture of fitness.
Fifty pounds and five waist sizes later, McDowell understands the power of a fit-friendly work environment.
“I was surprised quite a bit at the results,” said McDowell, an employee in the registration office on the Main Campus. “I definitely enjoy it, especially in the winter when the weather is bad. There’s no excuse not to do it.”
The half-mile walking path, along with many other campus health initiatives, have earned the College national recognition as a gold-level Fit-Friendly Worksite by the American Heart Association for the fourth consecutive year. The honor acknowledges the College’s “Your Wellness Matters” initiative, which encourages and places special focus on weight management, physical activity and smoking cessation to help employees comply with a smoke-free campus in January.
Additionally, the College has implemented incentives for employees for wellness points earned. All employees will receive a booklet explaining when and how they can accrue points for over $100 in prizes.
For McDowell, the walking path served as his road to wellness. During the winter, he walked four to six loops on the path depending on how much time he had. He also gave up processed foods, but walking the path was the only exercise he did. Not only did it pay off in pounds lost, but in relationships gained.
“I consider it part of the many benefits the College offers to their employees,” McDowell said. “You get to walk through the various buildings and see what’s going on at the College and see your colleagues that you otherwise might not get to see, which makes it nice if you haven’t seen anyone for a while.”

As the school year winds down for many across the Delaware Valley, one Philadelphia charter school is celebrating the success of a new program started this year.

Soon, some students will be graduating high school and getting their associate’s degree at the same time.

It’s a new partnership between MaST Community Charter School and the Community College of Philadelphia.

This year, a small group of sophomores was bused to CCP to take college classes during the school day.

It is double the workload, but the students know it will pay off in more ways than one.

The group is looking forward to a well-deserved summer break.

When they graduate from MaST Community Charter School in 2018, they will have also earned enough credits to leave with an Associate’s degree in Business from the Community College of Philadelphia.

Copyright: City of Philadelphia. Photo by Samantha Madera

Community College of Philadelphia welcomed a very special guest to its 2016 Respiratory Care Technology Program Completion Ceremony last week, thanks in part to a unique relationship cultivated between a student and a politician, nurtured over frequently-served meals, heartfelt chats and words of encouragement.

Despite his hectic schedule, Mayor Jim Kenney found time to stop by the College and speak to the students and their families. He attended at the invitation of graduate Jamie Sliker, who first met the mayor when he was a city councilman and she was a server at a restaurant in Old City, where Kenney is a regular. The two have been on friendly terms ever since, but even Sliker wasn’t sure if he would accept her graduation invitation– so she didn’t invite him.

“He was kind of offended that I didn’t invite him,” said Sliker, who still works at the restaurant and, for now, serves the Mayor when he comes in. “When graduation came up, he said he was going to come and he was going to say something. I was like, ‘Okay.’”

The 21 graduates, who represented all ages and stages in their professional lives, listened as Kenney thanked them for their persistence and praised the College for establishing a program that has distinguished itself over time. Since 1963, the program has graduated 766 students and currently enjoys a 100 percent pass rate at the Certified Respiratory Therapist level, compared to a national pass rate of 73 percent. Students must pass all level Board exams offered through the National Board for Respiratory Care before obtaining a professional license to practice as a respiratory therapist in Pennsylvania.

Mayor Kenney’s praise was rooted in his deep appreciation for their skills, and stemmed from witnessing first-hand the power of respiratory professionals to save lives.

The mayor shared that his 81-year-old father, James, a retired firefighter, was recently hospitalized for what was thought to be a routine procedure, but wound up in intensive care because of fluid buildup in his lungs. “We thought we were going to lose him,” he said.

Mayor Kenney marveled at how the respiratory therapists, along with the doctors and nurses, assisted his father with his breathing exercises, and eventually got him out of ICU and out of the hospital. “He’s on oxygen, which he hates, “the mayor reported, “but the fact that he’s stubborn means he’s getting better.”

The mayor reiterated to the graduates the importance of choosing careers to improve their lives and the wellbeing of the city.

“The fact that you’re entering the profession is good for you because it’s a longstanding career that makes you good money,” he said, “but it’s critical that you’re part of our medical community because it’s what keeps our city’s economy strong.”

More than 110 Philadelphia high school students visited the College in April to participate in Big Bang STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) Career Day. Students from Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts; the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts; Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice; Universal Audenreid Charter High School;, Kensington Urban; MaST Community Charter School; Franklin Learning Center; First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School  and Kensington Health Sciences Academy spent their afternoon exploring Community College of Philadelphia’s STEM programs, and learning all about the various career paths available to them. For Muhammad Halter, a junior at Kensington Health Sciences, this was his first visit to a college campus. “I wanted to come here, see a community college, and see where I could go,” he said. High school freshmen, sophomores and juniors also enjoyed interactive activities such as “BYOD” Bring Your Own Device, which allowed them to use cell phones and tablets to participate in live polls. They also visited classrooms where they participated in delicious experiments such as learning to make chocolate that melts in your mouth.