HARRISBURG – HACC President John “Ski” Sygielski has been appointed to the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) landmark 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges.
Sygielski, the immediate past chairman of the AACC’s board of directors, joins 35 other nationally known individuals from education, business, policy and communications who will examine the challenges and hard choices as well as innovations and opportunities facing community colleges.
HACC enrolls more than 70,000 students at its five regional campuses, including 23,000 credit students in nearly 200 associate career and transfer degrees, certificate and diploma programs, and 55,000 students in workforce development programs such as job training, customized company contracts, public safety, healthcare, technology trades and computer training.
Nationally, community colleges, the nation’s largest and fastest growing higher education sector, educate more than 7 million people annually – nearly half of all U.S. undergraduates.
President Obama has challenged community colleges to educate an additional 5 million students with degrees, certificates or other credentials by 2020. At a time when the United States faces a lingering recession and high unemployment, President Obama and others are calling the goal of increasing postsecondary completion a national imperative and critical to the nation’s future economic prosperity. People across the nation – from traditional-age students to returning veterans, laid-off workers, and those who want to expand their professional skills – are realizing the value of community colleges.
The 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges marks the third such effort to realign the community college mission to reflect national needs and changing times. The Truman Commission (1947) challenged higher education to provide universal access based on its belief that then-junior colleges could broaden and further democratize their mission by
becoming community colleges. Four decades later, the AACC Futures Commission (1988) set forward a reform agenda designed to strengthen the comprehensive mission the Truman Commission originally proposed.