Erie PA - Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

Erie Regional Education and Training Consortium


Project Framework: Goals and Objectives

1. Raise the college attainment rate of Erie County residents and beyond
2. Provide affordable postsecondary educational opportunities for a diverse population in our region
3. Address and find solutions for providing workforce skills needed by area employers.

Need:

There is a strong need for the Erie region to create a multi-partner collaborative approach to finding solutions for a stronger economy and improved prosperity. While the region has four universities that provide excellent educational opportunities, many of the local college graduates leave the area after graduation. The result of that is that there are many area residents that are not prepared for the workplace, have not completed postsecondary education, and are not completing college degrees. In addition, Erie County is lacking an affordable and accredited technical training institute or facility that provides the technical skill training needed and in demand by many manufacturing employers. There seems to be a disconnect of what the employers are seeking from existing education programs, a result of which is hesitancy in filling job openings, and inability for economic developers to attract new businesses to the area. In order to successfully address and provide technical skill training, raise college attainment rates, and attract new businesses to the area, a well-planned comprehensive approach must be implemented and supported by all area stakeholders.

Who will be Served:

The Consortium recognizes multiple populations must be served. These include recent high school graduates, persons looking for career advancement, persons who may have begun but never finished college, and persons who have postsecondary credentials but are looking for career re-direction.

Project Timeframe:

Recommendations will be made by the end of summer 2013 to the Consortium members on a plan going forward that has the best potential for success in meeting Consortium goals and objectives.

Recommendations for Implementation:

A “clearinghouse” will be developed as a portal to encourage and support citizens who want to pursue postsecondary education. The clearinghouse will be a physical location with an on-line presence designed to help seekers understand, navigate, and obtain access to programs and educational providers so that they can make informed decisions and get supportive services from entry to completion.

Consortium will coordinate all resources for potential students and connect them to appropriate entities that will provide the necessary support and steps toward their educational path.

The clearinghouse will house advisors and representatives from participating educational institutions.
Overall, the clearinghouse will provide free support services and resources designed to give seekers the tools to be successful during their educational path.

Services will include:

  • An initial intake process to assess educational background, skill level, interests and aptitudes
  • college readiness assessments
  • assistance with finding and filing for financial aid (could be provided by Consortium or by personnel from existing educational providers
  • connecting seekers with participating education providers for advising services; offices will be provided for that purpose in the clearinghouse site
  • Develop partnership with the Career Link system for provision of Career Link services at clearinghouse site
  • academic readiness preparation programs; these could be provided by the Consortium or by community-based organizations
  • support for students from beginning to completion of their postsecondary pursuit

K-12 Partnerships:

Consortium will develop relationships with K-12 education programs in order to promote Consortium resources and supportive services and pathways for high school graduates, especially to promote technical training needed by regional employers, and the academic pathways from technical training to higher levels of education, i.e. college certificates and associate degrees. Consortium will participate in K-12 activities when appropriate

Funding:

The Consortium will need a sustainability plan. It is essential to identify funding streams to support the launch of the Consortium, and funding that will help to keep the cost of education and training offerings as economical as possible for students and businesses.

This project is being funded by a grant from the Erie Community Foundation and committed dollars from Consortium members.

Resources for Information:

Please refer to the university policies for the consortium and catalog of all available resources, programs, training and college information within Erie County.

For additional information or to get involved with the Erie Regional Education and Training Consortium please contact Ben Pratt, Executive Director Growth Partnership at 814-454-7191 ×131.