Higher Education

When it comes to getting an excellent education, students have access to rewarding courses right at their fingertips – literally.

While colleges and universities throughout the Pittsburgh North region offer state-of-the-art campuses and in-person lectures, online education continues to expand.

Grand Canyon University offers an affordable, private education online for those balancing their already busy lives and earning a degree. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees online in a wide range of areas, such as engineering and technology, nursing, communication and business administration.

Butler County Community College is a regional community college with six locations, including BC3 Main Campus in Butler, BC3 @ Cranberry in Cranberry Township, BC3 @ Lawrence Crossing in New Castle, BC3 @ LindenPointe in Hermitage, BC3 @ Brockway in Brockway and BC3 @ Armstrong in Ford City. The college also offers an impressive lineup of online classes too. BC3 Online uses the school’s Learning Management System and other web-based applications for instruction, interaction and assessments for online offerings.

California University of Pennsylvania’s global campus gives students the power to earn their degree on their own timeframe. Online offerings include certificates/licensures, master’s, associate and bachelor’s in applied mathematics, business administration, conflict resolution, homeland security and nursing education.

Chatham University’s online, evening and weekend courses meet students on-the-go right where they are on their journey. Programs through the School of Continuing & Professional Studies include nursing, health sciences, business/communication and creative/design arts.

The Community College of Allegheny County’s online learning program enables students to fit education into their schedules. Online degrees include social science, accounting, cybersecurity, software development and women’s studies.

Community College of Beaver County offers online training, where individuals can choose from more than 250 courses. These classes include accounting, business, computers, health care, self help and teaching/education. Courses are equipped with a knowledgeable instructor.

La Roche University provides online programs for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as individual online course offerings. A few of the areas of concentration include nursing education, medical imaging, criminal justice and economics.

Through Slippery Rock University’s online learning opportunities, a busy lifestyle doesn’t mean there isn’t time for earning a degree. Degree programs include leadership studies, management, nursing, special education and history.

Westminster College has been recognized for its online graduate education programs by U.S. News & World Report. Programs include education and clinical mental health counseling. There are some online offerings for undergraduates as well.

Keeping students in mind, the Pittsburgh North Regional Chamber offers student memberships, allowing these up-and-coming professionals to build contacts and make connections within the field they are interested in pursuing after graduation. n

Generation Next
Area Schools Start Workforce Development Eefforts at a Young Age

While area schools may educate students in different ways, they have one central message: Help students start thinking about careers at a young age. From bringing tools and STEM projects to middle schools to collaborating with area high schoolers on hands-on projects, there are many initiatives happening to build a successful workforce.

From sophomores to seniors

A.W. Beattie Career Center welcomed a record 800 students in their 10th-12th-grade programs for the 2018-2019 school year. Students can apply for the Center’s programs, which are offered on a half-day basis after a student completes their academic coursework for the other half-day.

“Our students are able to leave with a number of introductory skills and certifications,” said Eric Heasley, executive director at A. W. Beattie Career Center. “This provides them a direct opportunity to work for an employer right out of high school.”

Popular programs at the school include their HVAC program as well as new veterinary sciences and sports medicine offerings.

Prepared for tomorrow

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School or PA Cyber is a school that serves children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Some of the unique programs PA Cyber offers include a MakeIt Academy, which are workshops designed to build skills in robotics, coding, software, crafts and 3-D printing. For the 2018-2019 school year, the school welcomed seven college and career teachers who work with students of all ages about careers.

“When our students go to college or the workforce, they reflect that their online education required a certain level of discipline and self-motivation,” said Brian Hayden, PA Cyber CEO. “Many students feel through their online education, they’ve been able to motivate and organize themselves effectively.”

Partnerships build portfolios

In spring 2018, Community College of Allegheny County opened its Innovation Lab where community professionals can present project-based learning initiatives. The students are then invited to work on the projects to advance their learning in fields such as data analytics, cybersecurity, simulation, gaming and business.

“This model benefits both industry and students by allowing industry free assistance in completing projects while students become career-prepared with the opportunity to develop their portfolios,” said Dr. Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, the college’s campus president.

Meeting industry needs

Process Technology is a highly specialized program offered at the Community College of Beaver County that has businesses and students energized about future work opportunities. The college is the only one in the region that uses guidelines from the North American Process Technology Alliance to help students train in this STEM-based career that has applications in chemical, petrochemical, steel, pharmaceutical, and related industries.

“I think it’s key to put industry at the center of everything we do,” said John Goberish, dean of workforce and continuing education at Community College of Beaver County. “We’re out there connecting with industry partners in how we can train not only our existing workforce to keep skills up to date, but also the next generation of workers.”