Grant to help boost Hispanic STEM education at LCCC

Lehigh Carbon Community College has received a boost to efforts to get Hispanic students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

The National Science Foundation has given the school a three-year, $200,000 grant to increase the number of Hispanic students in STEM classes.  

The grant will support a first-year experience course for Hispanic students to attract them to STEM majors. In addition, the project will address improving students’ sense of belonging to a career where Hispanic and Latino graduates are not well represented. 

It is expected that between 30 and 40 STEM-interested Hispanic students will enroll in the STEM track. 

Hispanic enrollment at colleges and universities nationwide has increased by 34% over the past few years. More Hispanics are entering the workforce, yet LCCC said STEM education is lagging behind. Just 8% of the STEM workforce identify as Hispanic.  

LCCC has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, with a student body comprised of more than 28% Hispanic or Latino students.  

The college developed the Aspira First-Year Experience initiative to support Hispanic students with their transition to college, understanding that developing a sense of belonging has a dramatic impact on students’ academic performance. With this NSF funding, the existing Aspira program will be adapted to a pilot program specific to STEM-interested Hispanic students. 

This course will incorporate topics integral to Hispanic student success, including motivation, self-management, goal setting, critical thinking, test taking and career exploration. Students will learn about STEM fields and hear from Hispanic leaders from local companies about the STEM industry.  

Scholarships, peer mentoring and faculty professional development will also be offered. 

LCCC partners to offer concurrent nursing education

To help students get high-level credentialing sooner, Lehigh Carbon Community College has signed an agreement with Grand Canyon University to offer a concurrent enrollment pathway for students in Nursing.

Participating students would complete their Registered Nursing (RN) degree and start coursework for their Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree online with Grand Canyon University during the academic breaks from LCCC.

LCCC called it a highly accelerated program for motivated students.

The program can be started at any time during the nursing program since curriculum pathways are lined up for various points of entry.

Participating students will be able to receive the concurrent coursework at a discounted price.

Students interested in more information on the program can contact Fauzia Graham, LCCC’s transfer advisor, at [email protected].


LCCC adding electrical and computer engineering technology degree program

Lehigh Carbon Community College in Schnecksville is offering a new associate degree program aimed at those looking for a career in electrical and computer fields. 

The school will be offering an A.A.S in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, which will prepare students for careers in both industries. 

Graduates can find technical positions in fields such as telecommunications, biomedical, manufacturing and energy production. 

According to LCCC, students in the program will develop the skills to analyze, design and implement electrical and computer systems.  

Graduates will be qualified for jobs such as electrical and computer engineering technician, electronics technician, software engineering technician, systems and hardware development technician, assistant system designer and installer, industrial maintenance technician, quality control technician or technical writer. 

The program can be completed in as little as four semesters. The school said industry support for the new program is strong, with promising options for employment. 

The program will be available starting in the Fall 2023 semester. 

LCCC receives $1M to renovate downtown Allentown campus

Lehigh Carbon Community College will receive $1 million in state funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RCAP) to fund façade and roof renovations at its downtown Allentown Donley Center. The funds come from State Senator Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, and representatives Peter Schweyer, D-Allentown, and Mike Schlossberg, D-Allentown, and are part of a total $7.5 million that has been secured for several downtown Allentown projects. 

Since 1999, LCCC’s Donley Center has been downtown Allentown’s hub for education and job training. Each year, more than 500 degree-seeking students attend classes at the site to prepare for jobs in healthcare, business and criminal justice among others.  

Enrollment at the Allentown site reflects the city’s demographics, with nearly 65% of students identifying as Hispanic. LCCC also offers noncredit programs, such as English as a Second Language and Literacy courses to support city residents in their job-seeking efforts and personal development. 

Allentown has expanded around the Donley Center, which is in need of renovations to update the building’s finish to match the surrounding downtown developments. The seven-story site sits on 0.18-acres in downtown Allentown.  

Constructed in 1902, the building was remodeled in the 1940s with the addition of the seventh floor and stucco facing. LCCC purchased the building in 1999 and renovated it to accommodate a college campus. 

The college will match the $1 million grant with an additional $1 million for the total project cost. 

Sen. Browne and Reps. Schweyer and Schlossberg worked together to ensure that funds allow organizations to continue their vital work, with projects ranging from restoring vacant and historic buildings, supporting area college capital projects, and renovations to nonprofit organizations’ facilities. 

LCCC President Dr. Ann D. Bieber said, “The college’s first campus opened in downtown Allentown in 1966, so the college’s presence in the downtown area is integral to our service to the community. We appreciate our area legislators’ commitment to higher education and to a vital college center in Allentown. 

Groups partner to address staffing needs in child care industry

The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley is getting involved in a statewide effort to address the worker shortage crisis in the child care industry. 

According to the agency, connecting individuals to employment has proven difficult throughout recent months, and the child care industry is no exception. A recent survey reports that nearly 100 classrooms are closed in the Greater Lehigh Valley and over 92% of programs have a staffing shortage. 

“With a staffing crisis greatly affecting our child care sector, access to high quality early learning and child care opportunities are decreasing for families. We are taking action to connect job seekers to open opportunities available,” stated Akshara Vivekananthan, director of school readiness for the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. 

Across the state of Pennsylvania, child care providers have faced serious challenges in staffing their facilities, which prevents them from providing the quality care they strive to maintain.  

In response to these shortages, hundreds of child care programs from across Pennsylvania are coordinating Child Care Hiring Days for PA from March 29 through March 31. 

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley has partnered with PennAEYC, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Greater Valley YMCA and The Children’s Center to ensure that Lehigh Valley child care organizations have a presence and to raise local awareness of the statewide staffing shortages. 

 “When child care programs can’t open classrooms or open at all due to staffing issues, it makes it challenging for parents to work and ultimately impacts business productivity and the overall economy,” said Jen DeBell, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, a statewide, non-profit membership organization that advocates for high-quality early care and education opportunities for children and families and appropriate compensation and support for the professionals that provide these programs. 

Over these three days, participating programs will host walk-in hiring events, featuring on-the-spot interviews at their locations. Many locations will be offering competitive salaries and benefits, signing bonuses, tuition reimbursement, continuing education and on-the-job training. 

“In a moment of truth, we know this hiring event is a temporary solution. We are counting on our legislators to save child care as we need continued investments so all children have equitable access to a healthy start,” Vivekananthan added. 

 This state-wide hiring event aims to simplify the job search and hiring process for job seekers, help participating programs reach potential applicants and promote the rewards of working in early childhood education.  

Interested programs can learn how to participate with the Child Care Hiring Days for PA by visiting ECEhire.com or emailing Akshara Vivekananthan at [email protected]. 

Job seekers can view the entire list of careers and locations performing interviews during the Child Care Hiring Event on ECEhire.com.