JoAnn L. Edwards
Human Services, 1975
“My education at HACC was the cornerstone necessary for my successful climb into the corporate world.”
JoAnn’s HACC journey led her to her current role of executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). PHRC promotes equal opportunity for all and enforces Pennsylvania's civil rights laws that protect people from unlawful discrimination. JoAnn passionately furthers PHRC’s mission through strategic planning to establish sustainable, effective enforcement and outreach practices that will help ensure equal opportunities in a climate of rapid demographic, technological and cultural change. This includes addressing current challenges and trends in civil rights, as well as agency human, financial and technological resources through innovation and integrity.
The foundation for this important work was laid through friendly HACC instructors and easily transferable credits: “My education at HACC was the cornerstone necessary for my successful climb into the corporate world. The knowledge and skill set that was engrained in me helped prepare me for transferring to Penn State Harrisburg to continue what I started at HACC and thus prepared me for the corporate world I was about to enter.” JoAnn would go on to obtain her bachelor’s degree from Penn State Harrisburg and her master’s degree from St. Francis University.
Looking back, JoAnn understands the value of a HACC education: “Community College is an excellent way to start your academic career. It is close to home, affordable and you learn in a more intimate setting. The faculty and staff at your local community college are truly interested in your success. I would advise anyone who is trying to choose a college, to seriously consider their local community college first and once they have successfully completed their required curriculum then transfer to complete their bachelor’s degree. The experience at your community college will be excellent and will prepare you to be successful in any other academic setting.”
JoAnn recognizes the important role community colleges play in the areas they serve: “HACC's impact on the community is invaluable. The presence of this community college presents opportunities to a diverse group of students that might not have the opportunity otherwise to further their education.” She, in turn, gives back to her community by participating in Dress for Success, whose mission is to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”