Lorain County Community College President Dr. Roy Church stopped by Avon Lake Council Sept. 23 to urge support for Issue 2, a 2.1-mill 10-year renewal with increase levy to support the Lorain County Community College University Partnership program.
“He is president (of LCCC) , but he’s also an Avon Lake resident,” Council President Martin O’Donnell said when introducing him.
Church has been president of LCCC for 28 years. Both Avon and Avon Lake councils are considering resolutions to support the issue.
Church explained the history of community colleges and the affect the University Partnership has had on Lorain County.
“These community colleges were an artifact of the second World War, when we sent a generation of young American away to war and took the off the farms from across America to have them return a decade letter to an industrial America needing a different set of skills and abilities to succeed in the new economy,” Church said.
He noted the traditional colleges in the country combined wouldn’t serve 3 percent of the graduating high school classes at the time.
A plan for the returning GIs in their 20s would address their need for training in areas such as police, fire and nursing.
Local colleges were formed for post-secondary education.
By 1990 Census, LCCC was succeeding in providing associates degrees, able to boast that adults in Lorain County had the highest number of associate’s degrees in Northeast Ohio. They county, however, lagged in bachelor degrees, coming in dead last in the area.
“By 1990 it was clear we were moving into the knowledge economy…” Church said. “We were in a time of change.
It was then LCCC created the University Partnership program.
In 1995, voters approved a levy to allow LCCC to expand and create the University Partnership program that started with five universities and 12 programs.
Today the school is partnered with 12 universities for 32 bachelor’s programs, eight master’s programs and seven professional certifications are now offered. Presently 3,000 students take advantage of the programs.
Church said numbers reflected in the 2010 Census show 23 percent increase in adults that hold associate’s degree in Lorain County, 25 percent increase in bachelor degree holders and 44 percent in master degree holders.
While he said the University Partnership couldn’t take full credit for the increase, it has helped make a difference and degrees in Lorain County are rapidly rising.
“We’ve made progress but we’ve got a long way to go,” Church said, asking that voters renew their commitment to the University Partnership program.