Show Your Support for Student Candace Benson: Vote Now-Aug. 30

by Diane VanDyke

BLOG Candace Sunday BestMontgomery County Community College student Candace Benson, of Pottstown, made her final performance on BET’s Sunday Best competition Sunday. Now it’s up to the audience to determine the winner of the two finalists—Benson or Geoffrey Golden—by voting via phone or online.

Click HERE to Vote For Candace

Benson, a 22-year-old music education and audio production major at the College, auditioned last April with hundreds of hopeful singers to compete in the weekly gospel-based singing competition. She was one of 20 contestants selected to sing on the weekly television show starting in July. Throughout the past several weeks, she successfully made it through each round getting closer to her dream of winning the competition.

Now, she seeks the support of her ever-growing fan base, family, and friends and supporters at the College, Montgomery County and beyond to vote for through noon EST on Saturday, Aug. 30. The winner will be announced on Sunday, Aug. 31.

To vote for Benson, call 1-888-5-BEST-01 or 888-523-7801 or go online at BET.com/SundayBest and follow the instructions to complete the voting process. You can also vote by using the BET Now mobile app.

Voting is limited to 15 votes via the toll-free landline method and is unlimited via online and BET Now app. Airtime and roaming charges may apply if using a cell phone to call the landline numbers.

The winner will receive a new Ford Fusion, a national recording contract with Fo Yo Soul/RCA Records and a cash prize. For Benson, this is her opportunity of a lifetime and represents the culmination of singing performances at her church, locally and during Music Wednesdays

Click HERE to Vote For Candace

Officials Sign First ‘Reverse Transfer’ Agreement Between Community College and State System Institutions in Commonwealth

by Alana J. Mauger

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

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

Montgomery County Community College 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 the College 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 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 the college’s students enter 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.”

Business Students Rank Eighth in National Competition

by Alana J. Mauger

PhiBetalogoBuilding on their success at Phi Beta Lambda’s (PBL) Pennsylvania Leadership Conference in the spring, Montgomery County Community College students Lindsey Montague, Wyncote, and Jacob Robertston, Malvern, gave a repeat performance on the national stage this summer.

Montague and Robertson, both members of the College’s PBL chapter, were awarded eighth place in the Business Decision Making competition at PBL’s National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn. in June. They qualified for the national competition by taking first place at the state level.

“This is a huge accomplishment for Lindsey and Jacob, who competed against students from four-year colleges and universities from across the country, many of whom recently graduated with bachelor’s degrees,” said Eileen Kearney, Assistant Professor of Marketing and PBL Advisor. “Their success speaks to the quality of education at Montgomery County Community College and the value of organizations like Phi Beta Lambda in preparing students for their careers after college.”

Montgomery County Community College student Ariel Mookherji, Plymouth Meeting, was also elected to the office of National Eastern Regional Vice President during the conference. Mookherji, who enrolled at the College to complete prerequisites toward an MBA in Marketing, previously served as the College’s PBL chapter president and as PA State vice president. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Design from Moore College of Art and Design, and she ultimately hopes to work at a marketing firm or with a non-profit organization.

Each year, thousands of students from across the country attend PBL’s National Leadership Conference. Along with the competitions, students attend workshops and business events during the conference.

Phi Beta Lambda is a student-led, collegiate-level organization of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). For more information, visit fbla-pbl.org.

Montgomery County Special Olympics Honors Partnership with College

by Alana J. Mauger

Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Montgomery County (SOPMC) athletes presented Montgomery County Community College with a banner on Aug. 7 to celebrate more than 20 years of partnership.

The College hosts SOPMC soccer and cross-country teams at its Central Campus in Blue Bell, and many of its students, staff and alumni are SOPMC volunteers. In 2008, when the college reintroduced its intercollegiate athletics program, the Mustangs immediately got involved to support Special Olympics, which provides year-round training and competition to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“Community engagement and community service are vital components of our athletics program. We want our student athletes to realize the importance of serving others,” said Bruce Bach, MCCC Director of Athletics.

Last year, the College’s athletes completed over 1,800 hours of community service, 181 of which were spent volunteering with SOPMC. The Mustangs assist with the organization’s annual volleyball and basketball tournaments—events that Bach says his athletes “look forward to every season.”

During the banner presentation on Aug. 7, Special Olympics athlete Samantha Weitz, Lansdale, thanked the College for its support.

“The continuous support you give me and my fellow athletes empowers us on and off the playing field. Thanks to you, Special Olympics can offer opportunities like this to thousands of athletes…just like me who have gifts, talents and skills to share with our community,” said Weitz, who is a Special Olympics Global Messenger, meaning she is trained to be a spokesperson for the organization.

Special Olympics athletes, along with Scott Otterbein, Special Olympics Montgomery County Manager and Track Coach, and Jill Schoeniger, Soccer Coach, then presented the banner to College representatives Dr. Kathrine Swanson, Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and Bruce Bach, Director of Athletics.

According to Otterbein, since taking the volunteer position as County Manager in January, his management team has focused on increasing visibility and raising awareness of Special Olympics, which offers 18 sports in 34 locations throughout Montgomery County.

“We’ve been working to recognize and praise our partner sites such as Montgomery County Community College, which provides us with access to soccer fields and adjoining fields for our long distance running program. The banner is both a symbolic and tangible sign of our appreciation,” he said.

To learn more about Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Montgomery County, visit specialolympicsmontco.org.

Montgomery County Community College’s Mustangs compete in Region 19 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). To learn more, visit mustangsathletics.com.

Montgomery County Special Olympics athletes present a banner of appreciation to Montgomery County Community College. Photo courtesy of Mustangs Athletics

Montgomery County Special Olympics athletes present a banner of appreciation to Montgomery County Community College. Photo courtesy of Mustangs Athletics

Save The Date: Whitpain Community Festival @ Montgomery County Community College

Save the date for the Whitpain Community Festival @ Montgomery County Community College on Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.  The event merges the College’s annual Community Day with Whitpain Township’s Harvest Festival.

The day will feature traditional Community Day favorites, such as the Health Expo and children’s activities, along with an expanded music festival (headliner announced soon!), food court, community vendor plaza, and preliminary plans for a fireworks show.

The inaugural Whitpain Community Festival @ Montgomery County Community College is an exciting continuation of the College’s 50th Anniversary celebration! College volunteers will be needed to support the many guests and activities expected on campus. Volunteer sign-ups will begin in September. For more information, contact Chris Coia, Director of Student Leadership & Involvement, at ccoia@mc3.edu.

BLOG Whitpain Community Festival at MCCC with black background

Holds Open Houses for High-Demand JobTrakPA Career Programs

by Alana J. Mauger

JobTrakPA_logoMontgomery County Community College 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 the Central Campus, Parkhouse Hall room 112, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the 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 mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

GIS Certificate of Completion: Cross-Industry Appeal in Competitive Job Market

by Alana J. Mauger

Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, has applications far beyond maps and geography.

Law enforcement, health care, urban planning, economics, environmental science, history, business, real estate and information technology—these are just some of the growing number of industries that incorporate GIS into their daily work.

In fact, according to Montgomery County Community College  Assistant Professor of Geography Samuel Wallace, virtually every field of study today uses some form of GIS, making knowledge of its use critical for students and employees across all disciplines.

“GIS requires people who have basic understanding of spatial relationships, along with the system software,” said Wallace.

Montgomery offers a nine-credit Certificate of Completion program in GIS that provides students with valuable skills that can lead to immediate employment in a GIS-related field. The program is ideal for current students, as well as for working individuals who want to add a GIS credential to their resume.

The College’s GIS program prepares students to operate industry leader ESRI’s ArcGIS 10.2 software. The Certificate of Completion is comprised of three courses: Introduction to Geographic Information, Map Design in GIS and GIS Applications. Courses are offered evenings to accommodate working adults, and the entire certificate can be completed in under a year.

The intro course, GEO 210, is being offered Thursday evenings this fall at the College’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The next course, GEO 220, is tentatively scheduled to run at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, in spring 2015.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, GIS-related occupations are expected to grow by 20 percent overall through 2022—nine percent higher than the average occupation growth rate.

To learn more about GIS at Montgomery County Community College, email Assistant Professor Samuel Wallace at swallace@mc3.edu.

Fall semester classes at Montgomery County Community College begin on Aug. 27. Visit mc3.edu/fall2014 for registration information.