MCCC’s Center For Workforce Development Offers Scholarships For Online, Non-Credit Microsoft Excel Analytics Course‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA — Knowing how to use software such as Microsoft Excel Analytics is essential for today’s middle-skill occupations, such as store manager, retail supervisor and administrative assistant.

To assist people who need these vital software skills, Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) is offering scholarships for an online, non-credit Microsoft Excel Analytics course.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC), CWD is able to offer these scholarships, which cover the entire course fee and provide access to the online learning tool, “SNAP,” for the first 28 participants who register. The scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Microsoft Excel Analytics course introduces the concept of data analytics and its applicability to organizations. Using the latest software, students will learn how to organize and interpret data, conduct analyses and develop visually appealing and informative reports. They also will learn to how to evaluate and apply data to enhance business performance. Overall, students will learn how to apply critical thinking skills and analytics for making data-based decisions, which will enhance their leadership performance in their respective or prospective careers.

While participants will not need to purchase any textbooks, they will need access to Microsoft Excel 2013 as well as the Internet. The self-paced course is held 100 percent online. Enrollment starts on May 1, and the course is active through June 30, 2016. Badges will be provided for mastery of competencies. The course also is aligned with the Microsoft Office Certification Excel exam.

For more information about the course or to register, contact:  Geraldine Rosetti at 215-461-1127 or grossett@mc3.edu or Marge Philippsen at 215-641-6374 or mphilipp@mc3.edu.

The scholarships for the Microsoft Excel Analytics course is one of the workforce training initiatives MCCC is able to offer to the community as a result of receiving a matching grant of $2,177,471 from MCEDC in 2015. This gift established an endowment supporting MCCC’s expertise in educating and training students for regional jobs and careers. Since it is a matching grant, donations have double the impact in funding vital workforce development initiatives.

The first distribution from matched funds is supporting four initiatives:  an Innovation and Sustainability Hub Learning Lab for Hydroponics and Aquaponics, Advanced Manufacturing training and support, Workforce Skills Modules in Information Technology and Manufacturing and a Software Developer Academy.

MCEDC’s grant started a new chapter in community college philanthropy and its matching gift challenge presents the community with the opportunity to invest in tomorrow’s workforce. To discuss funding opportunities or personal goals in making a gift in support of the match, contact the Foundation at 215-641-6529.

MCCC Students Named To ‘Who¹s Who Among American Junior Colleges’ List‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —One hundred forty soon-to-be graduates from Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) have been named to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges list for 2016. They join students from more than 1,000 schools throughout the country in being recognized for their commitment to academic excellence.

Each institution sets its own criteria for nomination within the parameters established by Who’s Who Among Students. MCCC students selected for this year’s list must have graduated in fall 2015 or be graduating in spring or summer 2016 with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.83 or higher.

MCCC students recognized by Who’s Who Students in American Junior Colleges are listed below by area of residence:

Abington: Janet Askin, Kevin Cruz, Monica Keister, Benjamin Swanger

Ambler: Lisa Leadbeater, Brian Maggio, Martina Oborna, Eileen Williams, Amanda Zhou

Ardmore: John Timmons

Ardsley: Amanda Kida

Bala Cynwyd: Catherine Morroney

Bechtelsville: Joseph Hartline, Coraline Pettine

Birdsboro: Judy Hoffmeister

Blue Bell: Eun Kyoung Han

Cheltenham: Timothy Judge, Arnette Smith

Chester Springs: Karen Gratton

Collegeville: Julie Clark, Julie Clark, Elizabeth Cusmina, Regina MacMurtrie, Michael Reiner

Colmar: James Karcher

Conshohocken: Allison Giannone, Richard Vose

Coopersburg: Ann Forrestal

Douglassville: Bobbianne Babb, Donna Maden

Eagleville: Thomas Bednar, Daniel Buttorff, Julie Primavera

East Greenville: Heather Haby, Colin Hurrey, Michelle Rose

East Norriton: Kathryn Hall, Kyle Sapovits

Elkins Park: Diane Heydt

Erdenheim: Jessi Shaffer

Gilbertsville: Donna J. Braner, Marion Bucci, Sharon Delporte, Kristy Mahoney, Silvia Shambo, Alex Siwik

Glenside: Theresa Gallagher, Danielle Pearson, Gabriel Shoemaker

Harleysville: David Maga, Renee Marshall, Victoria Rosato, Esther Thompson, Dianarose Weiler, Martha Wolgemuth

Hatboro: John Ilisco Ilisco

Hatfield: Carlos Depaz, Jenna Moyer, Victoria Reeser

Horsham: Stefanie Barszowski, Maria Boggi, Jacqueline Caddle, Heather Pringle, Woo Young Song, Michaela Williams

Huntingdon Valley: Sarah Ciambrano, Julianne Johnson, Johanna Licari

Jenkintown: Jinman Li, Tetyana Protsyk

King of Prussia: Angelika Mae Morelos, Angelika Mari Morelos

Lansdale: Erin Ehinger, Kevin Franklin, John May, Eileen McGilloway, Breanna Potts, Hui Song, Mary Zabriskie

Limerick: Masynn Gensler

Maple Glen: Maura Duggan, Courtney Durham

Norristown: Nicole Battista, Brittany Hewitt, Jon Kilgannon, Elizabeth Palesano

Oley: Lee A. Wagner

Oreland: Cassandra Davis, Daniel McGlinchey, Robert Murphy

Pennsburg: Courtney Pepe

Philadelphia: Nancy Horton, Elizabeth Bergland, Emmett Johnson, Jacob Robertson

Phoenixville: Susan Giancola, Michael Morrow, Cameron O’Neil

Plymouth Meeting: Kyle Bone

Pottstown: Kristy Bell, Lori Flynn, Bridget Geri, Ruth Holsopple, Jaclyn Murphy, Vicki Peters, Lindsey Phillips, Emily Reitmeyer, Sara Shultz

Quakertown: Agnieszka Mandosik, Andrew Rose, Anna Short

Reading: Solange Jacques

Red Hill: Catherine Camuso, Janice Kutt

Royersford: Heather Curran, Lynn Lang, Carl Lingenfelter

Schwenksville: Heidi Liebenberg, Debra Lockard, Jacquelyn Lutz, Marta Pecharo, Wen Trice

Skippack: Steven Adoff, Debra Haasis

Souderton: Brittni Ruch, Lavinia Soliman, Jason Wolff

Spring City: James Sherid

Stowe: Lori McIlvee

Trappe: Patricia Capizzi

Trooper: Fang Li

Villanova: James Mearns

Warminster: Dana Fornicola

Wayne: Audrey O’Keefe

Willow Grove: Joseph Gruver, Margaret Thompson, Sarah Welch

Worcester: James Mahoney

Wyncote: Holly Hughston

Wynnewood: Rivka Gross, Thomas Pittman

MCCC Celebrates Successes Of POWER Program Graduates‏

Montgomery County Community College recently hosted a graduation ceremony to honor 23 individuals who completed the College’s Partnership on Work Enrichment and Readiness (POWER) program, as well as students who participated in the POWER Plus Education and Employment programs. Photo by Sandi Yanisko.

Montgomery County Community College recently hosted a graduation ceremony to honor 23 individuals who completed the College’s Partnership on Work Enrichment and Readiness (POWER) program, as well as students who participated in the POWER Plus Education and Employment programs. Photo by Sandi Yanisko.

Blue Bell, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) held a graduation ceremony on April 28 to recognize the achievements of 23 students who successfully completed the Partnership on Work Enrichment and Readiness (POWER) program.

The POWER program helps individuals in mental health recovery to successfully develop and reach their education and career goals through a two-credit college course that focuses on time management, basic computer skills, study skills, public speaking, college success skills, career assessment, resume writing and professionalism.

Through the POWER program, students gain confidence and skills they need to take the next steps in their lives. For the recent graduating class, approximately 75 percent of the students will enroll in classes for the fall semester, one student will continue her education at a four-year college and the remaining students will be receiving employment services through the POWER Plus Employment program, said program Director Lisa Barbiero.

“For the first time, we will be offering a summer enrichment program for all our POWER students and graduates, and we are inviting 10 years’ worth of alumni to join us for this program,” Barbiero announced during the ceremony.

The enrichment program will provide social interaction and help bridge the gap for students during the summer months. For more information, contact Community Liaison Lori Schreiber at 215-461-1151 or lschreib@mc3 or Director Lisa Barbiero at 215-641-6425 or lbarbier@mc3.edu.

As part of the celebration, several POWER graduates shared their stories, describing the challenges they overcame in their lives and how the POWER program provides the self-assurance and skills they will need in the future.

One student, William Bannerman-Martin, Jr., spoke about the trials he faced living with autism.

“I was diagnosed when I was four years old and received services through the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit,” he shared. “When I started school, I was bussed to different schools throughout the county where special education classes were available. After I graduated, I needed a program to help me, and I enrolled in the POWER program, where I learned to be confident.”

Bannerman-Martin plans to continue his education after graduation here at MCCC. He is still exploring his career options.

The positive impact of the POWER program was obvious with graduate Ruth Barnard, who now wants to give back by starting a recovery house where she can help others and introduce them to POWER.

As part of the ceremony, 15 students were recognized for their continuing achievements in completing academic courses and participating weekly in the POWER Plus Education program. Several of these students also attended the POWER Plus Employment program. In addition, one student who started in the POWER program in 2010, Jacob Shaw, was honored because he will receive his associate’s degree on May 19 and another student, Sandy Beitler, will complete her certificate in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

The POWER team includes Director Lisa Barbiero, Community Liaison Lori Schreiber, Employment and Grant Coordinator Tarsha Scovens, Academic Specialist Holly Harris, Peer Mentor George Rohde, Faculty Byron Goldstein, Faculty Rosemary Regan and Dean of Social Sciences Division Aaron Shatzman.

The POWER Program is funded by the Pew Charitable Trust, Montgomery County Office of Behavioral Health, the Odd Fellows of Philadelphia, Pat Kind Family Foundation and Montgomery County Community College.

Individuals interested in the POWER Program may obtain a referral from their mental health or school provider or may self-refer.  For more information, contact Community Liaison Lori Schreiber at 215-461-1151 or lschreib@mc3 or Director Lisa Barbiero at 215-641-6425 or lbarbier@mc3.edu.

Pottsgrove Manor Annual Colonial May Fair – May 7, 2016‏

Pottsgrove Manor MaypolePottstown, PA – Celebrate spring at the Annual Colonial May Fair held at historic Pottsgrove Manor on Saturday, May 7, 2016 from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

This yearly event is a fun-filled day with activities for all ages including games, music, dancing, and crafts. Tucker’s Tales Puppet Theatre will present interactive puppet shows and will also provide festive historic music around the grounds during the event. Signora Bella will delight audiences with her acrobatic feats. Colonial conjurer Levram the Great will perform historically-themed magic shows and entertain visitors with pocket magic tricks throughout the day. Members of the Tapestry Historic Dance Ensemble will demonstrate authentic English country dances. As always, visitors will be invited to join in and dance around the maypole to help open and close the fair!

In addition to the entertainment, a variety of early American crafters and demonstrators will be on hand to display historic skills and trades and sell their wares. Young visitors will have the chance to meet colonial farm animals, watch a blacksmith at work, see how candles were made, play with colonial toys, try an 18th-century bat-and-ball game, dance around a child-size maypole, help churn butter, and more! New this year, the site will also be offering free make-and-take crafts for kids.

The first floor of colonial ironmaster John Potts’ 1752 manor house will be open for self-guided tours during the fair. Visitors will also be able to shop at the manor’s museum shop for colonial games, books, and unique gifts. MMG Concessions will offer a variety of refreshments for sale, including burgers, cheesesteaks, hot dogs, sausages, sandwiches, fries, hand-rolled pretzels, and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

The fair coincides with the third annual “Pow-Wow on Manatawny Creek,” celebrating the culture and traditions of the Lenni-Lenape Native Americans. The pow-wow will be taking place during the hours of May Fair and will be held at Memorial Park, less than a block from Pottsgrove Manor. The public is encouraged to visit both events for an experience that spans time periods and cultures!

For a schedule of the day’s activities and a list of vendors and craftspeople that will be at the fair, please visit http://www.montcopa.org/1421/Annual-Colonial-May-Fair.

A donation of $2.00 per person is suggested for this event. Visitors can park for free at the Carousel at Pottstown building, 30 West King Street. Limited overflow parking is available at the Pottstown Quality Inn across the street from the Manor. Paid parking is also available in the “shop & park” lot at High and Hanover Streets in downtown Pottstown. There will be free trolley rides during the fair between the carousel parking lot, the pow-wow at Memorial Park, downtown Pottstown, and Pottsgrove Manor.

Handicapped parking is available in the museum’s parking lot.

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 www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor.

Eleanor Dezzi Appointed To MCCC Board Of Trustees

Eleanor DezziBlue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College is pleased to announce the appointment of Eleanor M. Dezzi, of Gladwyne, to its Board of Trustees by the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. The 15-person Board of Trustees is the policy and governing body of Montgomery County Community College.

Dezzi is chair of the board and past president of The Dezzi Group, Ltd., a full-service government relations and business consulting firm in Philadelphia. She is a political commentator for Fox 29 and NBC 10 in Philadelphia, and she co-founded the Genevieve Society, an organization to promote professional women in the political and corporate world. In 2015, Dezzi served as an executive producer of the documentary film Urban Trinity, which was produced as part of the Papal visit.

Since the beginning of her career, Dezzi has been active in civic and political causes and has worked on campaigns at the federal, state and local levels. She has served on many boards in the region, including the Philadelphia Archdiocesan School Board, the Blue Ribbon Commission to study the future of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and the President’s Council at Gwynedd Mercy University.

Dezzi has been honored by numerous organizations. She is one of the few women to receive the St. John the Baptist de La Salle Medal for Distinguished Service to the Christian Brothers. In 2000, she was named the March of Dimes Woman of the Year in the field of Business, and in 2001, she received the “Women Making History Award” from the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). In 2007, The Philadelphia Business Journal named her among its Women of Distinction.

Along with her husband Alfred, Dezzi received the St. Jeanne Jugan Award in recognition of their service to the Little Sisters of the Poor and the elderly poor of Philadelphia. Most recently, in 2015, Dezzi was named the Ambassador of Hope for the City of Hope National Cancer Center.

MCCC’s Office Assistant Certificate Program Starts May 23; Info Sessions May 10-11‏

Blue Bell, PA — Over the past two years, Montgomery County Community College’s Office Assistant Certificate program, offered through the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative, has helped dozens of unemployed workers find jobs.

Patricia Karpinski, Hatboro, was one of those workers. She found herself out of a job after her employer of 27 years ceased operations.

“I was nervous, as I had spent so much time in the food industry. I was not sure what to do next,” she recalled.

Karpinski heard about Office Assistant program at MCCC and decided to give it a try. Today, she works as an office manager, thanks to the training she received.

“I am sure that I would not have been asked to interview nor offered the job had it not been for this course,” she explained. “The lessons and practice gave me the skills I needed.”

In the 16-week, competency-based Office Assistant Certificate program, students learn critical computer literacy and other skills expected by employers in business environments. Course modules include Business Software Essentials, Microsoft Word Applications and Modern Office Management. The program also provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion.

“I liked the modules and materials that were covered, including the Microsoft Office applications,” said Karpinski. “I needed to see what skills were currently needed in the marketplace, and the Business Software Essentials module really opened my eyes to the latest technology used in offices and companies.”

The next cohort of MCCC’s Office Assistant Certificate program will run from May 23-Sept. 7. Prospective students can learn more about the program by attending information sessions on May 10 from noon-1:30 p.m. or May 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. in room 101 of the Advanced Technology Center at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The Office Assistant Certificate program is primarily taught online, with optional open computer labs on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-noon. Labs are held at MCCC’s Central Campus.

After completing the certificate program, students may pursue the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for Microsoft Word 2013. This sought-after credential provides students with marketable skills that will further increase their chances for employment. In addition, students who complete the certificate can apply the courses to MCCC’s Office Management credit certificate program.

The cost of the Office Assistant Certificate program is $495, which includes instruction, workshops, course textbooks and the Microsoft Office Certification exam fee. Deferred payment is available to those who qualify. To learn more or to apply, call 215-461-1468 or email JobTrakPA@mc3.edu.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, office and administrative support occupations comprise one of the largest occupation groups in the Commonwealth. The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis projects 105 annual openings in this field in Montgomery County. Additionally, there is a growing need in the Montgomery County region for general office clerks, with an expected 338 annual openings in the County and an estimated 14,620 total jobs in 2016.

Through JRWA, MCCC joins 16 other community colleges across the country in providing middle-skills training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across varying industry sectors for unemployed individuals. The initiative is funded by a three-year grant from the Walmart Foundation and is led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Are You Interested In Becoming A Volunteer?

We are the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing The Secret Valley Line and restoring its services to offer the greatest turn-of-the-century railroading experience in the nation.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Colebrookdale Railroad. Quite literally, the train doesn’t roll down the tracks without them.

Our volunteers are:
 the source of all accomplishments of our programs
 the most critical and unique resource we have
 the leaders in our organization
 committed long-term with frequent participation
 committed to a safe, productive, and cohesive workplace
 responsible for our future

Our dedicated family of volunteers does everything from track work, to passenger car restoration, to operations.

If you have what it takes to work on the railroad, contact us today at info@colebrookdalerailroad.com! Be sure to include the words, “I Want to Volunteer” in the subject line.
Mission
o To serve as a catalyst for economic development in Southeastern Pennsylvania through the preservation and interpretation of the historic, cultural, and natural heritage of the middle Schuylkill Region, birthplace of the American iron industry.
Vision Statement
o To establish national-caliber heritage and recreational anchor attraction around an authentic Edwardian-era experience of the sort offered on the grand limited trains of the 1900-1920 era by developing the Colebrookdale Railroad, its infrastructure, equipment, and real estate, and by building local and regional partnerships.

Community Is Invited To Mobile Job Lab And Open House At MCCC’s University Center‏

Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) University Center, in partnership with its Career Services and the TriCounty Community Network (TCN), will be hosting a Mobile Job Lab and Open House on Monday, May 2, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the University Center, 95 S. Hanover Street, Pottstown. The Mobile Job Lab and Open House are open to the community as well as MCCC students.

At the Mobile Job Lab, MCCC’s Career Services representatives and volunteers from TCN will assist participants with searching for jobs, writing resumes and using LinkedIn to create career profiles and broaden their networks. The services are free, and walk-ins are welcome.

During the Open House, visitors can meet with representatives from the University Center’s partners—Albright College, Cabrini College, Chestnut Hill College, Immaculata University and Temple University—to learn about their programs and available degrees and certificates. MCCC representatives also will be on hand to provide information about the Virtual Campus and admission process.

MCCC’s University Center will be hosting future Mobile Job Labs on June 6, Aug. 1, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5.

For more information about the University Center, visit http://www.mc3.edu/university-center.

For updates, like and follow the University Center on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UniversityCenterMC3.

MCCC Software Developer Academy Offers First Course In Pottstown

Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Software Developer Academy (SDA) will offer the first course in its new, part-time iOS Developer Program in Pottstown starting June 6.

The inaugural, seven-week course—iOS Application Development—will meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-10 p.m. at MCCC’s West Campus in the Sustainability and Innovation Hub, 140 College Drive, Pottstown. Optional, guided lab time will be available to students on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The course runs through July 28. To learn more, visit http://www.mc3.edu/sda.

Through a generous gift made to MCCC’s Foundation, students who are selected for admission into the inaugural course will receive full-tuition scholarship, valued up to $2,350. Supplemental hardware may also be provided based on need.

The iOS Developer Program is designed to prepare students to become entry-level mobile developers who are capable of creating applications for Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. In the first course students will learn to use the appropriate programming languages and tools necessary to work as professional iOS developers.

“Our goal is for students to learn the skills they need to work as developers. But, just as important, they’ll also learn how to be positive and contributing members of the technical community, which is critical for their career development,” explained Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jason Wertz, who is coordinating MCCC’s SDA.

According to Wertz, the program is ideal for existing developers who are looking to change careers or for programmers who are new to the industry. To be considered for admission, applicants should have at least one year, or equivalent, of programming experience in a modern object-oriented programming language like C# or Java. This prerequisite can be met through work experience or coursework. Prior knowledge of iOS is not required.

Prospective students must complete an online application, available at http://www.mc3.edu/sda, as well as an in-person or video chat interview. Admission decisions will be made within a week of the interview.

Future courses in the iOS Developer Program will include Advanced iOS Application Development; User Interface, User Experience and Accessibility Design; Development Methodologies; Career and Personal Development; and Developer Essentials.

To learn more, visit http://www.mc3.edu/sda or contact Jason Wertz at jwertz@mc3.edu.

MCCC Ranked Top ‘Tech Savvy’ Community College In Nation‏

MCCC DigitalBlue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is ranked as the top community college in the country for its use of technology according to a recent Digital Community Colleges Survey issued by e.Republic’s Center for Digital Education (CDE). The 250 data-point survey analyzes how community colleges use digital technologies to improve services to students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

MCCC, with campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, Pa., has ranked among the survey’s top 10 large community colleges since CDE introduced it 11 years ago. This is the fourth time MCCC has ranked first.

“Earning the top spot in CDE’s annual survey is an impressive honor. Earning it four times in the past 11 years is extraordinary. I am extremely proud of Montgomery County Community College’s faculty and staff for embracing technology and using it in creative ways to build student access and success and to improve student retention and completion,” shared MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock.

A key reason for MCCC’s success over the last decade is its holistic approach to using technology.

“IT innovation is no longer about the technology itself. However, when that technology is combined with vision, creativity and leadership, it has the power to revolutionize teaching and learning,” said Dr. Celeste Schwartz, vice president for information technology and research at MCCC.

At MCCC, Schwartz and her team of IT professionals play an integral role in college-wide initiatives and planning.

“It’s important for my team to see the connections between their work and the work of other areas—to understand, for example, how IT can support initiatives in Academic Affairs or Student Affairs,” said Schwartz.

Empowerment is key. MCCC’s IT team works with faculty and staff to help them leverage technology so they can make informed decisions that lead to improved student access and success. The technology can, in turn, empower students to take charge of their education.

Blackboard Analytics

Analytics through MCCC’s learning management system Blackboard provides an excellent opportunity. By using analytics, faculty can follow student behavior trends and can personalize the student learning environment, identify potential learning concerns and adjust the course content flow as needed.

To illustrate, MCCC Political Science Assistant Professor Jodi Empol-Schwartz worked with

Instructional Designer Mary-Kathleen Najarian to redesign course assessment based on student retention throughout the semester.

“Throughout the semester, student retention would fluctuate based on the due date of the assignment. I tried to adjust the dates, introduce rough drafts and instituted a number of failed reforms, but retention and the level of critical thinking did not change,” explained Empol-Schwartz.

She worked with Najarian to change the assignment. Instead of one large research project, she divided it into two parts—one research and one analytics. She also divided her exams into two parts—multiple choice and essay—and gave students an entire class period to complete each.

“After using Blackboard Analytics, student retention not only increased, but the students were actively engaging in critical thinking. The quality of the students’ work increased dramatically,” she said.

MCCC faculty also use predictive analytics to help students stay on the path to success.

“Analytics might not tell you the whole story, but it does give you talking points to start the conversation with a student and provide early intervention if he or she continues on the current path,” said Najarian.

The students, themselves, can also access analytics tools in Blackboard so they can see, in real time, how they are doing compared to their classmates.

“Don’t be left behind by your fear of data. You can use data to lead the pack,” said Empol-Schwartz.

Advising and Student Planning

The College’s redesigned advising process is another example of how MCCC uses technology to improve student success and completion. A grant from the Gates Foundation enabled MCCC to launch an Integrated Planning and Advising Services (IPAS) initiative as part of its Student Success Network.

Phase one of MCCC’s Student Success Network was comprised of three parts: an early alert system that enables faculty and advisors to monitor progress and identify at-risk behaviors; an educational planning tool that allows students to map out their entire degree or certificate program; and a student dashboard system that provides a single source for information about their financial aid, Blackboard engagement, early alert and education planning.

“We have seen a number of positive results. There has been an increase in student persistence as students gain greater access to planning resources and as they receive greater feedback on their progress. We have also seen increases in full- and part-time persistence rates from 2011 through 2015 for all new and returning students,” explained Assistant Professor and Academic Advisor Stefanie Crouse.

Work on phase two is underway and includes building out career exploration and financial planning components of MCCC’s Student Success Network, as well as adding additional analytics.

“This work will complement our ‘Student Success Matters’ resource: an online, open-source, interactive series of free courses we developed to educate students in the areas of financial, civic, and digital literacies,” explained Crouse.

Virtual Campus

Earlier this year, MCCC’s Virtual Campus received its first-ever “Learning! 100” award from Elearning! magazine. The award recognized the comprehensive process through which MCCC faculty design and refresh their online courses.

According to Kelly Trahan, director of MCCC’s Virtual Campus, that process is two-fold. New faculty learn how to teach online and build academic courses by participating in a collaborative course of their own—e-Learning 101 (EL 101), facilitated by an instructional designer. Meanwhile, existing online faculty engage in a “refresh” process any time curricular modifications are made.

“Our faculty are dedicated to creating a high-quality learning experience for students, regardless of location,” shared Trahan. “We also have a very strong information technology team that supports faculty and students and is always looking for the best products and tech to improve students’ experiences.”

MCCC’s Virtual Campus also offers support services to online students. Examples include online advising, access to live tutors, support discussion boards and online readiness resources.

“We have a tutorial that teaches students how to navigate Blackboard, time management and technical literacy. It’s free once they register for an online course,” said Trahan.

About the Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy, and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insight to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century.

CDE is a division of e.Republic, the nation’s only media and research company focused exclusively on state and local government and education. To learn more, visit centerdigitaled.com.

PECO President And CEO Craig Adams To Deliver 2016 MCCC Commencement Address

PECOBlue Bell, PA—PECO President and CEO Craig L. Adams will deliver Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) 2016 Commencement address on May 19 at 7 p.m. in Blue Bell. Adams also serves on the board of directors of MontcoWorks, Montgomery County’s Workforce Investment Board.

“Partnerships between education and industry are essential for developing a comprehensive workforce development strategy. Montgomery County Community College and MontcoWorks share a vision—to build a 21st-century workforce and to strengthen the economic vitality of our communities,” said Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC president.

MCCC’s graduates provide much-needed human resources to the County and Commonwealth. According to a 2014 graduate survey, 68 percent of MCCC alumni are employed in Montgomery County and 97 percent are employed in Pennsylvania. In addition, a 2013 study by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) reveals that the average income at the career midpoint of someone with an associate’s degree in Montgomery County is 35 percent higher than someone with only a high school diploma.

The partnership between PECO and MCCC is an outstanding example of education and industry working together to strengthen the community’s workforce. For more than a decade, the organizations have collaborated to enhance student access and success and to help students complete their education and find gainful employment in their careers.

In honor of MCCC’s 50th anniversary in 2015, PECO awarded $25,000 in scholarships to 50 high-achieving STEM students to help defray the cost of tuition, textbooks, lab supplies and other program-related costs. PECO also supported Engineering Innovation, a collaborative effort between MCCC and Johns Hopkins University that provides an academically challenging summer program to high school students who aspire to pursue careers in engineering.

In addition to these, PECO has supported MCCC’s LEAD Institute, a program for underserved, at-risk high school juniors and seniors; Minority Student Mentoring Initiative, which helps African-American and Latino students reach their educational goals; Upward Bound, a program that encourages Norristown and Pottstown high school students to pursue higher education; and Gateway to College, a national initiative that helps at-risk students graduate from high school and earn college credits.

“PECO values education and is especially supportive of Montgomery County Community College’s efforts to improve college readiness and to build a pipeline of professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” said Pollock. “I have no doubt that Mr. Adams’ keynote will motivate and inspire this year’s graduates.”

As president and CEO of PECO, Adams is responsible for leading PECO’s overall performance, delivering innovation and advancing smart energy to provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy and energy services to customers. He also guides the company’s philanthropic efforts, which provide more than $5 million annually to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across the region.

Civically, Adams holds board positions with a number of educational and community organizations in the Philadelphia area. He is president of the board of directors at Camphill Special School and chairman of the board of LEADERSHIP Philadelphia. He also is a board member of WHYY, the American Gas Association (AGA) and the Energy Association of Pennsylvania (EAP). He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from the State University of New York in Albany.

Ribbon Cutting, Sustainability Festival On Tap For MCCC Earth Day 2016‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2016 with a series of activities that engage students, faculty and community members with the institution’s sustainability efforts.

MCCC’s celebration kicks off on Monday, April 18 with the grand opening of the college’s Sustainability and Innovation Hub, located 140 College Drive in Pottstown. The opening marks the completion of the multiphase Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center project, which transformed a former energy substation and three-acre Brownfield site into a state-of-the-art center for STEM education, conservation and recreation.   A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m., followed by tours of the Sustainability and Innovation Hub, as well as tours of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area’s Interpretative Center.

Prior to ceremony, MCCC’s West Campus will host a Sustainability Fair in its South Hall, 101 College Drive, from noon-1 p.m. The fair will highlight many of the College’s green practices and STEM-related academic programming.

MCCC’s observation of Earth Day continues on Wednesday, April 20 at noon with a Sustainability Festival in the Advanced Technology Center at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The festival will feature sustainable student and College exhibits, as well as information and activities from green vendors and community organizations. Assistant Professor of Biology Jerry Coleman will also offer a walking tour of a proposed trail route that will pass through MCCC’s Central Campus, weather permitting.

Following the Sustainability Festival on Wednesday, April 20, MCCC’s Student Environmental Sustainability Club will host a discussion with Montgomery County Recycling Coordinator Veronica Harris in Science Center room 308 from 2-3 p.m.

During Earth Day events at both campuses, MCCC’s Ceramics Club, in collaboration with the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance in Ambler, will be selling handmade bowls as part of its Empty Bowls Project—an international grassroots effort to raise awareness in the fight to end hunger. Individuals who purchase a bowl—or who bring their own bowl—can receive a 25-cent discount off the purchase of soup in MCCC’s cafeterias.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College and is incorporated into the institution’s strategic plan, core curriculum, and in everyday best practices as they relate to facilities management, campus operations and transportation. A team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members comprise the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which guides MCCC’s sustainability efforts toward attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

MCCC West End Student Theatre And Theatre Arts Program To Present Sam Shepard’s ‘A Lie Of The Mind’‏

Photo: Students Tess Devlin and Tyler Sanderson rehearse for Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program’s “A Lie of the Mind,” April 21-23, at 7 p.m., with a 12:30 p.m. performance Friday, April 22.  All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Photo by Sandi Yanisko.

Photo: Students Tess Devlin and Tyler Sanderson rehearse for Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program’s “A Lie of the Mind,” April 21-23, at 7 p.m., with a 12:30 p.m. performance Friday, April 22. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Photo by Sandi Yanisko.

Pottstown, PA—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “A Lie of the Mind,” a darkly comic family drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Sam Shepard. Show dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 21-23, at 7 p.m., with a 12:30 p.m. performance Friday, April 22.  All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

Tickets cost $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, please visit http://www.mc3.edy/livelyarts or call 215-641-6518.  A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Laurel House, offering services for victims of domestic abuse and their families.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard’s “A Lie of the Mind” follows two families in the Montana plains, connected by one marriage and a brutal incident which leaves the wife, Beth, in her family’s care.  Filled with enormous vitality, and humor, it explores the destinies of Jake and Beth, torn apart by jealousies and distrust, welded together by the needs of the human heart and the destructiveness which it can engender.

“This is the reason why I feel art is so powerful,” says director Samantha Clarke. “One in four women will experience abuse in their life. With numbers like that, it’s hard not to accept that abuse knows no race, gender, socioeconomic status, or creed. However, abuse, harassment, and discrimination often go without a voice; this play gives us a voice in which to speak for those who cannot, will not, or know not how.” This production contains adult language and themes.

ALOTM_logosqIn conjunction with the production, the students of West End Student Theatre will be creating a ‘Post Secret’ wall to offer a voice for members of the community who are facing domestic abuse, bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Anonymous drop boxes will be available on campus, and students and community members may leave a note to be posted on the ‘Post Secret’ wall at the South Hall Community Room during performances.

“The drop boxes will also have resources and literature available,” says West End Student Theatre advisor Tim Gallagher. “We want the opportunity to speak to empower the members of our community who are dealing with these issues.”

Samantha Clarke and stage managed by Morgan Carasquillo, the cast includes Kayla Velasquez, Eric Reyes, Hailee Tyson, Tess Devlin, Hunter Thorsen, Tyler Sanderson, and Joe Donley. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre, under the guidance of Tim Gallagher and Christopher Kleckner.

MCCC Accounting Students Prepare Tax Returns Through VITA Program

ACCOUNTING GROUP: Montgomery County Community College students volunteer their time to prepare taxes at the Montgomery County Community Action Development Commission (CADCOM) VITA site in Norristown. Pictured (from left) are students Chenyang “Julia” Zhang, Yi “Joy” Zhao, Accounting Instructor Rita Meyhew, students Jinman “Jean” Li, Jingxu Zhu and Amanda Zhou. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Norristown, PA — A group of Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) accounting students are gaining real-world experience preparing federal and state income tax returns for lower income households.

Through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, eight MCCC students, along with Rita Mayhew, an Accounting instructor and the faculty advisor to the student Accounting Club, have been volunteering their time at the Montgomery County Community Action Development Commission (CADCOM) office in Norristown. Since February, five students join Mayhew every Saturday for three hours. Their services will continue through April 15.

“I’m extremely proud of the effort that they’ve put into this,” Mayhew said. “They learned the software. They’re talking to the clients. They have gained a lot of confidence.”

MCCC’s accounting faculty added a curriculum requirement that five percent of a student’s grade is based on successful VITA certification. Faculty do not mandate that students volunteer. However, doing so provides students with real-world learning to reinforce and build upon what’s taught in the classroom.

“Besides learning, they’ve had tax courses, but until you actually do the work and put it into practice, maybe it doesn’t all gel,” Mayhew said. “This group in particular, they’re just very focused on learning.”

For some MCCC student volunteers, including Jinman “Jean” Li, English is their second language. For Li, a Business Administration student who plans to major in Accounting, the tax return process was unfamiliar. In her native China, tax returns are not filed.

Li said she is excited about the opportunity to gain more accounting knowledge.

“I can help people and I also can get some experience,” she said. “I just feel so happy.”

Ken Haubert, CADCOM’s director of asset development, echoed those sentiments.

“They are the best there is,” Haubert said of MCCC student volunteers and their dedication. “This is our best year by far, in our partnership with the community college, thanks to Rita.”

In all, Mayhew estimates that students will have completed 200 tax returns – or possibly more – through tax season.

Last year, 1,565 total tax returns were filed through CADCOM’s VITA program, according to Haubert. This year, with more volunteers, particularly from MCCC, Haubert anticipates even more returns being completed.

In order to qualify for VITA tax preparation services, households cannot make more than $54,000. Last year’s average income for those served at CADCOM VITA sites was $19,600, according to Haubert. The free service saved clients $352,000 in tax preparation fees last year.  This, when added to refunds of $2,626,325, generated a total community economic impact of $4,175,855 at CADCOM VITA sites alone, he said. 

Haubert said student volunteers not only benefit his program, but the community and the students as well.

“They are dealing with personalities of clients,” Haubert said. “You have to use your tact and your interpersonal skills to make them feel comfortable.

In the end, he said, students gain “real life experiences.”

VITA services are available at multiple locations throughout Montgomery County. To find the location closest to you, dial 2-1-1 from your telephone and follow the prompts. To schedule an appointment at CADCOM’s Norristown location, clients may also call 610-277-6363 ext. 115.

Montco Radio Hosts Alumni Broadcast Featuring DJs From 1980s-Now

Montco RadioBlue Bell, PA —Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) student-run, Internet radio station, Montco Radio, will host its first-ever Alumni Broadcast on Saturday, April 16. Starting at 8 a.m. and continuing through 6 p.m., radio station alumni from the 1980s through today will host and broadcast live shows from Montco Radio’s studio in the Advanced Technology Center at MCCC’s Central Campus in Blue Bell.

The community is invited to listen to the live broadcasts by visiting http://www.montcoradio.com or by clicking on the microphone icon on the lower left corner of MCCC’s homepage, http://www.mc3.edu.

Montco Radio, once named WRFM (Radio Free Montco), began as a record-spinning club in the early 1970s. Over the years, the club evolved and began to operate like a radio station, with music and content being broadcast into MCCC’s cafeteria in College Hall. Then, in 2003, Montco Radio gained an international audience when it began broadcasting over the Internet.

“As a student club, the radio station has a long history of bringing together students from all backgrounds and majors to share their passions with the broader MCCC community,” shared Senior Communications Lecturer Jeff Asch, who has served as faculty co-advisor to the radio station since 2000. “We’re excited to re-connect with the station’s alumni and to have them share their experiences with today’s students.”

The station’s alumni are equally excited to be back on campus.

“My time at WRFM was amazing, and I want to do my part in helping create something for today’s and tomorrow’s students,” shared former WRFM station manager, Rob Templeton, who will kick off the alumni broadcast from 8-9 a.m. “When we got it right, we were learning and having fun, and you can’t get more of a winning combination then that. I came away with strong life lessons that I carry with me even today.”

Former Montco Radio officer Jen Mitlas, who was a 2015 Sundance Institute / Knight Foundation Fellow, will co-host the 10 a.m. hour on April 16.

“I am honored that I can go back to the roots that started my passion and career in the world of sound,” said Mitlas. “Mc3 holds an extremely special place in my heart and I owe a lot of my motivations and accomplishments to the school!”

Former station manager Kerri Hughes, who will co-host the 10 a.m. hour with Mitlas, agrees.

“I am super excited that, after all these years, I can come back and do a show,” she said. “Every time I visit Montco, it feels like I have never even been away. I’m so excited to see how Montco Radio has progressed!”

For many of the returning alumni, the April 16 broadcast will be the first time they will see the station’s new home—a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in MCCC’s Advanced Technology Center that rivals those found in the industry.

“The station has come a long way since its early days of playing to the cafeteria, but none of this would be possible without the commitment of our station managers, board offers and DJs through the years,” said Asch. “Their work and enthusiasm as students laid the foundation for Montco Radio’s global presence today.”

To learn more, visit http://www.montcoradio.com or follow Montco Radio on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/montcoradio, on Instagram: @montcoradio, and on Twitter: @montco_radio.

Community Invited To Mobile Job Lab At MCCC’s University Center‏

Jenna SaylorPottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College’s University Center, in partnership with its Career Services and the TriCounty Community Network (TCN), will be hosting a Mobile Job Lab on Monday, April 4, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the University Center, 95 S. Hanover Street, Pottstown. The Mobile Job Lab is open to the community, as well as MCCC students.

At the Mobile Job Lab, MCCC’s Career Services representatives and volunteers from TCN will assist participants with searching for jobs, writing resumes and using LinkedIn to create career profiles and broaden their contact networks. The services are free, and walk-ins are welcome.

MCCC’s University Center will be hosting future Mobile Job Labs on May 2, June 6, Aug. 1, Oct. 3, Nov. 7 and Dec. 5.

For more information about the University Center, visit http://www.mc3.edu/university-center.

For updates, like and follow the University Center on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UniversityCenterMC3.

Employers Invited To Business Breakfast To Learn About New Organizational Leadership Program, Quarterly Business Forum‏

Blue Bell, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) invites employers to a free Business Breakfast on Thursday, April 21 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in College Hall at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

During the breakfast, employers will learn about how their employees’ experience and training may qualify for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), which can translate into college credits as part of MCCC’s new Professional and Organizational Leadership certificate programs.

“Our new Leadership certificates have been designed with the working adult in mind, with credits dedicated to support Prior Learning Assessment opportunities and to recognize relevant training and professional experiences,” shared Theresa Sullivan, assistant professor of Office Management.  “These stackable programs emphasize competencies such as leadership, analytics, conflict resolution and negotiation, which are needed to support a wide variety of industries.  We want to help employers and students connect their professional experiences to educational credentials.”

According to the 2014 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, more than 2,500 business and human resources leaders cited leadership as their top talent issue, with 86 percent rating it as an urgent or important need. However, only 13 percent responded that their organizations do an excellent job of developing leaders at all levels.

By offering a new Organizational Leadership Certificate program, MCCC looks to partner with regional businesses to help them develop talent and leadership qualities among employees.

“Montgomery County Community College offers pathways to credentials that can save employers and their staff time and money. These opportunities strengthen workforce retention and morale,” explained Denise Collins, manager of the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant at MCCC.

Employers who participate in the breakfast will also be introduced to the College’s new business forum, “Business Quarterly at Montgomery County Community College.” University of Pennsylvania Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Donahue will offer a motivational address on the importance of team training and coaching to kick off this exciting new business networking opportunity.

The Business Breakfast is free and is open to all employers in the region. However, space is limited. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis through April 15. For more information and to register, contact Denise Collins at dcollins@mc3.edu or 215-619-7313.

April 15 Rock The Block‏ In Pottstown Event

On Friday April 15, 2016, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County is hosting Rock the Block Pottstown…an effort to help fix up properties along the 300 and 400 blocks of Beech, Walnut and Chestnut Streets.

Habitat for Humanity is offering 20 tables to area organizations to highlight their initiatives, hand out brochures and connect with area residents.  Tables will be set up from approximately 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM.

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity and Rock the Blockhttp://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20160224/video-groundwork-laid-for-pottstowns-rock-the-block-project

TriCounty Community Network – My Annual Healthy Lifestyles Expo

Sponsored by State Rep. Tom Quigley, The Pottstown Mercury,

TriCounty Community Network and The Sunnybrook Ballroom

 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sunnybrook Ballroom in Pottstown

 

At my annual Healthy Lifestyles Expo, members of the community will be able to explore services, participate in activities and gather information useful to living a healthy lifestyle.

This will be a special expo with the recently renovated Sunnybrook Ballroom. Three meeting rooms are currently being added that will allow us to accommodate more workshops.

Vendor Register Here