Unlocking Opportunities for Students

Lorain County Community College was founded in 1963 as a source of constant, relevant education and training for local people. Over the years, many things have changed, but one thing that remains the same is our commitment to adapt to the needs of employers, students and the community through affordable, impactful education.

With a focus on embracing change, LCCC continues to make strides in this mission throughout the changing tides of economy and industry. In fact, disruption and adaptation are a norm at LCCC, rather than the exception. At LCCC, we thrive on changing the model in order to best serve students. This has been the case for nearly 60 years, as more than 44,000 students have earned LCCC degrees in the fields needed most by local employers. And it is worth noting that more than 90% of LCCC graduates live and work in Northeast Ohio – a direct testament to the career-ready education and training they receive and the lasting impact this has on our community.

Recently, LCCC was named to a new consortium that will help us continue to support students in career readiness. LCCC is one of just 10 community colleges in the country selected for “Unlocking Opportunity: The Post-Graduation Success and Equity Network,” an initiative with the Aspen Institute and the Community College Research Center. The focus of the network is on improving students’ post-completion outcomes and proving that by focusing on delivering credentials of value, colleges can strengthen the programs they offer and advising they provide.

I’m thrilled to join the Unlocking Opportunities network and build upon LCCC’s progress in this area. The network’s mission directly aligns with LCCC’s Vision 2025 strategic plan, which includes the promise of 10,000 Degrees of Impact. This initiative aims for 10,000 individuals to earn credentials from LCCC between the years 2019 and 2025. To date, progress on this goal is more than 70% complete.

However, 10,000 Degrees of Impact is not about students earning just any degree. Rather, it’s about helping students find their passions in academic fields that lead to careers with family-sustaining wages. These intentional academic and career pathways unlock opportunities for students while supplying local employers with a talent pipeline for the future. Deliberate academic and career training, combined with employer connections, is more important than ever as industry needs continue to rapidly change.

Here in Ohio, this means training students for careers in the semiconductor and microchip industry with our microelectronic manufacturing programs. This field is expanding exponentially as Intel builds a new semiconductor manufacturing plant just two hours from LCCC’s campus, turning this area into the Silicon Heartland.

While Intel’s investment in our state is new, LCCC’s microelectronic manufacturing program and employer connections in this industry go back more than a decade. In fact, LCCC offers Ohio’s only associate of applied science and bachelor of applied science degrees in microelectronic manufacturing. These programs were developed with direct input from our 80 industry partners who are filling the semiconductor supply chain right here in Northeast Ohio. Learn more about LCCC’s strengths in microelectronics.

To further ensure students learn the skills needed most by employers, our microelectronic manufacturing programs include LCCC’s earn and learn curriculum model. These paid internships with local employers give students valuable work experience and provide local industry with a skilled talent pipeline. That level of career-ready education paired with hands-on training attracts students like Paul Greer III. As he nears graduation, Paul has already completed two internships with local companies ready to hire. And, with a 100% employment rate for LCCC’s microelectronic manufacturing graduates, I have no doubt Paul will land his dream career. Learn more about Paul Greer III.

Paul Greer wears a blue lab coat surrounded by manufacturing equipment
Paul Greer

For Jasmine Jackson of Elyria, LCCC’s focus on in-demand careers means turning a job loss into an opportunity to prepare for a new future in cyber security. Her timing is excellent. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections put job growth in cyber security at 40% or more over the next decade. And LCCC has the training and employer connections Jackson was looking for. Through earn and learn opportunities built in the curriculum, Jasmine began a paid internship at MCPc, a global software security and device company, after just two semesters in the program. Learn more about Jasmine Jackson.

Jasmine Jackson, wearing black, stands in front of a blue wall
Jasmine Jackson

Students like Paul and Jasmine are training at LCCC for careers that didn’t exist a decade ago. In addition to microelectronic manufacturing and cyber security, LCCC offers pathways in cutting-edge programs like automationblockchain and many more. And students are learning in the ways that mean the most to them. LCCC delivers short-term certificates and industry recognized credentials that employers want, and lead to fast employment for students. From there, students can seamlessly continue in their academic pathway with stackable associate degrees and applied bachelor’s degrees, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees from many Ohio colleges through LCCC’s University Partnership.

As higher education prepares for projected systemic change – in what is being called the Great Upheaval by higher education scholars Arthur Levine and Scott J. Van Pelt –  I feel confident that LCCC will continue to what we do best: nimbly adapt in order to best serve students as they reach their academic and career goals.

While no one can predict the future with complete certainty, I know that LCCC will continue to be here, always ready to serve our students and our community in the most impactful ways.