At your service

By Anitre Bell

A Pennsylvania college is launching a program to better reach potential students off campus.

Concierge-type service is coming to Community College of Beaver County (CCBC). Or, rather, it’s coming to the community served by CCBC.

The college is introducing CCBC Community Classrooms, a new initiative to support community members who have been most adversely impacted by Covid-19. Beginning in the fall, the program will provide personalized concierge-style career and education services to prospective students from Aliquippa and Ambridge. CCBC Community Classrooms will be located at local libraries throughout Beaver County.

“The stated mission of CCBC is to transform lives through personalized education, dynamic partnerships, and high impact practices,” CCBC President Roger W. Davis said. “In pursuit of this mission, we are pleased to offer this unique learning experience to residents. The word community is in our name. CCBC Community Classrooms activates our mission by providing tailored career and education services to our neighbors who need it most.”

Ramping up services

Starting in the second seven weeks of the fall semester, CCBC will offer two three-credit courses, College Success and Writing 101. The 90-minute courses will be held back-to-back simultaneously at Aliquippa and Ambridge libraries on an evening or early Saturday. Both courses will highlight employment opportunities, dream jobs and upskilling within the various lectures and assignments.

“We are looking forward to working with the College to provide Community Classrooms in our libraries which will give students the opportunity to continue their education in spaces that may be more flexible, comfortable, and convenient for students to access,” said Jodi L. Oliver, director of the Beaver County Library System.

An orientation will be held a week before classes begin to introduce students to classmates, instructors. They’ll be able to familiarize themselves with the library and the technology it offers, and practice accessing CCBC email and other CCBC online programs they will need during the term.

Community classrooms students can take advantage of the college’s hybrid format, which is a blend of face-to-face and distance learning. Students have hands-on time with faculty by visiting the Community Classroom once each week, and they also have flexibility by working online.

Access to each library’s computer labs and co-programming, such as story hours, will also launch throughout the term for students with families.

A new community liaison and assistant director of outreach will work collaboratively across the college to support adult learners and other community members experiencing barriers to success including finances, childcare, transportation, and academic and career coaching.

Market research

CCBC completed substantial market research to help identify the barriers facing potential students in the traditionally underserved communities of Ambridge and Aliquippa in Beaver County, Pa.

Findings indicated that potential students desire affordability, streamlined application process, specifically designed support services, flexible options that fit their lives, career relevant programs, and a short time to completion. Finances, advances in technology, a sense of belonging, and fear of new teaching and learning formats were cited as barriers.


Anitre Bell

is community liaison and assistant director of outreach at Community College of Beaver County in Pennsylvania.