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Pre-Employment Background Check Information

This page will provide information regarding the required clearances related to PA Act 153 and pre-employment background check information for prospective employees of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. Any questions regarding this information can be directed to hr@pennhighlands.edu or by calling 814-262-6400.

WHAT IS PA ACT 153?

The Pennsylvania state legislature sought to strengthen protections for children in the PA Child Protective Services Law (CPSL). It went into effect on Dec. 31, 2014, and now requires colleges and universities to obtain, as it has for K-12 employees for several years, background clearances for any individuals having routine interaction with children at the college or in a college-sponsored program, activity, or service. The CPSL also requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse directly to the PA Department of Human Services.


WHAT ARE THE REQUIRED CLEARANCES?

  1. Act 34 – Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
  2. Act 151 – Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
  3. Act 114 – Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report)

WHO WILL BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THE CLEARANCES?

All offers of employment with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College are contingent upon completion and satisfactory review of certain background clearances, depending upon the classification of employee. Not all new hires will be required to obtain all three clearances. Because of the duel-enrolled students through the ACE program, the College requires only faculty members to obtain all three clearances to ensure full legal compliance of PA Act 153.

A. Faculty New Hires (includes full-time and adjunct faculty)

      1. Act 34 – Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
      2. Act 151 – Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
      3. Act 114 – Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report)

B. Administrative and Support Staff New Hires (includes full-time and part-time)

      1. Act 34 – Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
      2. In cases where a new hire is working with students under the age of 18, or may visit high schools to recruit new students, the new hire will be required to obtain Act 151 and Act 114 clearances, as well.

C. Student Tutors, Professional Tutors, and Federal Work Study Students

      1. Act 34 – Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
      2. In cases where a tutor or Federal Work Study student is working with students under the age of 18, they will be required to obtain Act 151 and Act 114 clearances, as well.

D. Continuing Education Faculty

      1. Act 34 - Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
      2. In cases where a class has a registered student under the age of 18, the faculty member will be required to obtain Act 151 and Act 114 clearances, as well.

HOW MANY YEARS DOES THE COLLEGE LOOK BACK ON CRIMINAL HISTORIES?

The College will look back on seven (7) years of criminal history.


DOES THE COLLEGE REQUIRE ANY ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND CLEARANCES?

Yes. Any new hire that has lived outside the state of Pennsylvania over the past seven (7) years will be required to provide a State Police Criminal Record Check for each state they have lived in. Most state police record checks can be completed online; however, you may need to check with your local state police in each respective state for instructions on how to obtain the record check.


IF I AM CURRENTLY A NON-PA RESIDENT, DO I NEED TO OBTAIN CLEARANCES FROM MY STATE OF RESIDENCE?

If you are a non-PA resident, you must still obtain all of the applicable clearances as instructed above; however, you will instead need to obtain the State Police clearance from your current state of residence, as well as any other states you have lived in over the past seven (7) years. Most state police clearances can be completed online; however, you may need to check with your local state police in each respective state for instructions on how to obtain the clearance.

The Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Act 114) will need to be completed a little differently. Please refer to the guide for completing Act 114 for non-PA residents only.


WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR OBTAINING EACH CLEARANCE?

    1. Upon accepting an offer of employment, new hires must begin the process of obtaining the required clearances before their first day of work with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. 
    2. Each clearance can be completed online and the new hire assumes the full cost of the clearances.
      1. Act 34 – Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check
        1. Guide for completing Act 34
      2. Act 151 – Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance
        1. Guide for completing Act 151
      3. Act 114 – Federal (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check (Criminal History Report)
        1. Guide for completing Act 114 (PA RESIDENTS ONLY)
        2. Guide for completing Act 114 (NON-PA RESIDENTS ONLY)

New hires who must also obtain additional State Police clearances will need to check with their local state police on how to obtain the clearance for each state they have lived in.  In most cases, however, a state police record check can be completed online.


WHAT IF I ALREADY HAVE THE REQUIRED CLEARANCES FROM PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT?

Act 153 states that the required clearances are valid for 5 years. As a result, we will accept copies of clearances as long as they were completed within the last 5 years from your official hire date at Penn Highlands.

Please note that Act 153 prohibits employers from accepting clearances that were obtained for a volunteer purpose.


WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I REFUSE TO TAKE PART IN THE PRE-EMPLOYMENT BACKGROUND SCREENING PROCESS, AND DO I HAVE ANY OPTIONS?

This requirement is not optional. Per College practice and in order to comply with PA Act 153, your full participation in obtaining the required clearances is a condition of employment with the College.  


HOW OFTEN WILL THESE BACKGROUND CHECKS BE REQUIRED?

Per Act 153, the clearances are required to be updated every five years. Human Resources will facilitate the background screening renewal process on an ongoing basis and the affected employee will be required to pay the full cost of updating each clearance.


WHAT HAPPENS IF A CRIMINAL CONVICTION IS IDENTIFIED DURING THE BACKGROUND CHECK PROCESS?

A criminal record will not automatically disqualify a candidate from Penn Highlands employment. The Human Resources Department will review the background check for factors such as: severity of the offense, the length of time since the offense, and the nature of employment offered.


WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES IF THE RESULTS OF THE BACKGROUND CHECK SHOW THAT I HAVE FALSIFIED OR PROVIDED INCOMPLETE APPLICATION MATERIALS?

If an applicant has falsified or provided incomplete application materials at any step during the hiring process, it may result in the candidate’s disqualification of employment; withdraw of the job offer, or termination.

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