The Erie Community Foundation backs a plan for a community college, providing funds to create tax free sustainability.
The Erie Community Foundation board of trustees approved a resolution acknowledging its support for the proposal to establish a public community college in Erie, prepared by Empower Erie.
Mike Bachelor, President of the Erie Community Foundation, says, "We've done big projects here in Erie County. We've built a runway, we have built an arena; those are all great things, hotels on the bayfront; maybe it's time to invest in people and this community college can really do that".
The ECF's backing comes shortly after the Erie School District board of school directors unanimously supported a resolution in April of establishing a community college in Erie County. Ron DiNicola, Empower Erie Chairperson states, "The Erie School District Board of School Directors recognizes the urgent need for open-access, affordable higher education for Erie County high school students and deserve applause for enthusiastically supporting a community college... A large majority of Erie county residents agree that it's time that our students had access to the same affordable, higher-education opportunities as students enjoy across the state."
“Harvard researchers also estimate that 60% of the new jobs expected to be created in the US in the next 10 years will require an associate‘s degree or certificate," continued DiNicola, "The Board’s continued support of Empower Erie’s efforts to help raise attainment levels in Erie County is energizing and further affirms that Erie is ready for a community college.”
Advanced manufacturers in Erie County estimate that 50% of their workforce will retire in the next ten years. Most of those jobs will require post-secondary training, but not a bachelor’s degree. A community college’s unique mission is to meet the higher education needs of local communities and raise educational attainment for existing and future economy.
The Community Foundation promised 3.7 million dollars from the Susan Hirt Hagen Fund for Transformational Philanthropy, along with gaming revenue, to implement the community college plan.
This, in addition to a proposed 3.8 million dollars from the county, will help to relieve the burden on taxpayers. Also, financial studies show a community college for Erie County could operate for its initial five years without tax dollars.
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