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DIFFERENCE MAKER: JCC North County Center offers multiple pathways for adult learners

Submitted Photo Dr. Christopher Reisch, JCC Professor of Mathematics, is assisting student Joana Leamon, who is a Communications major.

JCC North County Training Center has been named one of this year’s Difference Makers in Education, and with the variety of programs serving students at multiple points along their career path, it’s not hard to see why. From students wishing to complete a four-year-degree at SUNY Fredonia to students balancing work, family and college, JCC North meets students where they are to get them where they want to be.

Now in its second year, JCC’s Destination to a Dream is helping students who are not academically eligible to attend SUNY Fredonia achieve a GPA necessary to complete both an associate’s degree from JCC and a bachelor’s degree from Fredonia in four years. The partnership between the two campuses allows students to complete their first two years of college at JCC North County Center (or in Jamestown, depending on the degree track) and seamlessly transition to Fredonia at the end of two years.

For four years, students can enjoy residence life, dining and athletic facilities, and student clubs and organizations at both campuses. According to JCC North County Center Director Elizabeth Booth, there are 15 students in the program and recruitment is underway for the 2019-20 school year.

Last year, JCC introduced the Career Advantage Program specifically to meet the needs of busy, working adults. The program currently offers degree programs in Early Childhood (A.A.S.) and Human Services (A.A.S.).

“Students can complete their degree in two years, while attending class one night a week in person with online work between classes,” Booth explained. “They’re taught in a cohort model, so students learn with other adults, who, like them, are pursuing their degree while balancing work and family commitments.”

According to Booth there are currently more than 60 students participating in the program. A new degree program will be introduced this fall: Health Information Technology (A.A.S.). “The healthcare industry has a growing need for skilled employees who manage important health information and support medical practitioners,” Booth said. “Our Health Information Technology degree prepares students for data-driven jobs in the healthcare industry.”

In addition to preparing students to enter the workforce, JCC also works with area businesses and organizations to provide customized training through the Workforce Readiness Division. Types of training include leadership training, health and safety training, conflict resolution, effective communications, and trainings that provide professional credentials such as Certified Production Technician.

Booth noted, “We’ve recently worked with employers such as Fieldbrook Foods, ECR International, Chautauqua Opportunities, STEL, The Chautauqua Center, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services and the city of Dunkirk. … We also collaborate with BOCES to offer English as a second language classes in Dunkirk.”

Booth acknowledged that although technology and automation have drastically changed — and will continue to change — career opportunities, there are important “soft skills” that every job requires, which JCC aims to equip all students with. “The college experience at JCC helps students build these skills, especially critical thinking, writing, problem solving, collaboration, presentation skills and time management,” she said. “It’s important for students to hone these skills while they’re in school; this will help them be prepared for a job after they graduate.”

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