Special to The Collegian

(Elyria, OH, April 18, 2019) The Lorain County Community District Board of Trustees adopted the College’s new strategic plan that declares a bold goal of 10,000 individuals earning a degree or certificate by 2025. The plan outlines five focus areas that will enable the College to reach this goal – Students, Success, Future, Work, and Community.

LCCC President Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D., (third left) with students at the event. Submitted photo

“We are in a talent-driven economy.  With 65% of all jobs by the year 2025 requiring education beyond high school, raising educational attainment is critical for individuals and for companies in our community,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D.  “Higher education and training provide individuals with greater opportunities to access and succeed in jobs with higher wages.  Additionally, employers are clamoring for skilled talent to grow their businesses.  This plan addresses both of these in a big way.”

The College’s strategic planning process officially launched last fall at the District Board of Trustees meeting held at El Centro in Lorain. That meeting kicked off a comprehensive community engagement process designed to determine the best path forward for the College and the community. Over the course of nine months, more than 1,700 individuals participated in 80 sessions and offered critical input regarding the current state of the college and the community and generated ideas as to how to achieve a successful future. 

The College’s planning process culminated with the formation of a Vision Network, comprised of 130 dedicated community and campus leaders, who attended four structured meetings held between February and April and carefully reviewed the input gathered during the previous seven months as well as mega-trends impacting the future.  The result of these sessions was the creation of a shared vision for the community – one of a vibrant future with opportunities for everyone and where Lorain County becomes a destination of choice for individuals, families and businesses. 

LCCC’s strategic plan for 2025, 10,000 Degrees of Impact, is the College’s plan of action to do its part in leading to that vibrant community for all.  In addition to declaring the 10,000 degrees of impact, the new strategic plan offers a roadmap to impact individuals, families, the economy, and the community all anchored in expanding accessibility, affordability, and flexibility of higher education. 

To deliver on the goal, LCCC’s first area of focus is on students – both direct from high school and working age adults. Over 80,000 working age adults (25-64) in Lorain County have only a high school diploma or some college/no credential.  To meet the talent needs of the economy and help adults access and succeed in new in-demand jobs and industries such as information technology, biomedical, advanced manufacturing and the creative economy, the plan calls for developing new short-term and degree programs that are aligned to the changing economy in a way that meets the complex lives of working age adults.  This includes greater accessibility through online offerings, expanding time and place delivery, expanding career and job placement services and more.  Additionally, the College plans to expand the success of its

College Credit Plus program as a way to prepare the next generation and reduce college debt. In

2018, 43% of all high school graduates earned college credit before completing high school, saving families $5.5 million in college costs with guaranteed transfer for courses to LCCC and other Ohio public colleges and universities.  The plan calls for working with K-12 partners to expand this program and help students succeed on clear college and career paths after high school graduation.

 “Achieving these 10,000 Degrees of Impact is critical to the success of our region. Ten thousand degrees is an ambitious goal, and I believe we can help our residents achieve these degrees and credentials by providing the support needed to address common barriers people face when pursuing higher education,” said Ben Fligner, chairman of the LCCC District Board of Trustees. 

The adoption of the strategic plan follows a declaration made by the Lorain County Commissioners earlier this month when they announced April will be forever recognized as “Lorain County Community College Month” in Lorain County as a way to localize the celebration of National Community College month and highlight the important contributions LCCC makes to the community and the region.  Additionally, other communities across Lorain County are also participating in the celebration with proclamations of support from 11 other communities.