Community College meeting tonight

Tonight is the night the Pennsylvania Board of Education will hear from the community about whether or not the public thinks we need a community college.

A State Committee designated to take Erie County's application for a community college through the process is in Erie tonight.  They want to know what the community feels about the idea before any decision is made.  

Tim Hunter, the CEO of McInnes Rolled Rings is one of nearly 50 people speaking tonight at the Pennsylvania Board of Education Committee on Erie County's application for a community college.  He says, "we see it successful all across the country".  Hunter thinks it will fill Erie's skills gap.  "Its something manufacturers and businesses deal with nationwide. So, we are focused on a lot of initiatives and pathways to create more technically skilled jobs."

The county submitted its application to the State Department of Education back in June, after an approval by Erie County Council.  It is the State Board of Education that has the final say.  Gary Lee, the County's Director of Administration, says while this public meeting was not mandatory, it's important to the county.  "It's going to allow the committee to hear first hand what the individuals in the community who, at some point, will be responsible for investing should this initiative go forward. It's good to hear advantages/disadvantages and any type of cons there may be."

This is just a part of the process in the initiative in which the next step is to go back to the full Pennsylvania Education Board for more review before a decision is made.  

But, the question about funding remains.  Gary Lee called it a "moving target" as they move through the application process, they will be working with County Council to make sure the county can support such an initiative.  

That public meeting is open to the public, starting just minutes ago at the Hirt Auditorium, you had to pre-register to speak, but all are welcome.  


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