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Commission Celebrates Recent Grads Set To Fill Workforce Needs Statewide

Posted June 17, 2024 at 1:03 pm

The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) celebrated the graduation of 7,530 students from the state’s 15 community colleges last month. Of those, Pennsylvania Highlands celebrated the graduation of 303 students in May, with the top associate degrees being Liberal Arts and Sciences (72), Business Management (31), Medical Coding and Billing (19), Education (19), Accounting (13), and Radiologic Technology (13). 

Pennsylvania’s community colleges annually enroll over 245,000 students at 80 different campus locations, providing real savings to students and families as they pursue additional college credentials.  

“Penn Highlands continues to provide affordable, accessible and quality education to the communities we serve, and our graduates are expertly trained to either transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree at a university or to quickly enter the workforce,” stated Dr. Steve Nunez, Pennsylvania Highlands President. 

Based on current census and population data, it is estimated Pennsylvania’s projected skilled worker shortage could reach 820,000 in the coming years. Community colleges already excel in providing skilled graduates to help meet the state and the region’s workforce needs that will support continued economic expansion.  

Around half of Penn Highlands graduates will immediately enter the region’s workforce as highly trained professionals while the remainder will focus on a bachelor’s degree before entering the workforce.  

Community colleges are the state’s largest provider of public postsecondary education and workforce training and offer the lowest public postsecondary cost of attendance in Pennsylvania. About 55 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in a Pennsylvania college or university are enrolled at one of the state’s community colleges.  

Additionally, 75 percent of community colleges’ programs align with High Priority Occupations in fields such as healthcare, manufacturing, and public safety. Community colleges award over 4,000 healthcare credentials annually on average, including 75 percent of all associate degrees in nursing in the state.  

“Penn Highlands will remain focused on its mission to provide outstanding educational opportunities to the communities we serve,” Nunez stated.