Research America Telephone Survey Shows Strong Support for Erie County Community College

March 27, 2017


The results of an independent telephone survey implemented by Research America, a firm based in Newton Square, PA, contracted to implement an independent survey of Erie County residents show a strong majority—72%--of Erie County residents support the establishment of a community college.

“This is an important piece of the research component of a feasibility study being conducted in connection with the push for a community college for Erie county,” said Ron DiNicola, Chair of Empower Erie, the non-profit leading the effort.  “This independent survey is just one piece of our work, and it affirms that Erie county residents see the value of establishing a community college as a source of affordable higher-education options that connect people to jobs.” 

Nearly 3 in 4 residents surveyed believe there are enough potential students in Erie county to support a community college, and a strong majority (77%) feel it’s "important" or "very important" for a community college to be involved in local economic development.

Demographics are included in the report (attached), which include:  

  • Strong support for and belief that Erie County would benefit from a community college.

  • Top reason for support: the cost of four-year institutions. 

  • Top reason to oppose: abundance of colleges in the area. 

  • People highly value higher education that connects people to jobs. 

  • A community college is seen as benefiting both traditional students and adults. 

  •  A range of programs are desired – but programs that connect people to jobs are most valued. 

  •  On-the-job training is seen as the top teaching method, followed by a mix of online and traditional approaches. 

  • Local educators are particularly likely to believe in the benefits of a community college. Again, affordability is the top reason.


Research America was the vendor contracted by Parker Philips, the firm conducting a feasibility study, to conduct the telephone survey.  For the past 40 years, Research America has been recognized as a leading provider of quantitative market research services, delivers quality interviewing services to the business, government, political, education and healthcare communities throughout the United States.  

Empower Erie is a non-profit recipient of an Erie Community Foundation Shaping Tomorrow grant charged with establishing an Erie Community College.