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Community college looks to team up with Charleroi

| Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Earning college credits may become a little easier for Charleroi area residents this fall if a community college gets the go-ahead to conduct classes there.

Community College of Allegheny County on Tuesday pitched a plan to partner with the Charleroi Area School District in offering courses toward associate degrees, certificates and diplomas at the Fallowfield Township school. They hope to begin registering students this summer, in time for a September start.

'We see a basic need in Washington County, both in terms of credit courses and the economic development of the region,' said Alice E. Sheets, director for CCAC's Bethel Park/Washington County/Mon Valley centers. She said the college also works with area employers to determine what types of jobs are needed in order to concentrate on upgrading skills and preparing students for those jobs.

'We work with current companies and those moving into the area to see what skills are needed. We consider this area to be a viable option,' she said.

Sheets said the cost per credit for out-of-county residents is $82, $14 per credit more than Allegheny County residents pay. 'We found we can do it for $82 without adversely affecting taxpayers in Allegheny County.'

Lifelong learning courses will also be offered.

CCAC Associate Director John D. Guldenschuh said the college has been making a concerted effort to move into the Washington County area, with sites opening last year at Ringgold, Burgettstown, Chartiers-Houston, Trinity and Washington high schools, as well as at Bethel Park Center.

'We're trying to cover the corners of the county and one smack in the middle,' said Guldenschuh.

The associate director said the off-campus program also includes a dual enrollment, whereby students can take credit classes from CCAC while attending high school. He said enrollment and decisions on whether the credits will be applied to the school's program is the responsibility of the school district.

Sheets said the district will be compensated for each classroom used per session. She said teachers will be recruited, with preference given to area individuals.

The director said CCAC will survey the community to gather input on course interest.

Charleroi Superintendent Dr. John Lozosky called the idea 'an enhancement to the economic development of the region and in particular to the school district and the municipality.'

The school board will vote on the proposal at its May meeting.

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