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Build Erie's Future.

Advance the Next Generation.

Empower Erie

Empower Erie is a non-profit organization created to spark change in the Erie community by advancing the next generation of Erie's workforce and improving Erie's economic landscape. As a recipient of an Erie Community Foundation Shaping Tomorrow grant, the Empower Erie team has been charged with establishing a Community College in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Following World War II, Community colleges were created to be responsive to the unique needs of the local community they serve—locally governed and locally focused. The work starts with the assessment of what needs are in the community college and what resources already exist.  Once established, the community college’s role is to be a collaborator with the existing members of the local education ecosystem and create the synergy with employers to prepare the workforce for existing jobs and attract new jobs. It’s not a competitive model, it’s a collaborative model.

Community college is more important than ever as students leave high school unprepared to enter college and more adult learners seek remedial education to jumpstart their education and retool for a new job mid-career. One of the goals of Emerge 2040, the Erie region's 25-year plan for sustainability, was developing an accessible, affordable network for education and training. An Erie Community College could provide a solid anchor for those efforts.

 

A community college is a community asset that serves its community above all. A well-educated, well-trained workforce is key to the long-term viability to any company and every community. Erie County represents the most populated region of the state where there is no access to a community college, despite the fact that our state tax dollars support community colleges across the Commonwealth. It’s time for us to start asking ourselves, why not Erie?

Above all, a community college represents the beating heart of an evolving community and can Empower Erie as we prepare to write our next chapter.

OUR VISION  FEASIBILITY STUDY 

Our view: Don’t let rural se...

Posted on March 13th, 2018 at 12:36 PM

A community college has long been recommended in Erie County to fill a gap in the region’s education continuum and serve as a resource to local employers, especially manuf...

Our view: Budget item kindles ...

Posted on March 2nd, 2018 at 12:45 PM

As Erie Times-News reporter Matthew Rink detailed, the state last fall authorized $10 million in the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program for Erie County’s proposed co...

Community college is vital inv...

Posted on November 5th, 2017 at 10:31 AM

Tom Hagen's op-ed in support of the community college.

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Pennsylvania State Board of Ed...

Posted on September 20th, 2017 at 2:24 PM

The Special Committee of the State Board of Education (Board) established to facilitate the Board's consideration of the plan submitted by Erie County seeking to establish the E...

Erie County community college ...

Posted on June 30th, 2017 at 4:16 PM

The state’s application review process could take up to a year, officials have said.

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Erie County Council approves c...

Posted on June 28th, 2017 at 6:15 AM

A community college plan developed by nonprofit Empower Erie over the past several months now becomes the formal application for the new school that coul...

Why we’re voting for communi...

Posted on June 27th, 2017 at 2:00 AM

This past year, our county embarked on a familiar journey toward the establishment of a community college. With the backing of Erie’s philanthropic community and County Ex...

County Executive Kathy Dahlkem...

Posted on June 14th, 2017 at 3:46 PM

County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper will host a series of events featuring County Council members and members of the Empower Erie team at local high schools. The meetings will pro...

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