President's Visit to Midstate Encourages Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- President Bush's visit to Central
 Pennsylvania today has encouraged the leaders of the 14 community colleges
 across Pennsylvania.  Speaking to more than 900 attendees during a rally at
 Central Dauphin High School in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County, the
 President discussed the "fabulous community college system in America and the
 great community college here."
     Praising the work the community college system is doing, President Bush
 stated that "community colleges must be flexible enough to have a curriculum
 that actually meets the needs of the local community ...  in other words, you
 don't need to be training people for jobs that don't exist."
     The President's plan to infuse $250 million into training partnerships
 between community colleges and businesses was first announced during his State
 of the Union Address on January 20, 2004.  Jobs for the 21st Century is a
 comprehensive plan to better prepare workers for jobs in the new millennium by
 strengthening post-secondary education and job training and improving high
 school education.  The President's plan will expand opportunities for workers
 to access post-secondary education in order to get the job training and skills
 to compete in a changing and dynamic economy and to fill jobs in emerging
 industries.
     "The 14 community colleges in Pennsylvania are thrilled that President
 Bush has chosen our state in which to address his proposal," stated Diane
 Bosak, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community
 Colleges.  "The President's outline of his plan to foster a new generation of
 job training partnerships between community colleges and high-demand
 industries embraces the central focus of community colleges and our essential
 role in helping workers gain needed skills."
     As a member of the panel during the President's visit, Dr. Edna Baehre,
 President of Harrisburg Area Community College welcomed the President and
 noted that "it was an honor not only to be able to share the things that
 Harrisburg Area Community College does but also what our 13 sister community
 colleges in Pennsylvania [are doing]."  Dr. Baehre expounded on the work that
 HACC is doing to partner with Pinnacle Health Systems in its Allied Health
 Academy.  "The beauty of the project is that it increases the graduation rate
 of the students, increases academic excellence and they have jobs when they
 come out," Baehre said.
     Relating a testimony from a corporate leader whose company worked with
 HACC in developing a unique arrangement without which they would not have been
 able to expand their training in this sluggish economy, Baehre noted that the
 corporation has given HACC equipment so that "we can deliver state-of-the-art
 training to their employees in exchange for getting a reduction in their
 training costs."  Baehre closed by welcoming the President's "support for
 community colleges in industry partnerships.  We appreciated it very much and
 look forward to it."
 
     The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a non-profit
 organization whose primary purpose is to represent the interests of the 14
 community colleges of Pennsylvania.  For more information on the Commission
 and its programs, please visit its website at www.pacommunitycolleges.org or
 call 717.232.7584.
 
 

SOURCE Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges

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