MCCC Hosts 10th Annual Straight Talk Program: ‘Building Resilience In Today’s Diverse Families’

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—The Montgomery County Teen Parent Task Force, in collaboration with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), will host its 10th annual Straight Talk program on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30-9 p.m. The topic is “Building Resilience in Today’s Diverse Families.”

The program will be held in the Science Center Theater at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with video-conferencing to South Hall 221 at MCCC’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The program is free and is open to the public; guests are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food for MCCC’s “Stock Up For Success” food pantry, which provides free breakfast and lunch items to students in need. Pre-registration is requested to Fran Wasserman at 215-688-0538 or franwasserman@verizon.net.

The Straight Talk program will include a keynote address by Abby Grasso, social services liaison with Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, followed by a panel discussion and question and answer session. Panelists include Ron Husted, coordinator of the Fatherhood Program with Child, Home & Community, Inc., and Wendell Griffith, coordinator of mentoring services at MCCC. Literature and resources will also be available before and after the presentation.

Learn About Programs & More At MCCC Fall Open Houses

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College will hold three open houses this fall to provide prospective students and the community with information about the College’s programs, campuses and activities. The open houses are free of charge and are open to the public. For more information and to pre-register, visit mc3.edu/open house or call 215-641-6551.

The College’s West Campus, located at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, will host an open house on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room.

The College’s Central Campus, located at 340 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell, will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m.-noon in Parkhouse Hall.

Both open houses will provide prospective students and their families with information about MCCC’s credit and non-credit programs. Admissions representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process, transfer opportunities, e-learning, financial aid and intercollegiate athletics, among other topics, and members of the College’s faculty will share information on the 100+ associate degree and certificate programs that are part of a comprehensive curriculum.

The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College will also host an open house on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m.-noon at its new facility located at 1400 Forty Foot Road in Lansdale, Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the kitchens and classrooms while learning about MCCC’s Culinary Arts and Pastry and Baking Arts associate degree programs, as well as its Culinary Enthusiast classes. Student Success Center advisors will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process and financial aid, among other topics.

To learn more about all the Montgomery County Community College has to offer, visit http://www.mc3.edu online.

Castor Praises Pottstown Carousel Project, Plans

Picture 011POTTSTOWN — Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. recently visited the Carousel at Pottstown and he likes what he sees.

Castor was given a tour of the former Pottstown Metal Weld building across from Memorial Park and had the particulars of the historic wooden carousel laid out for him.

Days later, Castor expressed his enthusiasm for the project to his fellow commissioners.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140911/castor-praises-pottstown-carousel-project-plans

Residents Facing Evictions At Jenkintown High Rise

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, P...

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some 200 Jenkintown residents, many of them elderly, are losing their apartments due to a dispute between local officials and the property owner.

“We’re the pawns in this,” said Marshall Jones, 93. “[The owner] is saying, ‘If you won’t do it our way, we’ll just close it down.’ “

Jones has lived in the Colonade high-rise apartments on Old York Road, in the Jenkintown section of Abington Township, for 16 years. He and other residents have had a string of complaints about leaks, electrical outages, broken elevators, cold water, broken heaters, and other issues, many of which ended up in the courts.

In 2012, the building was cited for more than 200 code violations, and the township’s solicitor was “looking into criminal charges,” according to an Inquirer report.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140904_Residents_facing_evictions_at_Jenkintown_high_rise.html#FfYzbjqVDIYStHix.99

MCCC Offers Workshop To Help Adults Transition Into College‏

Sept. 3, 2014, Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will continue to offer its popular Career Transition Workshop for adults who may be thinking about returning to college.

The next workshop will be held on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m.-noon. in the Advanced Technology Center, room 101, at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The workshop is open to all adults and is free of charge, although pre-registration is requested. For more information or to RSVP, contact Denise Collins at 215-619-7313 or dcollins@mc3.edu.

During the workshop, prospective students will get an overview of the resources available to help them transition into college. Topics include using MCCC’s website and online registration tools, financial aid, assessment of credits for prior learning, stackable credentials, career pathways and job search tools.

After the initial session, MCCC advisors will follow up with participants one-on-one to help them identify programs and pathways that are right for them.

“Our goal is help adult learners be comfortable and successful at the College. We want this to be a place where they can get back on track with their education and transition into new careers,” said Denise Collins, who manages the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant at MCCC.

The grant is helping MCCC to develop a robust Prior Learning Assessment model and stackable credentials for adult students as part of the JobTrakPA framework—a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs.

The workshop also connects to MCCC’s participation in the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, which looks to train 10,000 baby boomers for high-demand jobs through 2015.

MCCC, Montgomery County Host Presentation On Addiction

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— The Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol and Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Student Support and Referral Team will host “The Other Faces of Addiction,” a program designed to help individuals cope with a loved one’s addiction, on Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6:30-8 p.m.

The free program will take place at MCCC’s Central Campus, Science Center room 214, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and will be simulcast to the West Campus, South Hall room 221, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

During the presentation, participants will learn strategies to care for one’s own life while living with a loved one’s addiction. Family members will share their strategies and triumphs, and Mana Mobile Massage will provide information on self-care, yoga and meditation.

To learn more, contact Eileen Lafferty at 610-278-3538 or elaffert@montcopa.org.

Greater Norristown Police Athletic League International Festival Slated For Sept. 4

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Greater Norristown Police Athletic League’s (GNPAL) 14th Annual International Festival, “A Wine and Food Extravaganza” will be held at the Plymouth Country Club Thursday, Sept. 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event, benefiting GNPAL programs, will feature live entertainment, a silent auction/raffle and an extensive menu featuring some of the area’s top culinary talents.

“The international food and wine festival is all about supporting our organization and the work we do in the community,” said GNPAL Executive Director Brett Wells.

“It’s our only big fundraiser of the year. We raise about 20 percent of our annual budget in just this one event,” Wells explained.

More than 100 local business have signed on as sponsors and 25 restaurants and vendors will be on hand to serve an estimated 1,000 to 1,300 guests.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140901/greater-norristown-police-athletic-league-international-festival-slated-for-sept-4

Pottsgrove Manor To Offer Program On “Clothing The Common Sort”

Pottstown, PA  On Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 11:00am to 3:00pm, historic Pottsgrove Manor will show visitors what their colonial ancestors wore to work with a living history program entitled, “Clothing the Common Sort.”

At 11:00am and 1:00pm, historian Deborah Peterson will give show-and-tell presentations explaining the clothing of laboring men, women, and children in eighteenth-century America. Throughout the day, the site’s living history volunteers will demonstrate various colonial chores, including cooking at the open hearth, while dressed in their working-class attire. Some activities will be hands-on, and visitors will get a chance to try on some of the reproduction clothes for themselves.

This program is being held in conjunction with the Manor’s current exhibit of both reproduction and original 18th-century garments, “To the Manor Worn: Clothing the 18th-Century Household,” which can be toured on the hour during the program. There is a suggested donation of $2 per person for this program. The museum shop will also be open throughout the event and will be having a special one-day-only sale—10% off all sewing-related items!

The clothing exhibit can also be toured during regular museum hours through November 2, 2014: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Tours are given on the hour. The last tour of the day begins at 3:00pm. The site is closed Mondays and major holidays. Groups of ten or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014.

Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department. For more information, please call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at www.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor. Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor.

EITC Funding Helps Qualifying Families With Preschool Costs At MCCC

Blue Bell, Pa.—The Children’s Center at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is offering subsidized preschool education to low-income families for the 2014-15 academic year through Educational Investment Tax Credit (EITC) funding from North Penn United Way.

Funding is available for children ages three and four with a household income that is under 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and who live in the North Penn or Souderton school districts. Those who qualify will have 70 percent of their weekly child care tuition covered. Funding is available on a first-come, first served basis and is open to current MCCC students and members of the community.

To learn more, contact MCCC Children’s Center Director Debbie Ravacon at 215-641-6618 or dravacon@mc3.edu.

The Children’s Center, which is located at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, is a fully licensed child care center that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It is recognized by NAEYC as an exemplary early childhood education program in the nation for its work to engage diverse families, has a top Keystone Stars rating of four, and is a consistent recipient of the Start4 Merit Award.

Research identifies cost and accessibility to affordable child care as reasons why lower-income students do not complete college. The Children’s Center supports MCCC’s strategic goal to expand access to education and increase student success by offering accessible child care at discounted rates and flexible schedules to maximize affordability.

For more information about MCCC’s Children’s Center, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/child-care.

Registration for fall semester classes at Montgomery County Community College is going on now. Classes are available in 14, 10 and seven-week sessions that start on Aug. 27, Sept. 24 and Oct. 15. Visit mc3.edu/Fall2014 to learn more.

MCCC, Kutztown University Officials Sign First ‘Reverse Transfer’ Agreement Between Community College And State System Institutions In Commonwealth

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and Kutztown University (KU) signed a “reverse transfer” agreement on Aug. 20—the first agreement of its kind between a community college and a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) university.

Under the new agreement, students who complete at least 15 credits at MCCC now have the opportunity to transfer credits they earn at Kutztown back to Montgomery in order to earn an associate’s degree in a parallel field en route to earning a bachelor’s degree.

According to MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, the agreement builds on Montgomery’s strategic efforts to increase student access, progression and completion rates, and on work being done nationally to support community college degree completion.

“The associate’s degree has value and is an important credential for community college students,” said Dr. Stout. “By earning an associate’s degree, students demonstrate their ability to complete an area of study, which can help them in the job market or with career advancement while pursing their baccalaureate degree. While we encourage our students to earn their degree before transferring, it’s important for us to understand that our students take multiple pathways to complete their education.”

Close to 70 percent of MCCC students enter the College each year with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution, and Kutztown is a popular choice. In fact, last year, 182 of the College’s students transferred an average 44 credits to KU.

The institutions’ leaders envision that the new agreement will serve as a model partnership for Pennsylvania community colleges and State System institutions. MCCC and KU are not strangers to such innovation; in 2007, Montgomery became the first community college with which Kutztown signed a dual-admissions and core-to-core transfer agreement.

“Kutztown University is excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Community College in developing another program to benefit students of our region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, KU’s acting president.  “Serving students is at the core of all that we do, and this is truly a student-centric program.”

MCCC Holds Open Houses For High-Demand JobTrakPA Career Programs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will hold open houses in Blue Bell and Pottstown for individuals interested in learning more about its high-demand JobTrakPA career programs. Fall programs include Wastewater Technician; Health Information Technology; Medical Billing and Coding; and Warehouse and Logistics.

The open houses will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. at MCCC’s Central Campus, Parkhouse Hall room 112, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the College’s West Campus, South Hall room 221, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

JobTrakPA programs are funded in whole or in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor—Employment and Training Administration. The programs are designed to educate and train displaced workers in high-demand occupations. Deferred payment plans are available.

According to the U.S Department of Labor, 57 percent of workers in trade-related fields hold only a high school diploma or its equivalent, and close to 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s trade workers are between 40 and 60 years of age. Employers cite a critical shortage of qualified workers to fill jobs in the growing industries of advanced manufacturing, energy and health care technology.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit http://www.mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

New Certificate Launched To Fill Pharmacy Technician Demand

Blue Bell, Pa.—Pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2022—nine percent higher than the average growth rate for all occupations nationally according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The demand holds true in Pennsylvania as well; the Commonwealth is ranked fourth among states in the number of pharmacy technicians currently employed.

To help fill the demand in this growing field, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is introducing a Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program this fall. Classes are held Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Oct. 4 and ending Dec. 20 at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Program tuition is $1,638. To learn more, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics, select areas of study, health sciences, and career training programs or call 215-641-6374.

MCCC’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program is comprised of 55 hours of classroom instruction along with Health 21, a 21-hour online component that provides an overview of the health care industry. Students are required to complete homework assignments, as well as mid-term and final exams. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health care professionals. Fifty-three percent of technicians are employed in pharmacies and drug stores, with others employed in hospitals, general merchandise and grocery stores, and ambulatory health care services. Positions may be full or part time and often include evenings and weekends.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that candidates with formal training or prior experience have the best opportunity for employment as pharmacy technicians. In 2012, the median salary for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 nationally.

MCCC Joins ‘Yellow Ribbon Program’ To Benefit Student Veterans

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) was recently selected to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the 2014-15 academic year. The program enables MCCC to assist up to 10 student veterans with fees associated with out-of-state residency.

“Many students return or relocate to Pennsylvania after their military service only to be charged as ‘out-of-state’ residents, which the VA does not cover under normal Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits,” explains former U.S. Marine Justin Machain, coordinator of veterans services at MCCC. “The College applied to, and was accepted by, the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist these students with out-of-state costs starting this fall.”

To qualify for funding, veterans must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and cannot be on active duty. Visit benefits.va.gov/gibill/yellow_ribbon.asp for full eligibility requirements.

Montgomery County Community College’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program builds on its commitment to a student veteran population that has grown by close to 130 percent since 2007. Fiscal year 2013-14 saw 705 student veterans enrolled at the College, which is nationally designated as a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media for five years running.

The College’s support services for student veterans include a dedicated resource center, lounge, new student orientation, study groups, career counseling and yoga, among others, facilitated by a dedicated Veterans Support Team. MCCC also has an active Student Veterans Organization, which is an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA).

Veteran services are a part of MCCC’s overarching Student Success Initiative—expanding access to higher education and increasing student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education.

To learn more about Veterans Affairs at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/vrc or contact Justin Machain at 215-619-7307 or veterans@mc3.edu. For information about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visit http://www.gibill.va.gov.

National BMX Race Coming To Pottstown This Weekend

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — This will be a town of national champions this weekend.

That’s because the BMX Quaker State Nationals are coming to Pottstown’s Trilogy Park.

Winning the bid to host the race is no easy task, and although its not Pottstown’s first time, its never a sure thing.

“We were competing with about 400 other tracks to get the race, and we have to put out a proposal, which the Valley Forge Convention and visitors Bureau puts together for us,” said Cathy Knapper, president of the Trilogy Park organization, which is located in Memorial Park.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140804/national-bmx-race-coming-to-pottstown-this-weekend

Dr. José Alicea Named Dean Of Academic And Student Affairs For MCCC’s West Campus

Jose-AliceaPottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) welcomes Dr. José Alicea as dean of academic and student affairs at its West Campus in Pottstown. In his new role, Dr. Alicea will provide strategic leadership in the delivery of academic credit and non-credit programs and student services that lead to increased student progression, retention and completion.

Dr. Alicea comes to MCCC from Roxbury Community College (RCC) in Massachusetts, where he served in various roles since 2003. He began his work as dean of continuing education and community services. After one year, he became assistant to the vice president of academic affairs for programs and student services, and later the dean for institutional effectiveness, during which time he led the President’s Institutional Effectiveness Initiative. He also served as interim dean for RCC’s Division of Business and Technology from 2008-2010.

Most recently, Dr. Alicea served RCC as associate dean of academic affairs, where he was responsible for special academic programs, projects and partnerships; reviewing and formulating academic policies; providing leadership within the major division of the college; and representing the institution in the wider community.

Dr. Alicea holds a Doctor of Education degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy and a Master of Education degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, as well as a Master in City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Advocacy and Human Services from University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Schuylkill River Trail Extensions Will Connect Pottstown, Phoenixville

POTTSTOWN — It’s a simple truth, one that Kurt Zwikl repeats often: the longer a trail, the more people it attracts.

So perhaps that’s why as executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Association, he is so excited about the nearly $10 million of work being planned for his trail along the Schuylkill River.

Listed among hundreds of projects approved for funding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, two relatively little items in Chester County are big news in terms of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Though small, they form crucial connections between two completed portions of the trail — from Mont Clare to Phoenixville and from Parker Ford to Pottstown.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140801/schuylkill-river-trail-extensions-will-connect-pottstown-phoenixville

Failed Norristown Condos Still A Burden To Buyers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Terry Derby had to surf on seven different couches. Ellen Frank was turned down for credit cards and had trouble leasing a car. Ryan Schofield figures he might never again be able to buy a house.

Home ownership was not supposed to be like this. Instead of buying a haven, five Norristown condominium owners say they wound up with a horror.

The residents are left fighting for their credit ratings and some sort of compensation.

It’s a years-long saga – one yet to end – that spurred changes in the way the seat of Montgomery County monitors construction projects. But that offers little help to the people caught in a financial and legal tangle not of their own making.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140728_Failed_Norristown_condos_still_a_burden_to_buyers.html#sRoLYajfK86r2qPy.99