For 60 years, Lorain County Community College has been the trusted place our community members and employers turn to as they prepare for the jobs of the future. We are the number one training location for Lorain County’s first responders. Half of Lorain County families have someone who has taken classes at LCCC or the University Partnership. And after graduation, they find career success right here in our region, as 90% of LCCC graduates live and work in Northeast Ohio.
This means that LCCC graduates are deeply embedded in our community. They’re firefighters, like Steven Acord. They’re nurses, like Jody Page, and police officers, like Mitch Lorig. And our students are training for jobs of the future in manufacturing, like Mason Moreck.
When LCCC was founded in 1963 as Ohio’s first community college with a permanent campus, manufacturing education and training was one of the first focus areas. As time passed, manufacturing evolved, and LCCC’s collaboration with the industry deepened. Today, Ohio’s manufacturing sector is at yet another exciting tipping point. Intel’s new, leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing plant represents one of Ohio’s greatest economic opportunities. Its presence will drive unprecedented supply chain growth throughout the state, including Lorain County. It’s not just about one company coming to Ohio — it’s an entire industry embedding itself in Ohio, creating the Silicon Heartland, similar to when steel and auto first arrived on the shores of Lake Erie.
Long before Intel’s historic groundbreaking ceremony, LCCC was preparing for this moment. LCCC has been developing unique expertise in semiconductor and microelectronic manufacturing education and training for more than a decade. LCCC offers Ohio’s only associate of applied science and bachelor of applied science degrees in microelectronic manufacturing, preparing students for work in this growing semiconductor industry. Both programs have boasted 100% job placement rates for our graduates, in part because of innovative earn-and-learn paid internship opportunities built into the curriculum with more than 80 Northeast Ohio employers. And as Intel’s presence helps bring this Silicon Heartland to life, our graduates’ career opportunities will only grow.
As serendipitous as it all might seem, we are ready for this moment because LCCC, in collaboration with our community and industry leaders, has done what community colleges are uniquely designed to do — forecast future employer needs and respond swiftly to meet them. Community colleges were built for this moment. In 1947, the Truman Commission acted upon a vision to create locally responsive institutions of higher education to educate and train Americans for an industrialized economy. This, in turn, ensures that those within our community have the opportunity today to train for and excel in the jobs of tomorrow. That is why community colleges will be the center of the Silicon Heartland and other widespread technological innovations.
Through decades of thoughtful design, LCCC is an economic engine for our local community and a powerful resource to turn economic disruption into opportunity. For our community, that means that LCCC has formed close relationships with local employers to ensure our programs are preparing students for the in-demand jobs of our region. Employers need talent now, and many students are able to participate in earn-and-learn models while earning their degrees. This design provides an immediate response to employer talent needs and allows students to gain real-world experience in their field of study. This model is beneficial for students of all ages, from working adults to dual enrollment high school students.
Mason Moreck understands this. When he was just 12 years old, Mason began taking classes at LCCC through College Credit Plus. Now a junior at Avon High School, Mason is on track to earn a bachelor of applied science degree in microelectronic manufacturing at the same time he graduates high school next year. And he’s earning on-the-job training through a paid earn-and-learn internship with Core Technologies. Learn more about Mason.
Through LCCC’s College Credit Plus, students like Mason are earning college credit before they graduate high school. In fact, 45% of Lorain County high school students earn, on average, 20 college credits through LCCC’s College Credit Plus. That adds up to $6 million in savings for local families. When high school students continue their education, LCCC remains top of mind, as 68% of Lorain County high school graduates begin their education at LCCC.
Affordable tuition and easy transfer options make LCCC a top choice for high school students, as well as adults returning to school. Through LCCC’s University Partnership, students have the opportunity to choose to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio colleges without ever leaving the LCCC campus. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the University Partnership delivers more than 100 bachelor’s and master’s degrees from 15 Ohio colleges. These degree programs are offered on the LCCC campus and save students an average of 70% on the cost of a bachelor’s degree. It is no wonder the LCCC University Partnership has become a popular higher education choice for Lorain County residents. Since 2000, Lorain County has experienced a 77% increase in bachelor’s degree holders – with 89% of those earning credits from LCCC.
The momentum created by LCCC and the University Partnership helps propel our community. As we move to the future, LCCC is prepared to address the changing workforce needs. Due to LCCC’s adaptability and foresight, the college was recently profiled as one of five exemplary community colleges in a forthcoming publication: America’s Hidden Economic Engines: How Community Colleges Can Drive Shared Prosperity.
Community Colleges, and LCCC specifically, are ready for the future. This community, along with all Ohio, is on the cusp of greatness. We will remain steady down our path, delivering accessible academic programs in ways that quickly translate into in-demand careers. But we will also continue to take hold of opportunities to carve out a new path, launching programs that fill gaps in our community. LCCC prepares our economy for the future, and as I look toward that future, I know the best is yet to come.