July 16, 2009
Harrisburg, PA – HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is training the region’s future workforce – members who in turn serve their communities and help stimulate Central Pennsylvania’s economy.
“HACC is a major economic engine powering this region,” said HACC President Edna V. Bahere, Ph.D. “Our annual impact on the region totals more than a billion dollars and our graduates increase their earning power by more than $400 thousand over their lifetime.”
President Obama’s plan unveiled this week in Michigan calling for $12 billion to help the nation’s community colleges address the changing needs of the country’s workforce “is on the right track,” she said. “HACC already is working to expand its partnerships with local business and industry, and stands ready and willing to partner with both the government at every level and the private sector to help improve both the lives of our students and the health of our economy.”
HACC has played a vital role in the region since it was established 45 years ago. Unlike alumni of most four-year institutions, 80 percent of HACC’s alumni live and work within 25 miles of their campuses.
Thousands of alumni attribute their success to their HACC experience. “HACC encourages its students to stay in the region and use the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired here to help their communities grow and prosper,” Baehre said.
“Our alumni have not only proven that their HACC education can stand out among the best, but Central Pennsylvania also has benefited from their experiences here. Students of all ages and from all walks of life come to HACC to gain the skills for a better life, and alumni have gone on to pursue bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and engage in a variety of careers, including professors, engineers, carpenters, welders and community workers.”
The following are among alumni who attribute their success to their HACC experience.
Judge John Kennedy, York County Court of Common Pleas, ’78
Before Judge John Kennedy of the York County Court of Common Pleas received his law enforcement degree from Eastern Kentucky University and studied law at the University of Pittsburgh, he was a HACC student.
Because of the classes he took at HACC, Kennedy was able to compete on equal footing with the best students at the University of Pittsburgh, some of whom studied at Princeton and Penn State. Not only can a HACC education stand up against the most prestigious four-year institutions, it also offers an affordable, quality education, with easily transferable credits.
“You can’t beat it,” said Kennedy, who attended HACC from 1976-78 and earned an associate degree in police administration. He went to Eastern Kentucky University where a HACC professor had attended graduate school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement there, then received a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983.
Kennedy, who has served his community for 14 years as a trial judge, is chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Committee on Corrections and teaches Junior Achievement classes in the York City School District. He also has done mission work in Guatemala through his church. Kennedy recommends HACC to any college-bound student looking for an affordable, quality education. He lives in York with his wife and children.
J. Michael Brill, Owner of J. Michael Brill and Associates, ’78
J. Michael Brill didn’t know what he wanted to do when he graduated from high school in June 1976.
Although he was accepted to several universities, many weren’t an option because he had to finance his college education. He enrolled at HACC, where he found the courses he wanted at an affordable price and at a convenient location.
Brill attended HACC from 1976-78, earning an associate degree in architectural
drafting, then earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State. After many years of hard work honing his skills, he founded J. Michael Brill & Associates Inc., a consulting civil and site engineering company of which he is owner and principal engineer.
When Brill started his company, he had only four clients and seven projects. Today, he has 21 people on the payroll, and to date, the firm has worked on more than 1,800 projects for more than 700 clients.
Brill attributes much of his personal and professional success to his experience at HACC. He is especially thankful for some of his professors, who had completely different mindsets than some professors at four-year colleges. Many of the professors at HACC have real-world experience within their areas of expertise, which Brill said helped him greatly prepare for his career. One professor Brill credits with helping to jump-start his career is Dave McNeilly, his guidance counselor and a professional engineer himself. McNeilly, who still teaches at HACC, helped Brill get his first job and was his mentor.
When asked if he would advise students to attend HACC, he replied, “Absolutely! The campus has grown tremendously, but (the college) still continues to offer a great education at a very reasonable price.”
Brill lives in Mechanicsburg with his wife, Christine, and their two children.
Roderick L. Lee, Assistant Professor at Penn State Harrisburg, ’99
Working full time and attending school full time is not often an opportunity for adults wishing to continue their education, especially those who have been out of school for 14 years.
But for Roderick Lee, it was.
As an older student working full time, Lee felt that HACC was well suited to accommodate his needs. While attending HACC, Lee took full advantage of its accessibility and abundance of learning opportunities, including the math and writing labs, which were even open weeknights and on weekends.
After earning his associate degree in business administration in 1999, Lee transferred to Penn State Harrisburg where he received bachelor’s degrees in marketing and information systems, an MBA and a master’s degree in information systems. Given the opportunity to teach during the master’s degree program, Lee decided that he wanted to be a college professor. To achieve his goal, he earned a doctorate in information sciences and technology from Penn State.
While completing his Ph.D., he continued to use the math and writing labs at HACC because they were such valuable resources.
Not only did Lee benefit from the accessible and convenient resources HACC offers, there were faculty and staff who helped him along the way. His guidance counselor, Cathy Ciocci, helped him through the ACT 101 program, which helps students who lack college preparation adjust to the college atmosphere. Dr. James Boswell, his English professor, also personally invested in Lee by offering insight and advice.
Lee would recommend HACC’s small convenient evening and Saturday classes to any working adult seeking to continue their education.
“For working adults looking to go to school full time, but who need to get back in the process of preparing for a four-year college, HACC is a great option,” he said.
He currently is an assistant professor of information systems at Penn State Harrisburg. He is frequently engaged in outreach initiatives geared toward middle school and high school students preparing for college, and enjoys advising HACC students who transfer to Penn State Harrisburg.
He lives in Harrisburg with his two children.
Sherry McLatchy-Scarlett, Deputy of Training and Employment at Pathstone, ’00
Single teen parent, welfare recipient, farm worker and high school dropout.
Not typical words used to describe a college student. But then again, Sherry McLatchy-Scarlett wasn’t the typical college student.
Over the course of almost 10 years, she took classes part time – making use of the convenience of varying class schedules -- at HACC’s Gettysburg Campus, while working full time and raising her son as a single parent. At times, she had to work two jobs to support herself and her son, but the one-on-one assistance, accessibility to resources and small classes provided at HACC made attending college a lot easier. She earned her associate degree in criminal justice in 2000.
Receiving a quality education isn’t often an option for some, especially single parents, but HACC’s curriculum and affordable prices allowed McLatchy-Scarlett to pursue her education while at the same time furthering her career.
Before becoming deputy of training and employment at Pathstone, formerly Rural Opportunity Inc., she was a van driver for the organization. The education she received at HACC helped her to rise to her current statewide position.
McLatchy-Scarlett said attending HACC provided a more personal experience than she thought she would receive at a four-year college.
Not only did the cost of tuition offer her an opportunity to pursue a degree as a single parent, but her professors also provided her with a wealth of knowledge and practical experience.
Wherever she goes, McLatchy-Scarlett recommends a HACC education to students and especially to single parents. She makes sure to note the affordable tuition, close proximity to home and easily transferable credits.
Currently, she serves on the board of directors of the Chambersburg Hispanic American Center and the Fruitville Farm Workers Christian Ministry for Franklin, Cumberland and Adams counties.
“When asked about my experience at HACC, I always say that I am a proud graduate,” said McLatchy-Scarlett. “My son and I were able to graduate together. He graduated from high school and I graduated from HACC. It was a proud accomplishment for both of us.”
She lives in Chambersburg where she has just purchased her first home.
Fran M. Rodriguez, Pennsylvania College Access Challenge Grant Program, ’03
Going back to school is considered a difficult transition for any student, but when you are a mother, employee and community service advocate, finding the time to fit in an education can be a challenging task.
Fran Rodriquez made this transition with ease at HACC’s Lancaster Campus, graduating with an associate degree in paralegal studies. While attending HACC from 1999-2003, she was able to rediscover herself as a student and reawaken her thirst for learning.
She was forced to improve her time management skills to juggle her roles as a single, working mother and community member while was attending college.
In 2001 she was recognized in Who’s Who Among Students in American and Junior Colleges and was awarded the Central Pennsylvania Paralegal Association Scholarship Award. In July 2003, she was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA) and currently is the GACLA Commissioner for Lancaster County.
HACC also recognized Rodriguez with the Outstanding Community Leader Award for her dedication and commitment to her community.
Rodriguez said she felt “extremely comfortable” at HACC as a nontraditional student because her peers and educators also were working parents and industry professionals as well as recent high school graduates. At HACC, she had professors who genuinely enjoyed teaching and were lawyers in her community. Among her professors who had a significant impact were Richard Katz, Dan Lieberman and Mike Krimmel – all still members of the HACC faculty.
They gave her essential skills she needed to advance her career and develop her skills as a paralegal, especially helping her sharpen her research and investigative skills that are essential in her field.
Rodriguez graduated from Lincoln University with a master’s degree in human services in 2007. She received the Pi Gamma Mu National Academic Recognition Award.
Rodriguez previously was chief of staff for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Currently, she is a campus coordinator for the Pennsylvania College Access Challenge Grant Program based at McCaskey High School in the School District of Lancaster City. She works with eighth graders to ensure a smooth transition to high school, and to encourage them to succeed in high school and go on to succeed in college.
She advises and encourages students to consider HACC and, if possible, take advantage of dual enrollment to gain college credits while still in high school. She especially wants to encourage nontraditional students to attend HACC because it offers flexibility, a relaxed learning environment and great career courses.
Even though Rodriguez has graduated from HACC, she was able to take more away from HACC than just a degree and remains actively involved, serving on HACC’s Advisory Committee and the Paralegal Advisory Committee.
“That’s the beauty of educational achievement -- the meaning is different for everyone,” said Rodriguez, who lives in the city of Lancaster with her daughter.
“I could not imagine having that experience anywhere else. The Lancaster Campus of HACC was the place for me,” she said.
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, was established Feb. 14, 1964, as Harrisburg Area Community College. Since that time, HACC has been dedicated to the community and to the individual. The college’s devotion to the community arises from its mission to foster educational, cultural, workforce development and economic growth of HACC’s regional service area by giving each individual student the tools and environment to succeed. HACC offers nearly 200 associate and transfer degrees and certificate and diploma programs at campuses in Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York. In addition, HACC offers a wide variety of courses, including degree and certificate programs, through its Virtual Campus. HACC has an enrollment of more than 21,000 credit students and more than 50,000 students in workforce development and continuing education programs. For more information, go to www.hacc.edu
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