Lorain County Community College’s (LCCC) stellar 59-year history includes conferring more than 50,000 degrees, being heralded as First in the Nation for Excellence in Student Success and lauded as the most affordable college in Ohio for associate and bachelor’s degrees. So it has much to celebrate during National Community College Month, an annual commemoration held in April that recognizes the vital impact community colleges play throughout the country.
But LCCC is not one to rest on its laurels. Tracy Green, the college’s vice president of strategic and institutional development, explains that the future is always at the forefront of new initiatives designed to prepare students for a job market that never stops shifting.
The college’s current strategic plan reflects that commitment.
“In 2019, we set a pretty ambitious goal,” Green says. “We unveiled a strategic plan to ensure educational attainment is aligned with the in-demand jobs and economic opportunities in our region. Our goal is to have 10,000 people earn degrees by April 2025. By May of this year, we were already at 55 percent of that goal.”
LCCC’s strategic plan also calls for strengthening partnerships with students in kindergarten through 12th grade to increase the number of high school students graduating with college credit and/or industry credentials; this ensures all students in applied and transfer programs have opportunities for relevant experiential learning through internships, apprenticeships, earn-and-learn opportunities, job shadowing and company tours and leverages LCCC’s Advocacy and Resource Center and community partners to expand wrap-around services that include mental health and emergency aid, as well as access to food, technology, transportation and tutoring.
Like the rest of the world, Lorain County was not immune to the overwhelming effects of COVID-19, which included the need for many residents to quickly pivot to new employment. LCCC’s free, 16-week Fast Track program gives adults of all ages the opportunity to do just that. Focusing on in-demand, well-paying jobs in business, computer and information technology, health care and manufacturing, Fast Track gives local residents the opportunity to retrain for a new career, earn a short-term certificate and make important connections with employers looking to hire. In addition to Fast Track, LCCC also offers dozens of free programs students can complete in two semesters. And, as it has for almost three decades, LCCC continues to partner with 14 colleges and universities to deliver more than 100 bachelor’s and master’s degrees on campus, thus saving students an average
“National Community College Month celebrates the fabric of nearly 1,200 institutions across the country and the nearly 11 million students they serve,” Green says. “And although we all share the same mission, each college looks a little different because it really reflects the local community and the hopes and aspirations of that community. At Lorain County Community College, we’re doubling down to make sure we’re having a positive impact on individuals and their families — as well as business and industry — to really create a vibrant community for Lorain County.”