Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Banks increasing support for Philly’s growing small businesses sector

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read AUGUST 2019 — The economic environment in Philadelphia, with many world-class educational and healthcare institutions, a diverse population and affordable rents, represent an ideal space for entrepreneurs to start their small or medium-size businesses. At the heart of the small-business community is an industry that plays an essential role: banking.

 

Many Philadelphia banking leaders say they have seen increased demand for lending and other services from small businesses. “Philadelphia has long been home to successful small businesses, but in recent years the collaboration between the public, private and nonprofit sectors is spurring a new level of growth,” Robert Kane, market president at KeyBank, told Invest:. 

 

According to Kane, KeyBank ranks 13th among more than 1,800 SBA lenders nationally. In the last five years, the bank has loaned more than $1.13 billion to small businesses across its footprint.  

Similarly, Philadelphia is one of the largest portfolios in BB&T’s footprint for small business. In an interview with Invest:, Regional President Greater Delaware Valley/Lehigh Valley Region for BB&T Travis Rhodes explained that the number of small business clients the bank is serving in Philadelphia is disproportionately larger than any other market in BB&T’s footprint. As a result, it created the “Bank on Your Success” initiative, which is directed to this community. 

“This free financial knowledge program helps entrepreneurs begin to understand the value of an income statement, a balance sheet and other banking basics. When they begin to think about their kind of profitability, how to manage their short-term assets, receivables and inventory, this education is essential. That education is ultimately what prepares somebody to be able to withstand or to handle the next downturn, because it helps them understand the levers of a company,” Rhodes said. 

Some of the biggest challenges small businesses face are improving cash flow, reducing operating costs, improving financial wellness, balancing growth with quality and hiring and retaining talented employees. To help mitigate those challenges, Keybank has developed Key@Work, which is a comprehensive, no-cost employee financial wellness program. 

“We also have a program, Key4Women, that supports the financial progress of women in business. It’s a great program, offering mentorship opportunities, access to capital and professional development,” Kane said.  

The small-business sector also helps banks to maintain a local presence. “We have small-business relationship managers who know the people in the community and become the point of contact for growing their small-business loans. Business sales also come with a lot of deposits, and that’s been a very healthy growth vehicle for us over the last couple of years,” Rodger Levenson, CEO of WSFS Bank, said in an interview with Invest:. 

Small businesses also have a significant impact on Philadelphia’s employment. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia 2019: State of the City report, about 26% of private sector employees in the Philadelphia region worked in small businesses in 2017, a number that was typical for the comparison regions. Also, 17% of Philadelphia employees worked in firms with fewer than 19 employees, second-highest behind the Boston region.

“Small business continues to be the primary generator of jobs and economic activity, not just in Philadelphia but in our entire region. And we see significant growth in our small-business lending activity over the next few years,” Levenson said.  

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

KeyBank: https://www.key.com/small-business/index.jsp 

BB&T: https://www.bbt.com/small-business.html 

WSFS Bank: https://www.wsfsbank.com/Small-Business 

Orlando at the Cutting-Edge of Biotech Investment

by Sara Warden

2 min read August 2019 — The global biotechnology market is expected to exceed $775 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights. With this amount at stake, it is little wonder Orlando is not allowing the opportunity to attract biotechnology companies pass it by.

Florida is the eighth-largest biotechnology R&D state in the United States, with over 260 biotech companies. According to a research paper by Man-Keun Kim and Thomas R. Harris on the clustering effect in the US biotechnology industry, some of the most important factors in forming a cluster include average payroll and overall education level in the region.

Orlando is addressing all these areas to attract biotech giants to the city and surrounding areas.

One example: In 2005, the University of Central Florida (UCF) received a $12.5 million donation from the Tavistock Group to build the UCF College of Medicine at Lake Nona, just south of Orlando Airport. The Orlando community matched the donation, which was in turn matched by a government grant, taking the total investment in the campus to over $100 million.

The new college broke ground in 2007, and the school announced that each of the 41 charter students would be awarded a full $40,000 four-year scholarship. The program attracted 4,300 applicants and the class members had the highest MCAT and GPA scores in the state. The campus continues to expand, now including the medical school’s new 170,000-square-foot medical education facility, as well as its new 198,000-square-foot Burnett Biomedical Sciences building. 

UCF has continued to make partnerships with renowned medical organizations to bolster the campus’ facilities. The College of Medicine is now partnered with Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Nemours Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s largest paediatric health systems.

An economic impact study found that the College of Medicine and Lake Nona’s medical city could create more than 30,000 local jobs, have an economic impact of $7.6 billion and generate nearly $500 million in additional tax revenues for the state.

“I do believe this is a good thing for our community as we endeavor to really diversify our economy with high-wage jobs,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.

With talent at their fingertips, it is little wonder that leading biotechnology companies are flocking to the city. Most recently, biotech firm Amicus Therapeutics announced Lake Nona to be the frontrunner in a new 18-acre site in which it planned to invest $150 million.

Originally, the company planned to create 300 jobs paying an annual average of $69,670, not including benefits. This prompted the government to offer a sizeable benefits package to tempt the company to settle in the southeast Orlando site.

The government offered a 25% tax break and property tax exemptions over a period of seven years, which would save the company about $1.5 million. Additional state incentives totaled $240,000, with Orlando contributing up to $1,200 per job created. There are additional provisions to increase the tax rebate if the company’s investment exceeds $148.85 million.

“Orlando continues to be one of the sites we are considering, and the availability of tax and other incentives, as well as access to a rich talent pool, are important factors in our ultimate site-selection decision,” company spokeswoman Sara Pellgrino told the Orlando Sentinel.

The company has since changed tack, concentrating more in curative gene therapies, which would limit job numbers. “A gene-therapy facility would require less space and less personnel than a biologic drug-manufacturing plant,” Orange County Economic Development Director Eric Ushkowitz told the Orlando Sentinel. However, under the new proposal, the average salary would rocket to around $100,000.

A formal decision hasn’t been made on whether or not Amicus will have an office in Lake Nona but there are plenty of other biotechnology companies racing for their spot in the scientific hub. Newly-established startups include Aviana Molecular Technologies, which is developing a smartphone-enabled biosensor capable of detecting certain proteins that indicate infectious diseases. Also at the site is SynapCyte, a company that is developing patented technologies to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease through stem cell regeneration.

“This is the place to be if you want to be involved with life sciences,” said the site’s Manager Jim Bowie to life sciences publication BioFlorida.

 

6 New Areas of Study You Didn’t Know Were in Miami

By Yolanda Rivas

2 min read JULY 2019 — Technology has reshaped not only how education is delivered but what courses are being taught, with universities and colleges revamping their curriculums to better prepare students with the skills employers demand. 

In Miami, local public and private higher education institutions have upgraded their academic offerings and have focused on working with local businesses to provide opportunities for more than a quarter-million students. 

Invest: Miami spoke with local leaders in the sector to get an update on their new offerings.

Florida International University (FIU)

FIU recently added a bachelor’s of science in the Internet of Things to provide knowledge and expertise in modern digital communication devices. It is also beginning to develop lifelong learner programs, including weekend, just-in-time and certificate programs related to technological and data-literacy development.

“Skill sets are increasingly becoming multidisciplinary in almost all areas. It’s a whole new world out there, and we want to make sure that our students are at the cutting edge of that,” said FIU President Mark Rosenberg, when he recently sat down with the Invest: Miami team.  

University of Miami Graduate school: 

UM Graduate School will add a degree program centered on climate change and health as part of a set of new interdisciplinary programs in the works. 

“We have to continue to push the envelope and be innovative. Educational programs tend to be concentrated, and I believe we need to continue developing interdisciplinary programs. We must give students an opportunity to practice some of their non-discipline-specific skills as well,” Guillermo “Willy” Prado, dean of UM Graduate School, said.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine:

The school is revamping its curriculum to focus on using “entrustable professional activities” to determine the competency of a medical student, as opposed to the traditional four-year structure. The approach will allow students to complete an earlier transition from medical school to residency. 

“We are in the process of designing a Miller-specific curriculum that we believe will be the model that other institutions will mimic for years to come. There has been a lot of evolution in the field, and we believe we have an opportunity to innovate and help lead in that domain,” said Dr. Henri Ford, dean and chief academic officer of Miller School of Medicine, in an interview with Invest:. 

Miami Business School (MBS): 

MBS is starting a 10-month M.S. in sustainable business next August. “That will be the first STEM-certified M.S. in sustainable business degree in the country,” Dean of MBS John Quelch told Invest:.

University of Miami School of Law:

The law school established joint degrees with University of Miami schools covering at least 10 specialties. “We’re the most interdisciplinary unit within the university. Many of our curricular offerings and our rich, intensive clinical education program in various substantive areas such as human rights, immigration and environmental justice are deeply interdisciplinary,” Patricia White, dean of the University of Miami School of Law, told Invest:.

UM Division of Continuing & International Education:

UM Division of Continuing & International Education launched certificates in coding and cybersecurity as part of its academic focus on STEM. The division’s dean, Rebecca MacMillan Fox, told Invest: that both certificates “have exceeded our expectations for enrollment and industry demand.” 

The division is also launching a GPRO Certificate Program (Green Professional Building Skills Training) that is customized for the climate and regional needs of South Florida.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:

Florida International University (FIU): https://www.fiu.edu/ 

University of Miami Graduate School: https://www.grad.miami.edu/ 

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine: http://med.miami.edu/ 

Miami Business School (MBS): https://www.bus.miami.edu/ 

University of Miami School of Law: https://www.law.miami.edu/ 

UM Division of Continuing & International Education: https://www.dcie.miami.edu/

Philadelphia Grows Online Education Presence

By staff writer

June 2019

2 min. read

Credit: Neumann University

Over the last several decades, online education has been growing, not only at for-profit universities, where it once thrived, but at public academic institutions as well. An average of one- third of students in the United States are taking at least one online course. Invest: Philadelphia met with several leaders of local higher-education institutions to understand which online programs are attracting the most attention in the area.

A recent report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) showed that approximately 49% of the 1.3 million students enrolled at private for-profit institutions were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses in fall 2017. On the other hand, 19% of the 4.1 million students at private nonprofit institutions and 11% of the 14.7 million students at public institutions were enrolled in distance courses.

Health sciences and data and cyber analytics are some of the online courses that are experiencing growth in the Philadelphia area.  

“We started an online program for doctors in pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing, and last year we received the endorsement of the American Osteopathic Association,” Joseph DiAngelo, dean of Erivan K. Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University, told Invest:.

Similarly, Arcadia University is expanding its online courses in the health sciences area.

“At Arcadia, we have a big focus on health sciences innovation, with nationally-ranked programs in our physical therapy and physician’s assistant degrees. Both of these degrees will see investments in a hybrid online version of the programs, which will make us one of the very few institutions in the world delivering those programs through an online platform,” Ajay Nair, President of Arcadia University told Invest:.

A survey entitled Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States showed that the percent of academic leaders who rated the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face instruction grew from 57% in 2003 to 74% in 2013. In addition, most survey respondents agree that students require more responsibility and discipline to take online courses, and the abandonment of the courses remains one of the challenges of online education.

Jefferson University recently announced the country’s first ever graduate-level certification for blockchain for healthcare. The online course is focused on exploring the fundamentals of blockchain and related technologies that can be leveraged to improve healthcare and empower patients. Upon completion of this program, students will be able to advance in their careers as Business Analysts, Technology Engineers, Hospital Administrators, Data Analysts and more.

Neumann University also is moving to a significant online education offering, as Chris Domes, president at Neumann University, told Invest:. “In the last few years, we ramped up our online programming and we just invested in an instructional designer who will help the faculty to enhance online learning for our students. We are moving all our graduate programs to become either fully online or blended,” he said.  

The 2019 Online Education Trends Report from BestColleges showed that school administrators’ predictions about which programs will grow have remained fairly steady for the past two years. They are seeing opportunities for programs in healthcare, business, and computer science.

For more information about our interviewees visit:

Erivan K. Haub School of Business, Saint Joseph’s University: https://www.sju.edu/academics/haub-school-business

Arcadia University: https://www.arcadia.edu/

Neumann University: https://www.neumann.edu/

Jefferson University: https://www.jefferson.edu/

 

 

Salus University Awards Medal of Honor to University President

By Salus University

April 2019

Elkins Park, Pa. – It takes a special community to ensure that Salus University continues to be a leader in health science education, just like its founding College, the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO), set out to do 100 years ago. That’s why on Friday, April 26, 2019 at the Science History Institute, 10 individuals will be awarded the first-ever Salus University Presidential Medals of Honor to commemorate an important milestone: 10 years of the establishment of Salus University.

The award ceremony will be part of a larger centennial celebration of PCO. The new recipients for the medals were nominated by the University’s Centennial Committee. Each recipient was chosen for their significant contributions to their profession and/or for their service to the institution.

Among those to receive the first-ever Salus University Presidential Medals of Honor is Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, FAAO, FACHE, Salus University president.

“The Salus Board is thrilled that Dr. Mittelman is being recognized for his achievements at PCO, Salus as well as being an ‘ambassador’ for the school while serving in the Navy,” said Jo Surpin, Salus University Board Chair. “As president he has provided the leadership necessary to continue the transition from PCO to Salus University while preserving our legacy.”

Dr. Michael H. Mittelman served with distinction for more than three decades in the United States Navy in a succession of increasingly responsible, mission-critical command positions, and achieving the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper Half) and serving as Deputy Surgeon General. He was a trailblazer for optometry in the military as the first Navy aerospace optometrist, the first optometrist to command a major naval hospital; the first and only clinician to lead the Navy Medical Service Corps; the first non-medical doctor to serve as a combatant command surgeon in the U.S. Pacific Command; and the first non-medical doctor to serve as the command surgeon for the U.S. Joint Forces.

After 33 years, Dr. Mittelman retired from the U.S. Navy, a Rear Admiral and former Deputy Surgeon General, and returned to his alma mater to become Salus University’s sixth president in 2013. Dr. Mittelman is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the AAO. He is a past recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the AOA and of the Armed Forces Optometric Society’s Orion Award.

The full list of the awardees and their bios can be found on the University’s Centennial website: salus.edu/centennial.

About Salus University Salus University, founded as the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 1919, today is a diversified, globally recognized professional academic center of learning that offers a wide range of degree programs in the professions of Optometry, Audiology, Physician Assistant, Public Health, Blindness and Low Vision Studies, Biomedicine, Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Pathology. Salus operates four clinical facilities in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties that provide highly specialized vision, hearing and balance, and speech-language pathology services. The University has more than 1,200 students and more than 14,000 alumni worldwide. For more information, please visit www.salus.edu.

A Hub for Medical Innovation

By staff writer

February 2019

There are certain aspects of a community that will always prove to be true. One such truth is when you have an area like Tampa Bay that is home to nearly 3 million people, and that number is steadily increasing year after year, there is inevitably going to be a need for more medical care. With that comes an increased emphasis on medical education. So how is Tampa handling this increased demand? The simple answer is: innovation.

Tampa is home to a number of highly praised and widely recognized medical institutions, and one of these institutions is Ultimate Medical Academy. The academy is using innovative methods for its online school to better equip those students who might not have the flexibility in their lives to go to an actual campus. Invest: Tampa Bay recently sat down with the school’s president, Derek Apanovitch, to discuss how they are best supporting their medical students.

“It has been a good year at Ultimate Medical Academy,” Apanovitch told Invest:. “We reached 15,000 students nationwide, and we have more than 45,000 graduates across the country. We also received four more years of accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

“We have what we call learner-services advisors who are assigned to individual students on their first day of class and stay with them through the duration of their program to help keep them on track,” Apanovitch continued. “One of the obvious challenges of running an online learning environment is that you don’t have students in front of you. We try to reaffirm that human element through constant interaction with our students, many of whom are single moms who are juggling part-time jobs and child care, so it’s important that someone is always available to help them. Faculty and the student support center employees are always on hand. That’s integral to the success of our students.”

Online institutions like Ultimate Medical Academy are proving successful because of their accessibility. This idea of accessibility has also been adopted by Tampa’s hospitals, making it so their patients have access to the items they need without having to go out of their way to procure them.

Invest: Tampa recently spoke with Tampa General Hospital’s CEO and president, John Couris, to discuss how they are leveraging innovative technologies to improve patient experience.

“We use a system called Epic for our electronic medical records (EMRs), and arguably it’s one of the best EMRs in the world,” Couris said. “It has improved access to clinical information exponentially for patients. Patients can access test results. They can communicate and message their doctors. They can make appointments. They can fill prescriptions. They have a to-do list for healthcare and tracking. They have a healthcare summary. They can see and pay their bills. They can do an e-visit, and they can share their records with any other Epic institution in the world. Not every institution has that kind of technology and infrastructure. We have it, and we’re continuing to get better at it.”

Innovation is not a new concept, but it is one that is necessary for Tampa Bay’s continued success in the medical field. As long as medical professionals and institutions continue to innovate, Tampa Bay will continue to be at the forefront of Florida’s medical community!

To learn more about our interviewees, visit their websites:
Ultimate Medical Academy: https://www.ultimatemedical.edu/
Tampa General Hospital: https://www.tgh.org/

The Talent Struggle

By staff writer

February 2019

Philadelphia is a city filled with diverse and creative talent, yet many of its businesses — like those across the country — cite the inability to attract and retain a high-quality younger workforce as one of their greatest struggles. Unemployment is low (4.8 percent in Philadelphia and just 3.7 percent nationwide), competition is high and turnover is expensive. Job seekers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing a job and employer, and often they want to know about more than just salary and benefits before accepting a new position.

Our team at Invest: Philadelphia spoke with local leaders across a number of industries about innovative strategies for finding and keeping top talent in a tight labor market and the benefits Philadelphia has to offer its workforce. Here’s what they had to say:

“Employers that we are talking to in the region are working with an aging workforce. Baby boomers are no longer the largest generation in the workforce; it is now millennials. The speed of innovation is multiplying, and to keep up with trends and growth opportunities, employers have to focus on young talent. Because the generation after the millennials is smaller, there is more competition for them. We are already seeing that. Students these days are very savvy and know exactly what kind of employer they want and what kind of work they want. In order to be the employer of choice for this talent, employers are going to have to build relationships with this talent pool earlier.”

— Deborah Diamond, President, Campus Philly

“Overall, Philadelphia is a strong market. Life sciences and real estate are huge industries in the area, and businesses in these industries are investing more in their companies. These investments take the form of physical capital, improvements to buildings or machinery and technological innovations that streamline processes. These organizations have also been investing in their employees to boost retention. This emphasis on employee empowerment is beneficial for millennials whose work ethic is driven by social impact and purpose. It is important for them to understand how their work relates to their communities. Companies that spend the time empowering their employees will ultimately strengthen Philadelphia’s workforce.”

— Denise McKnight, Partner, Friedman LLP

“Philadelphia is an attractive market for people living and working here because you can have a work-life balance. There are high quality professional sports teams, engaging arts and cultural venues, great restaurants and a wonderful mix of history, tradition and modern energy. You can have a challenging and exciting career without being required to work 100 hours a week or spend all of your time commuting. Philadelphia offers an attractive and fulfilling lifestyle.”

— John Kirwin, Founding Partner and CEO, Argosy Capital

 

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

Campus Philly: https://campusphilly.org/

Friedman LLP: https://www.friedmanllp.com/

Argosy Capital: http://www.argosycapital.com/

 

Workforce Development for the Future

By Ian Leigh

February 2019

Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times.

Although Governor Ron DeSantis has asked for Florida’s education commissioner, Richard Corcoran, to help him secure $36 million from the legislature for workforce programs, with an emphasis on computer science classes, several Tampa Bay area college presidents say there are market opportunities in the arts and creative fields as well.

Governor DeSantis, at a recent Tampa press conference, asked for more dollar investment in vocational and technical training, with a special emphasis on computer knowledge. To stress that initiative, he signed an executive order asking for an audit by the Department of Education to learn more about its career and technical education programs. He said he wants to prepare more people for practical market entry.

The goal is to raise Florida from number 24 nationally in vocational training to number 1 by 2030. As part of this effort, he is asking the legislature to put $10 million into programs that will permit teachers to earn computer science certificates. He hopes the end result will be more qualified faculty in this field.

Governor DeSantis also asked for another $26 million for more workforce programs within the state college system and more investment to seed workforce apprenticeships. Several Tampa Bay area college presidents say that there are also alternative opportunities in the arts and other fields — in everything from mental health counseling to the creative arts.

Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College, told our Invest: Tampa Bay team that there are myriad creative paths for students. “Historically, education has focused on the left side of the brain (the logical, analytical and sequential thinking), but with the dawn of AI, the development of the right side of the brain (the creative, holistic and intuitive thinking) will become even more critical. That’s where the future lies; it’s going to become fuel for all industries, the oil of the future.”

Ringling College, based in Sarasota, offers classes in the business of art and design and other creative disciplines.

Jeff Day, president of Argosy University, noted there are new opportunities in the market. “Due to what’s happening in our society right now, clinical mental health counseling is a really booming occupational field,” he told Invest:. “There’s such a growing need for mental health counsellors and clinical psychologists, and even our school psychology program, that we’ve expanded our programs and are seeing more students.”

Governor DeSantis stressed the need for practical education during his press conference. “Florida has many students unprepared for college and workforce success,” he said, “limiting both their career and opportunities, as well as employers’ ability to grow their business.”

Jeffrey Senese, president of St. Leo University, emphasized his belief in internships and practical readiness for work upon entry into the workforce. “Internships are crucial, as are the practical projects in the classroom. We try to ensure both so our students are career-ready upon graduating,” he told Invest:.

A feature for the school is that its faculty members have field experience in addition to academic knowledge. Senese cited the real-world seniority of instructors in his school’s criminal justice department. “The same goes for the business, arts and science, social work and education departments — they’re practitioners; that’s an important part of our model.”

It’s clear that Florida’s leaders recognize the importance of training the state’s future workforce and preparing them to be productive members of a constantly changing economy. Whether it’s technical and computer science training or honing creative and communication skills, Tampa Bay’s educational institutions are rising to the challenge.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:
Argosy University: https://www.argosy.edu
Ringling College: https://www.ringling.edu
St. Leo University: https://www.saintleo.edu

MontCo Is the Way to Go

By staff writer

February 2019

Student debt and the growing cost of education are topics of discussion across the country. In the Greater Philadelphia region, these concerns affect the hundreds of thousands of students who pursue their education in the City of Brotherly Love and its surrounding suburbs. Students and parents alike are looking for ways to minimize debt while maximizing education and experience. At the same time, colleges and universities are looking for ways to cut costs and increase enrollment while continuing to support the local economy.

Many students are choosing to attend community college, either to pursue an associate’s degree or to begin their education at a lower cost before transferring to a four-year institution. While community college once held a stigma, that perception is quickly shifting as more and more students recognize the value of the programs offered at these institutions. Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), located in Blue Bell in Montgomery County, PA, has been educating students since 1964. It has an enrollment of almost 13,000 students seeking education in programs like business, health, engineering, social services and more.

“One of the areas we are focusing on is workforce development to address the needs of the businesses in Montgomery County, as well as surrounding counties,” Dr. Kevin Pollock, president of MCCC, told Invest: Philadelphia when he sat down with our team. “We work closely with employers to develop customized training programs that have value in the workplace today and in the future. Through our training programs, businesses gain a skilled, knowledgeable workforce and a competitive advantage in the workplace.”

With a tuition that comes in significantly lower than many of the surrounding options, especially for in-county students, MCCC proves to be a smart economic choice for students of all ages and backgrounds. The college has programs for every type of student, from those looking to continue their educations to high schools students looking to get a jumpstart on their postsecondary degrees.

“We offer dual enrollment for high school students.” Pollock told Invest:. “This program allows high school students to earn college credits while still in high school. Students are able to challenge themselves with college-level courses and gain credits that can then be used toward completion of their associate’s degree here or transferred to a four-year institution.”

As education costs continue to grow, community colleges in the area are standing out for their lower price tags and exceptional programming. Whether a student wants to immediately enter the workforce or seamlessly transfer into a four-year institution, Montgomery County Community College is paving the way for students to meet their goals.

And that’s not the only benefit MCCC provides to the community; it is also a significant economic driver for the county. According to a recent study, MCCC students earn $6 more per hour for every dollar they invest in their education. From 2009 to 2010, these higher earnings and the related increased business output contributed an additional $362.4 million to the regional economy. Taxpayers also see a 7.2 percent return on their investment in MCCC.

Rising costs and accessibility will continue to pose challenges to higher education across the country, but community colleges are stepping in to provide cost-effective and quality alternatives to students while also serving as important economic engines for their local economies.

For more information on our interviewee, visit https://www.mc3.edu/.