Erie County Community College adds degree programs to fuel its workforce

Our first year together saw the Erie County Community College of Pennsylvania, otherwise known as EC3PA, finding its footing and forming a solid foundation on which to build and grow. Our next steps are to expand to offer more of the kinds of programs our students and community need as we look to the future. I previously mentioned that we would be adding more degrees and certificates to our offerings here at EC3PA, and I’m excited to share the latest additions to come. These nine new program pathways have been approved by the Board of Trustees, and all will begin with our Fall 2022 semester.

Choosing which programs to add and where to expand are decisions we haven’t made lightly. We have based our programmatic decisions on need, choosing to first choose the types of programs our community needs most. Workforce development is a promise EC3PA made to Erie County; We remain committed to helping create a skilled workforce that will further boost the county’s economic vitality.

First, we’ve added an associate’s degree in applied science in criminal justice. This degree program focuses on both policing and corrections, and it involves the study of law, social sciences, and criminology in its course requirements. Upon completion of the degree, students are prepared to apply to police academies, work as correctional officers, or work in ancillary areas of criminal justice such as victim advocacy agencies, juvenile justice, etc These students can also choose to transfer to a four-year institution to continue their studies in the field of criminal justice.

We have also added two more Associate of Applied Science degrees in Mobile Application Development and Programming. As AI, machine learning, and robotics revolutionize the world of work, we need a workforce that is well versed in coding, ready to lead change, and equipped with the technical skills to work. work of tomorrow. In addition to AAS degrees, shorter-term certificates are available, and all of these programs are aligned with industry-recognized benchmarks such as C+, Python, Windows, and more.

Chris Gray

For those not looking to earn a two-year degree, EC3PA has created a Certificate in Corrections Information. This certificate develops practical and professional knowledge and skills in the field of corrections and, like the AAS diploma, involves the study of the application of law, social sciences and criminology in its course requirements. Its courses prepare students for entry-level careers in corrections and other employment opportunities within the corrections system and can be completed much faster than the Associate of Applied Science.

Additionally, we will offer a Certificate in CNC Operator/Programmer Information, which will train students to produce components by programming, setting up and operating an automated Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. Students will work with a variety of materials while learning how to adjust machine settings, test and compare finished products, and they will also learn how to document the production of parts and materials. This certificate will prepare students to seek entry-level employment in the precision manufacturing industry, seek advancement or retraining opportunities, and expand their skills through specialized education and training.

Our next new feature is the Certificate in Industrial Maintenance Information. This certificate prepares students to become proficient in the assembly, installation, troubleshooting, repair and modification of machinery and automated systems in the manufacturing industry. This certificate will prepare students to enter the manufacturing space as a Plant Maintenance Mechanic, Machinery Mechanic, Maintenance Mechanic, Industrial Machinery Mechanic, or take on a similar role .

Finally, we will add a certificate in automated electrical systems. This certificate is designed for those currently employed in the field of industrial maintenance and provides them with the opportunity to work specifically with the Allen Bradley SLC 500 Programmable Logic Controller. Students will be trained to identify and repair problems within the Allen Bradley 500 using advanced programming skills and upon completion will be positioned to work in facilities that use the Allen Bradley 500 PLC to operate machinery.

I am incredibly excited and excited to roll out these new programs and welcome more Erie County learners to EC3PA. Our commitment to workforce development is strong, and this is an important expansion for us – one of many more to come!

Chris Gray, Ph.D., is the founding president of Erie County Community College. A version of this column was first posted on his blog on the community college’s website,

Sam D. Gomez