Study: Residents favor community college in Erie

ERIE, Pa. -- Erie is the largest area in the state without a community college and some local leaders are trying to change that.

EmpowerErie's feasibility study is almost done and so far it says 80 percent of people want a community college here.

Erie Community Foundation, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and the Susan Hirt Hagen Fund for transformation philanthropy all back EmpowerErie.

Officials from the organizations say the community college wouldn't take away from the universities that already exist in Erie.

They say as much as community members deserve more options, the college would also fill a need.

"Somewhere between 20 and 50 percent of the workforce in manufacturing is going to retire within the next 5 to 10 years,” president of the Erie Community Foundation Mike Batchelor said. “So that's a significant challenge for our community and something like a community college could really meet that challenge."

There are 14 community colleges in the state, and Erie residents already pay taxes to support them.

There are a few steps once the feasibility study is done, but the group hopes to have the plan ready to present to the Board of Education in Harrisburg by July 4. 


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