As of August 2013, the unemployment rate in Lower Providence Township is 6.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, the same organization states that the U.S. overall suffers from the same average unemployment rate. Things in our community are no better and no worse than the national averages, mimicking the exact same percentage of unemployed adults.
But how can that statistic change? Nelson Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Locally accessible Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) couldn’t agree more. During the month of April, the college held a pilot “Career Transitions Workshop” for adults seeking to return to college or go for the first time at all.
Due to its wild success, MCCC will host the next set of Career Transitions Workshops on Tuesday, May 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at MCCC’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, and on Thursday, June 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
“The workshops are open to all adults and are free of charge, although pre-registration is requested,” said Alana Mauger, director of communications for MCCC.
The sessions are specifically designed to show that it is never to late to follow your dream, encouraging adults of any age to go for the career they’d always hoped for at any stage of life.
“During the workshops, prospective students will get an overview of the resources available to help them transition into college.,” said Mauger. “Topics include using MCCC’s website and online registration tools, financial aid, assessment of credits for prior learning, stackable credentials, career pathways, and job search tools.”
The assistance will not stop there, according to Mauger.
“After the initial sessions, MCCC advisors will follow up with participants one-on-one to help them identify programs and pathways that are right for them,” she said.
MCCC staff wants those seeking a broader education to feel comfortable coming to the college for help.
“Our goal is help adult learners be comfortable and successful at the College. We want this to be a place where they can get back on track with their education and transition into new careers,” said Denise Collins, who manages the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant at MCCC.
“TAACCCT provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less … to prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high-skill occupations,” said the DOL website. “Through these multi-year grants, the DOL is helping to ensure that our nation's institutions of higher education are helping adults succeed in acquiring the skills, degrees, and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment while also meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers”
According to Mauger, the grant is helping MCCC to “develop a robust Prior Learning Assessment model and stackable credentials for adult students as part of the JobTrakPA framework—a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs.”
Those of all adult ages are welcome to attend to learn more about what the local college has to offer.
“The workshop also connects to MCCC’s participation in the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, which looks to train 10,000 baby boomers for high-demand jobs through 2015,” said Mauger.