Community college effort gets endorsement

Local News

Local organized labor unions, representing tens of thousands of local workers, announced their endorsement behind the push to get a community college in Erie County.

Erie-Crawford Central Labor Council, Great Lakes Building Trades, IBEW Local 56, AFSCME Local 13 and U.E. Local 506 joining together to show their support.

Scott Slawson, president of U.E. Local 506, says, “One of the alarming things that we’ve seen is the younger generation is moving out of the area. We need to keep them here to be vibrant and successful community. We need to keep the younger generation here. We need to keep them employed and we need to do things to attract manufacturers to our area. A community college would definitely help with that.”

Empower Erie working to make the idea a reality, saying the support of the unions is tremendous.

Ron DiNicola, chair of Empower Erie, says, “This is really very important to us because organized labor offers a number of programs, apprentice programs, a variety of disciplines that are very important to young people who are looking to get a skill.”

DiNicola says a community college would offer the flexibility for those who wanted to enter into these trades to get the training they need.

DiNicola says, “We’ll collaborate with them in offering them at the community college or collaborating with them at their facility. But that’s what a community college does. It adapts to situations as they arise.”

Slawson says they have around 1500 employees laid off right now, and a community college would spark optimism in the workforce.

Slawson says, “Without a younger generation to fill that supply line, a lot of employers aren’t interested. They’re interested in the labor you now, but they want to know there’s future labor there for them.”

The community college feasibility study is near complete, and the results will be released by the end of next week.

DiNicola telling everyone to “stay tuned.”

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