Erie County continues push for community college to be funded primarily by donor dollars

Local News

The push for a community college in Erie County intensifies as community leaders announce a plan to spend thousands of dollars to gain support for their cause.

It is estimated that this multi-faceted campaign will cost around $300,000. Organizers say taxpayers shouldn’t worry, because it will be funded primarily through donor dollars.

Advocates for a free-standing community college in Erie County plan on investing thousands of dollars to launch a campaign aimed at building support from citizens.

The campaign will include extensive media outreach, along with TV and social media advertising.

“Erie’s been outside, hasn’t been let into the club of community colleges that are splitting 300 million dollars a year, every year, for workforce development, remedial training, certifications,” said Ron Dinicola, Co-Founder, Empower Erie.

Ron DiNicola is the Co-Founder of Empower Erie, the nonprofit organization responsible for drafting this plan.

He says the ultimate goal of the campaign is to make sure the State Department of Education and lawmakers see how much Erie County residents want and need a community college.

“If we have to mobilize our citizens, which we will, to go to Harrisburg., if we have to provide information to the Governor, the Board of Education, we will do whatever’s necessary,” said DiNicola.

The campaign is coming as the county’s community college application to the state is still pending after two years.

“We have supplied the Department of Education with each and everything they have requested; the various financial statements, revised the plan. Everything they have asked for, we have given to them,” said Gary Lee, Director of Administration, Erie County.

Director of Administration, Gary Lee, says he hopes this campaign will push the Department of Education to approve the county’s application.

“We need to put a name with a face and we need to get down there and we actually need to sit down and start talking to the various decision makers,” said Lee.

Lee says he is planning to be in Harrisburg on October 21st on behalf of the administration to meet with key officials.

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