Global Corporate College: International Connections for Regional Impact

by Alana J. Mauger

Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development, and Dr. Brook Hunt, director of the Center Workforce Development, stand with Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) nine Pig awards from the Global Corporate College.

Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development, and Dr. Brook Hunt, director of the Center Workforce Development, stand with Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) nine Pig awards from the Global Corporate College.

Community colleges have a proven track record in building the economic growth of the regions they serve by offering employers customized workforce development and training. But some institutions—like Montgomery County Community College—are thinking even bigger.

Close to 50 colleges and universities across the United States are part of the Global Corporate College (GCC), an international network that provides corporations with quality and consistent workforce training curricula for employees regardless of location, language and learning needs. Currently, GCC has global partners in 24 countries, which, according to its website, makes it the largest, multi-modal human capital development network in the world. Through a partnership with Growth Development Associates (GDA), GCC institutions also have access to extensive sales management and training curricula.

“Each GCC partner college has access to the largest body of incumbent worker training curriculum,” explains Dr. Brook Hunt, director of Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD). “As a result, this curriculum enables the colleges to build custom solutions for our customers at our competitors’ ‘off the shelf’ prices.”

Since 2012, Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) has partnered with both GCC and GDA to provide custom training programs and industry forums for dozens of employers in the Greater Philadelphia business community. Clients include Cobham PLC, Lansdale; Blommer Chocolate, East Greenville; Pointroll, King of Prussia; HP Hood LLC, Hatfield and Philadelphia; SKF USA, Lansdale; Stein Seal, Kulpsville; and Curtiss-Wright, EST Group, Hatfield, among others.

Those employers cite positive experiences with GCC and GDA customized training.

“Through CWD and Global Corporate College, we customized a training program for over 50 employees…based on [their] needs and the company’s training goals,” said Joanne Reagan, senior human resources manager for HP Hood, LLC. “The training program was well received. We look forward to continuing our partnership with CWD and GCC.”

“Curtiss-Wright, EST Group, partnered with CWD and Growth Development Associates to energize our sales training efforts,” says Drew Bergman, director, sales and marketing. “The program that GDA developed was specifically tailored to our business, and has resulted in increased staff focus on closing techniques and supported a current initiative to gain “add-on” product accessory sales.  The results have been outstanding.  Our staff came away charged up and excited to put the techniques to use.”

For its efforts, Montgomery was recognized with three distinguished awards during GCC’s annual Institute in Indianapolis over the summer. Dr. Brook Hunt was one of two recipients of the inaugural Spirit of Global Corporate College Award, given in recognition of an individual’s exemplary commitment, spirit and contribution toward fulfilling the mission of GCC.

Montgomery was also earned nine “Pig” awards for securing or expanding GCC and GDA contracts and was the only 2014 “Poodle” award recipient, which is awarded to institutions that bring in five or more new contracts.

To learn more, visit Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development online.

College Joins ‘Yellow Ribbon Program’ to Benefit Student Veterans

by Ben Litman and Alana J. Mauger

Yellow RibbonMontgomery County Community College 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 the College 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 Montgomery. “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. The College 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 the College’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 gibill.va.gov.

New Certificate Launched to Fill Pharmacy Technician Demand

by Alana J. Mauger

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 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 the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Program tuition is $1,638. To learn more, call 215-641-6374 or click here.

The College’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.

New Office Assistant Certificate Part of National Job Ready, Willing and Able Initiative

by Alana J. Mauger and Susan Williams

Montgomery County Community College is offering a twist to traditional workforce development with the introduction of its new Office Assistant Certificate this fall. The program—part of the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative—provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion.

The fall iteration of this 11-week program runs from Sept. 29 through Dec. 11. Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Students are also required to attend six workshop sessions, which are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and Dec. 4, and from 9:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. The cost is $495, which includes instruction, workshops, course textbooks and Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam fees. To learn more or to apply, call 215-461-1468 or email JobTrakPA@mc3.edu.

Students enrolled in the Office Assistant Certificate Program will 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.

“Local industry is in search of qualified office assistants,” said Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. “This 135-hour certificate is laser-focused to train individuals who are unemployed for a middle-skills job.”

After completing the certificate, 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 the College’s Office Administration Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program.

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, Montgomery  joins 17 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).

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.

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.