For Immediate Release
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COMMUNITY COLLEGE OF PHILADELPHIA AND THE PHILADELPHIA GAS WORKS TEAM UP TO OFFER INNOVATIVE ON-SITE EDUCATION PROGRAM
PHILADELPHIA, June 11, 2008–The high cost of college education forced Josť Rivera, a PGW customer service representative, to withdraw from school before obtaining a degree. Now, PGW and Community College of Philadelphia are teaming up to give him a pathway back.
In a first of its kind arrangement with PGW, Community College of Philadelphia is offering a 12-week, associate degree program with most classes at PGW's headquarters at 9th Street and Montgomery Avenue in North Philadelphia. Rivera was one of 20 students attending the first class on June 4. Classes will continue from 5 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., one night a week, throughout the summer.
The innovative program is designed to allow PGW employees the opportunity to pursue an advanced education. A graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, Rivera, 27, of North Philadelphia previously pursued a degree at Temple University, but had to withdraw after completing one semester. “Unfortunately, the cost was too much,” he said.
He has worked at PGW as a customer service representative for four years, and advanced education will help him to move ahead in the organization. “A lot of the jobs at PGW require a degree and I don"t have one,” Rivera said.
He hopes the 12-week program will enable him to obtain an Associate"s Degree in Business Administration.
Administrators from PGW and Community College of Philadelphia commended Rivera and his classmates during the first night of class for signing up for the program and encouraged them to persevere. “Continue what you are doing to obtain your educational goals,” said Lorraine Webb, PGW"s vice president of Organizational Development.
"Education is a great equalizer in society,” said Waverly Coleman, executive director of Community College of Philadelphia"s Corporate Solutions division, which offers employers on-site educational and training programs. “I encourage you to have the mindset that education is a lifelong pursuit.”