Chris Gray, Ph.D. l Founding President, Erie County Community College of Pennsylvania
I celebrated a birthday earlier this month, and is increasingly wont to happen each year, I spent some time reflecting on that which has come before. I’m of an age where I can clearly remember a time before computers. In those days, we got our information from the local library, which featured a set of World Book encyclopedias, stacks of magazines and books, and the infamous card catalog. Finding what we needed took time and a lot of work, and we got most of our information from physical books after a lot of searching.
We certainly didn’t have a computer in our house when I was a child; that was an expense that my parents’ salaries simply couldn’t bear, so my brother and I were limited in our computer exposure to the few Apple IIe machines at our elementary school. This was in the olden days of 5 ¼” floppy disks, monochrome monitors whose letters glowed an extraterrestrial green hue, and a learning game called Oregon Trail. Side note: if you’re my age and remember fondly the days setting off in your digital covered wagon only to die of starvation somewhere in Wyoming, I’m pleased to tell you that you can now play the original game online, and I finally made it to Oregon safely – having lost all my supplies and my family members along the way. It was a fun activity that we engaged in once a week, and it was a sort of break from the real business of learning. Computers were fun, not necessary back in those days. But I digress, and times have obviously changed.
As my regular readers know, I get super excited every time we find a new way to serve our students and Erie County more broadly. That has been and will continue to be my personal focus, and I firmly believe that it’s our duty as an institution to keep our constituents at the forefront of our mind when making all programmatic decisions. To that end, I’m pleased to announce two new programs within our Information Technology department: Mobile App Development and Programming. These programs will feature both a certificate option as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree option, and both will launch in Fall 2022.
Launching these programs during our second year of operations is a tremendous feather in EC3PA’s cap because we are directly addressing the specific demands of our current labor market once again. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent increased reliance on the virtual world, Information Technology careers, a current cornerstone of modern life, have reached an unparalleled importance. As we continue to watch the pandemic recede, hopefully, we are nonetheless living in a vastly different world that needs the kinds of technologically skilled workers that our IT careers are poised to provide. This is our mission.