Erie PA - Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

Erie Business & Manufacturing Groups Rally Support for County Council Historic Community College Vot

Jun 27, 2017 | Posted in ERCGP in the News, Investor News, News

ERIE, June 26, 2017—Flanked by dozens of business, government and community leaders, The Erie Community Foundation rallied in support of County Council’s historic vote to establish Erie County as the local sponsor of an Erie County Community College today. A Special Meeting of Erie County Council on the Erie County Community College is scheduled in Erie County Council on Tuesday in County Council Chambers.

The rally brought together leaders from the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, United Way of Erie County and Erie Regional Manufacturing Partnership, members of Erie County Council and other education-labor-and community-based organizations. These groups, along with dozens of other influential groups in Erie, have endorsed the Empower Erie plan for an Erie County Community College.

“Last October, we stood on these steps to announced a $10 million joint investment aimed at transforming the region by targeting critical areas of need,” said Foundation President Michael L. Batchelor. “Today, eight months later, and in advance of an historic vote by County Council, we are delighted to see this community consensus developed and the promising reality of our community college coming into focus.”

Foundation leaders also announced that an additional $100,000 will be committed as financial support to implement Phase Two of the project.

“To push this project over the finish line, we need to share Erie’s story with Harrisburg,” said Batchelor. “The Empower Erie plan has been widely endorsed by many civic, business, labor and professional organizations in Erie County and we are confident that the Pennsylvania Department of Education and State Board of Education will embrace the creation of this transformational educational institution.”

“We know it is critical for the Erie region to address workforce challenges,” said Marsha Marsh, Chair, Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership (ERCGP), “As we grow our economic development efforts, a robust education system with the addition of a community college will be an attractive asset to employers.”

Janel Bonsell, Chair, United Way of Erie County added, “Estimates indicated that by 2020, 65% of all job openings will require post-high school training or education, and the community college will be invaluable. This is a game-changer to lift people out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.”

Empower Erie, the group charged with studying the feasibility of the project and proposing a Community Plan to Erie County, officials thanked leaders for their thoughtful commitment to the project and lauded Erie County Council for its support and leadership on the project.

“This tremendous support is testament to the power of Erie County’s determination and commitment to its future,” said Ron DiNicola, Empower Erie Board Co-Founder and Chair. “Erie County Council, and in particular Councilman Andre Horton, is on the right side of history, and tomorrow’s vote will change the educational landscape of Erie County for generations to come.”

Groups that have endorsed the Community College Plan include ERCGP, Manufacturer and Business Association, Erie Regional Manufacturing Partnership (ERMP), United Way of Erie County, The Erie Community Foundation, Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council, U.E. Local 506, Great Lakes Building Trades and AFSCME Local, IBEW Local 56, as well as the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC), Erie City Mission, PSEA Northwest Region, Corry Higher Education Council, City of Erie School District Board of Directors and others.

In recent weeks, Empower Erie released findings from a feasibility study that clearly affirmed the need for a local community college as well as a detailed plan that adheres to state guidelines for establishing a community college. Key findings of the Community College Plan demonstrate the college can be established with no tax increases and provide a very affordable pathway to higher education for residents of the county.

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