Wyomissing, Pa. (February 18, 2020) – Qualifying veterans, active duty reservists, or national guard members can now receive full academic scholarships to the Reading Area Community College for career or vocational training thanks to the generosity of Berks regional businesses who contributed to a new Military Assistance Fund. Up to $36,000 a year will be provided through an effort led by Customers Bank. The scholarships will be funded from donations collected at the annual veterans luncheon which Customers Bank has been the presenting sponsor of for the last six years, and last year featured General David Petraeus as a keynote speaker. Contributions will be managed by the Berks Community Foundation, with the scholarship program being administered by Reading Area Community College.
The scholarships provided through the Military Assistance Fund assist current or former members of the armed services, reserves or National Guard. While there is substantial scholarship assistance available to some of these service members, these benefits are limited by time, length and nature of service, among other factors. The purpose of this fund is to close any gaps in financial aid while providing Reading Area Community College with the maximum flexibility to meet the educational needs of military families. Scholarship awards will cover tuition and fees for full-time students and individuals enrolled less than full-time due to other work and family obligations. Interested applicants will need a DD Form 214 certifying an Honorable Discharge.
“These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of local businesses and organizations that sponsor the annual Veterans Day Event. The event raises funds to support organizations dedicated to serving the needs of Berks County veterans,” said Richard Ehst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Customers Bank. “These scholarships are another way for us to thank those individuals who have or who are continuing to serve our country and help them achieve their educational goals. Like so many of our Veterans Day Event sponsors, Customers Bank has always placed a high value on education and we are immensely proud to help facilitate this additional support for our veterans.”
Beginning in winter 2020, the scholarship fund will contribute up to $36,000 annually to create scholarships for veterans of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Current and previous members of the U.S. Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve or Coast Guard Reserve are also eligible to apply for the scholarships.
The scholarship fund was announced today and recognized at an event with speakers Dr. Susan Looney, RACC president; Richard Ehst, president and chief executive officer of Customers Bank; Joseph L. Hartz, president of UGI Energy Services, LLC; Eric Schippers, senior vice president, public affairs at Penn National Gaming, Inc. and Pat Shields, owner and chief executive officer of Fromuth Tennis.
“As a proud ambassador of RACC’s mission of student success and the enrichment of our community, I am thankful for the generosity of all of the sponsors of the annual Veterans Day Event, and especially for Customers Bank in providing the essential financial support to help our Berks County veterans attain a college education,” says Dr. Susan D. Looney, RACC president.
“Without the continued support from key sponsors at the annual Veterans Day Event, we would not be able to make these important scholarships available,” added Ehst. “We are fortunate to have such wonderful organizations and corporate leadership in the region that share our commitment to supporting Berks County veterans. We are grateful for the continued support of Boscov’s, East Penn, EnerSys, First Energy Foundation, Penn National Gaming Foundation, Penske, Reading Hospital, Shields Family, Ubiquity, UGI, UGI Energy Services and the many others that have contributed over the years.”
To learn more about the available scholarships, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-607-6239.
Reading Area Community College is an accredited, comprehensive, open-enrollment education institution that provides associate degree, certificate and diploma programs; career-focused training; transitional coursework; skills training for business and industry; personal enrichment programs and public service activities. Sponsored by Berks County, the college provides affordable access to meet identified community educational needs.
Sen Judy Schwank receives thanks from Nurse Aide Training Program grant recipients during tour of United Community Services facility
Reading, PA - February 10, 2020 – PA Senator Judy Schwank and members of her staff visited the United Community Services for Working Families facility on Front Street in Reading today. In January of 2020, Senator Schwank awarded a $25,000 educational grant to support the United Community Services home care and nurse aide training program for its YouthBuild students and members of the Berks community.
With a start date of March 2020, students completing the six-week training program are prepared to take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) Exam. This course is offered free to eligible applicants, and will be held on the Reading Area Community College campus.
During the tour, Senator Schwank had the opportunity to meet with student grant recipients, who were excited to meet the Senator in person and express their gratitude for the funding, which enabled then to enroll in the home care and nurse aide training.
“It is a thrill to see the students whose lives will be positively impacted by these grants,” says Senator Schwank. “The careers in this field are becoming increasingly more in demand in Berks County, and it is important to work with United Community Services and their partners to graduate students from these training program that create a seamless pathway from training to employment.”
United Community Services Executive Director Ryan Bradley adds, “We are so grateful for the generous support of Senator Schwank and her staff in providing the much needed educational grant. The home care and nurse aide training program grant will have a direct impact on local families and will help us provide them with the support and hope they need to be successful.”
To find out if you qualify for this opportunity, or for more information, please call 484.755.5007 or 610.374.3319.
United Community Services is community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit located in Reading, PA. We serve as the community/labor liaison to the United Way of Berks County connecting individuals and families to the many services provided by the 34 partner agencies of the United Way.
Reading Area Community College and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Berks County Implement Bridging Cultures Partnership
January 16, 2020 - Alexis Jardine of Reading Area Community College (RACC) partnered with leaders in the Readi
January 16, 2020 - Alexis Jardine of Reading Area Community College (RACC) partnered with leaders in the Reading Hispanic community to present a two-day workshop for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Berks County. Entitled “Bridging Cultures” the weekend workshop conducted on January 11 and 12, 2020, was the result of the partnership between the two organizations to improve outreach to Hispanic children.
“This workshop really gave practical tools to take back and apply to our jobs.” said Janine Torres, CASA Volunteer Advocate, “Building bridges between cultures is key to helping people live together in unity.”
According to the Annie E Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center, there is an average of 500 children in foster care in Berks County each month. Of those children approximately 46% are from Hispanic families. “Our volunteers are caring professionals from a variety of fields, but they have little knowledge of Hispanic family practices and values.” said Nancy McCullar, Executive Director CASA Berks County, “We looked at how to best meet the needs of the children we served. Instead of the slow process of recruiting bicultural volunteers one by one, it made more sense for all of our volunteer advocates to learn how to work with and advocate for Hispanic children in foster care. Alexis Jardine and RACC put together a workshop that exceeded our expectations.”
Speakers at the two-day workshop included Waldo Alvarado, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Reading School District, Sheila Negron, Former Director of Migrant Head Start Berks County, Dr. Danelle Bower, faculty RACC, and Mike Toledo, Executive Director, Centro Hispano among others. Successful communication methods with Hispanic families, comparing family values, understanding the four essential F’s, and new ways to think about cultural inclusion were some of the many topics covered in the workshops.
Shari Wapinsky, school nurse in Fleetwood School District and a CASA volunteer advocate, summed up everyone’s opinion when she said, “This workshop was amazing. This would be a great asset to all school districts to learn how to deal with cultural diversity.” Brenda Druck, CASA Volunteer Coordinator added, “I feel so much more comfortable about my ability to interact with children and families of the Latino Community. Learning that we can respect both cultures and bridge our differences to navigate a child through the court system was eye-opening.”
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Berks is a non-profit organization that trains and supports volunteer citizens who advocate for children in foster care to ensure their well-being. More information on CASA is available at: casaberks.org
If your organization is interested in the Cultural Awareness and Diversity Training offered by Alexis Jardine of Reading Area Community College, please contact Mike Salute at 610.372.4721 ext. 5176.
Reading, PA – Reading Area Community College Foundational Studies Associate Professor Denise Strohmayr has bee
Reading, PA – Reading Area Community College Foundational Studies Associate Professor Denise Strohmayr has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Recognition from the American Association of Community Colleges. This national award recognizes individuals who make a difference in the classroom by demonstrating passion, showing a willingness to support students inside and outside of the classroom, participating in college committees and going beyond what is required to ensure student success.
“My passion has always been to provide the best possible classroom experience for students to achieve success so it is an incredible honor to receive this award. This recognition would not be possible without the support of my Foundational Studies colleagues and administration who foster a positive and supportive environment for our students to achieve their academic and personal goals,” says Strohmayr.
"Denise is a perfect example of a RACC faculty member who demonstrates a high level of quality student-centered teaching and exemplary service to the college, her profession, and the community," says RACC President Dr. Susan Looney.
A long-time Berks County native, Denise hold a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kutztown University and a master’s degree in organizational management. She is on the Board of Directors of the Literacy Council of Reading-Berks, Inc., and is a member of the Pennsylvania Association of Developmental Educators.
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents nearly 1,200 two-year, associate degree-granting institutions and more than 12 million students.
The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is pleased to announce that on January 8, 2020 Pennsylvania's 14 community c
The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is pleased to announce that on January 8, 2020 Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges signed a statewide articulation agreement with Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). The historic agreement -the first of its kind in the Commonwealth -will provide Pennsylvania community college graduates, employees, and the immediate family of employees the opportunity to enroll at or transfer to SNHU to pursue a bachelor's degree at a 10 percent tuition reduction.
A significant number of Pennsylvania's community college students pursue transfer to four-year institutions and attainment of a baccalaureate degree. Each year, more than 30,000 Pennsylvania community college students transfer, and nearly 85 percent of those transfers are to institutions in Pennsylvania. The colleges currently have thousands of articulation agreements with higher education partners to help our students realize their postsecondary goals. We remain committed to these partnerships and look forward to expanding them as opportunities arise.
However, some of our students prefer the flexibility offered through virtual learning opportunities, and many of our students are challenged by the high cost of higher education -two hurdles that the SNHU partnership seeks to address.
SNHU is already a popular transfer destination for Pennsylvania's community college students, with more than 1,500 community college students currently enrolled. Nearly 500 Pennsylvania community college students transferred to SNHU in the 2018-2019 academic year and SNHU awarded 166 Pennsylvania community college graduates a bachelor's degree in the 2018-2019 academic year. With the articulation agreement and tuition reduction being offered by SNHU to community college graduates, the pathway to a baccalaureate degree will be more seamless and affordable than nearly every other public option in Pennsylvania, depending on a student's program of study and credit load.
The negotiation of this agreement with SNHU demonstrates the commitment of Pennsylvania's community colleges to be efficient, innovative and responsive to the needs of the Commonwealth, its communities, our students, and employers. The Commission and its member colleges will continue to seek additional opportunities to ensure that Pennsylvania can achieve its attainment goal of 60 percent of Pennsylvanians aged 25-64 with a postsecondary degree or industry recognized credential by 2025, with a focus on closing attainment gaps for historically underrepresented populations.