WARREN, Pa. – It was a chance for the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College to show off.
The NPRC capped off its town hall tour, which visited each of its nine counties, with a meeting at its executive offices in Warren. The tour was a chance for President Susan Snelick and other administrators to give an update on the college, explain current degree and training program offerings and hear feedback from the community.
“I know that our college can be that economic driver for the entire region,” Snelick said during her presentation. “We have everything in place that we need to make that happen. It’s just a matter of continuing what we do best. I’m proud to be a part of this team.”
NPRC is a publicly funded higher education institution offering associate degrees, certificates, and workforce development training.
“Our cost is comparable to that of a community college,” Snelick explained. “We haven’t had the opportunity for that education at that affordable cost in the past. Our model lends itself to affordability.”
The college encompasses Warren, Erie, Elk, Cameron, Potter, McKean, Crawford, Venango and Forest Counties. Classes are offered through video technology that enables face-to-face learning.
Snelick also outlined the five main goals for the future – grow student enrollment, foster student success and completion, provide relevant, high-quality programming, ensure financial stability and garner strong name recognition.
“We’re bringing college into communities,” Snelick said. “For the fall, we are in 12 of our locations. COVID turned everything upside down, but I’m happy that we’re out there in 12 locations and keeping our fingers crossed that we can stay that way.
Jennifer Cummings-Tutmaher, Director of Enrollment and Student Success, stressed the focus on community at NPRC.
“We reach out and touch people in the community, give them an opportunity to realize their hopes and dreams,” she said. “Our student have families, they have lives, but they also have goals.
“Our students are gritty and they fight for things in life. Our model is set up so that the student engagement and community engagement specialists engage with those students.”
Those student and community engagement specialists are two positions that used to be one, but now they are separate. The Community Engagement Specialists focus on community events and engagements and the Student Engagement Specialists focus on academic advising and financial literacy.
“Our student body has needs,” Cummings-Tutmaher said. “We realized that there were two skill sets those individuals need to possess, which is very unique to find in one human, so we broke them apart to better serve our students. They are very symbiotic relationships but two completely different areas.”
Workforce Development Specialist Steve Carr also spoke about the classes NPRC offers, as well as their custmoized training and special projects.
“We have almost 70 classes right now and we’re going to be adding more soon in construction as well as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration),” he said. “The classes that we have are varied. We have some basic economic classes in math, precision machining, industrial maintenance, hospitality and tourism, just a lot of different options. It’s a large catalog compared to some of our competitors.”
The overall message of the school is all about community, accessibility and opportunity.
“Finances are a challenge, and we work to help our students with institutional aid. We’re affordable and we’re accessible,” Snelick said. “This is how we build our communities, we keep the people here and give them what they need so they can thrive.”