One of the upcoming challenges for higher education is what’s being called the “enrollment cliff.” Over the next few years, colleges could begin struggling to find enough students. Businesses could also begin to struggle when looking for workers. In response to this, the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC) is committed to offering more affordable higher education and building a more educated workforce in Pennsylvania. NPRC’s Interim Vice President, Rick Smith, and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Linda Fleming, discuss the NPRC progress.
Associate Degrees & Workforce Training in Northern Pennsylvania
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the need for additional workforce training in the community. Not only does NPRC offer two-year degrees–associate degrees, but we offer workforce training courses as well. NPRC talks to different companies and businesses around the northern Pennsylvania region, and they tell us where they need additional training. NPRC then works to create customized workforce training courses that are specifically catered to help train those employees.
One of many reasons NPRC was developed was to provide a model so that students living in the northern Pennsylvania region didn’t have to leave to receive higher education. Our model at NPRC allows students to stay in their home communities and get the education they need before providing a better workforce for the manufacturers and businesses within our region.
How Will the “Enrollment Cliff” Affect Jobs & Community Colleges in Erie, PA?
The population in Northern Pennsylvania has been experiencing a population decline since 1960. Because this decline is expected to drop another 15% by the year 2025, it is being referred to as the “enrollment cliff.” All of the colleges in our region will be struggling to find enough students during this time. NPRC has adapted to this challenge and ensured that the young people of tomorrow in each of our counties will have an education and be able to fill jobs in the future.
NPRC’s Strategy for Students & Employees Looking for a Higher Education
NPRC’s focus is to provide access to two-year associate degrees for people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to seek out a degree. NPRC also works with local industries and employees who need additional training for their careers. Providing these opportunities for people leads them into a pathway for achieving a certificate or additional training.