May 30, 2017
The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Northwest Region, endorsed the Empower Erie effort to establish a local community college in Erie County this week. The PSEA represents 180,000 educators statewide—7,000 here in the Northwest Region—who prepare the commonwealth’s public school students for success. The Northwest PA region represents active and retired educators and educational support professionals in Erie, Crawford, Warren, Forest and Venango counties.
The group is led by a team from across the region including its local President, Tracey Hart a teacher at Franklin School District, who weighed in support of the community college, "As educators, we have devoted our careers to helping students succeed not simply from grades K -12, but to fulfill their lifelong potential,” said Hart.
“We know first-hand how important post-secondary education is to economic success as well as being productive citizens and community members. A Community College will provide Erie residents with an affordable option for post-secondary education. And a community college provides flexibility -- allowing students to take a full course load as well as part-time and night courses in a variety of specialties that can lead to a family-sustaining job. PSEA proudly supports this proposed Community College Plan. It is time for Erie residents to have the same educational opportunities the rest of the state enjoys."
Ron DiNicola, Empower Erie Chairperson said, "The support of PSEA for this Community College Plan is a great honor. As educators and supporters of our young minds they know firsthand how important the education of all Erie residents is to our future. This Community College Plan provides affordable education opportunities and is an investment in the economic success of our entire region.”
Empower Erie is a non-profit recipient of an Erie Community Foundation Shaping Tomorrow grant, funded in cooperation with Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and the Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Transformational Philanthropy, charged with establishing an Erie County Community College.
In September 2016 The Erie Community Foundation, The Susan Hirt Hagan Fund for Transformational Philanthropy and the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority jointly awarded $300,000 to Empower Erie to study the feasibility of creating a stand-alone community college for Erie. Upon approval of the results of the study, another $3.7 million will be available to Empower Erie to implement the Community College plan.