There is something truly magical about our Lorain County Community College Commencement ceremony. From the processional to the confetti-filled tassel change, the energy in the room is palpable as our entire community comes together to celebrate our graduates.
I had the honor of shaking hands with our LCCC and University Partnership Class of 2023 as they crossed the commencement stage on May 13, achieving their goal of earning a college degree. This remarkable class includes 2,222 students who earned LCCC degrees or certificates – including 10 students who earned an LCCC applied bachelor’s degree in microelectronic manufacturing! This group also includes 344 students who earned bachelor’s or master’s degrees through LCCC’s University Partnership. With this class, we have already achieved 91% of our 10,000 Degrees of Impact goal, well ahead of the 2025 schedule.
Watch our Graduate Salute video:
As I think about our fieldhouse filled with graduates and thousands of their families, friends and supporters, I am filled with hope and optimism for each graduate, and for our entire community. Like our overall student population, the Class of 2023 includes people of all ages and backgrounds – and 44% of them are the first in their families to earn a college degree! From traditional college students, to dual enrollment high schoolers, to older adults – everyone came to their community college to help them unlock opportunity.
At its core, that’s what LCCC was founded to do: unlock opportunities for students, for this community and for our entire region. Since 1963 that’s been our mission and I’m honored to lead this institution as we continue to make strides in delivering high quality, affordable education that changes lives. Over the past 60 years, more than 44,000 students have earned degrees in high-demand fields. And because LCCC works closely with local employers to ensure graduates are career-ready, more than 90% of LCCC graduates live and work right here in Northeast Ohio.
However, it’s not about just earning any degree to get any job. LCCC is laser-focused on providing equitable education opportunities that lead to careers with family-sustaining wages. To aid in this work, LCCC was named part of the “Unlocking Opportunity: The Post-Graduation Success and Equity Network,” an initiative with the Aspen Institute and the Community College Research Center. I am thrilled to join this consortium and can’t wait to see the results for our students and their families.
We know that higher education is one of the greatest predictors of economic mobility. And we know that early exposure to higher education increases the likelihood that a student will earn a college degree. By delivering college courses to high school students through dual enrollment options like College Credit Plus and Early College High School, more high school students than ever are getting college experience at no cost to them before they even graduate high school. This year, we celebrated 160 high school students who earned an LCCC credential – the largest group of dual enrollment graduates in LCCC history! Lorain County Early College High School graduate Sheliya Cordero is one of 60 students who earned an associate degree along with their high school diploma through Lorain County Early College High School, delivered here on the LCCC campus. Now, she’s off to The Ohio State University with her tuition covered through the Young Scholars program. Learn more about Sheliya.
Another 40 students earned associate degrees this year through LCCC’s Lorain Early College Academy at Lorain High School. These early college programs are especially impactful, providing higher education access to students from underrepresented groups, many who are the first in their families to earn a degree.
Through strong partnerships with local schools, more than 45% of Lorain County high school students earn LCCC college credit before they earn their high school diploma – that’s a savings of more than $43 million for local families. And the savings are even higher for students who continue their education at LCCC and the University Partnership. The impact of these programs is compounded for families who attend LCCC together, like Stephen McDonald and his daughter, Myah.
LCCC graduates of all ages are prepared for in-demand careers, including those that will fill talent and supply pipelines as Intel builds a new semiconductor manufacturing plant in Ohio. LCCC already partners with more than 80 employers in the semiconductor industry here in Northeast Ohio who are preparing for exponential growth. As job demands grow, LCCC has been preparing students in the semiconductor industry for more than 10 years with our microelectronic manufacturing programs. In fact, LCCC offers Ohio’s only applied bachelor’s degree in microelectronic manufacturing, as well as associate degree and certificate programs. Many students land employment even before they complete the program, like applied bachelor’s degree graduate John Trubach. Learn more about John.
From bachelor’s degrees to associate degrees and certificates, I’m so inspired by each graduate in our Class of 2023. By turning to LCCC, they are unlocking opportunities for themselves, their families and our community.
Learn more about the LCCC and University Partnership Class of 2023 at commencement.lorainccc.edu.