Phoenixville residents looking for a close to home educational opportunity can now take advantage of the resources of Delaware County Community College (DCCC) in the borough. DCCC’s newest branch campus has opened at the Technical College High School, Pickering Campus at 1580 Charlestown Road in Phoenixville, and the college is currently registering students for its inaugural semester which begins in September.
The first semester begins on Sept. 3 and will offer late afternoon and evening classes held Mondays through Thursdays for credit and non-credit/certification courses. The campus is currently open for walk-in advising and registration Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., now through Aug. 28, and then from 10 a. m - 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, starting September 3.
“The college is very excited to be partnering with the Technical College High School because they have been so accommodating with making the facilities available,” said Mary Jo Boyer, Vice Provost and Vice President, Branch Campus Operations for DCCC, during a recent walkthrough of the new campus with the Phoenix Reporter & Item.
The agreement between the Technical College High School and DCCC allows for the college to have access to a several rooms at the campus, as well as parking, and a separate DCCC entrance is currently under construction.
Boyer said that the Phoenixville campus is starting with “five or six classrooms” with room for expansion readily available. One of the rooms will be a student lounge with several computers and a printer, where students can mingle and forge a sense of community.
In terms of staff, the campus will have its own educational advisor and administrators on hand, and can also set students up for onsite appointments for things such as financial aid assistance.
Boyer said that opening this campus is the fulfillment of a goal that the college has had for quite some time.
“We have wanted to have a have a campus in the northern part of the county for five to ten years,” she explained. “This is our eighth branch campus between Chester and Delaware counties - our president (Jerome S. Parker) has been committed to this, the Board of Trustees has been committed to this, so we are raring to go!”
According to Boyer, DCCC met with Phoenixville business leaders, educators and community members prior to opening the new campus to gain a strong understanding of what courses to offer.
“We held sessions where we asked (members of the community) ‘If we come, what do you want?’”
A need which quickly became evident was short term certificate programs.
“One of the things we are offering uniquely here are dialysis technician courses. In our survey we found that there are 22 businesses in the area that do dialysis, so that it itself is a great short term certificate program.
“We also have a (certification) course in phlebotomy (also known as venipuncture),” Boyer said. “Venipuncture is a skill that very much in demand… ... it is a great job for parents that have children at home and cannot work 40 hours a week and want to supplementary income, or have it as a secondary job.”
DCCC also received a grant for a computer lab at the new campus, and courses will be offered to teach students how to create mobile applications.
“We have heard from the community that (apps) are something that young adults are really interested in doing,” she said as she opened the door to the campus’ computer lab, which is home to over a dozen new Macintosh computers.
Additionally available are the core liberal arts courses which are needed for students to attain an associate degree.
For now, the main challenge to DCCC in Phoenixville is visibility and marketing.
“We know it is going to take a while for people to know that we are here,” said Boyer. “We had eight students at a First Friday event and they went up and down the street with water bottles and some materials with our logo and our website on it. We try to do different things to let the community know that we came, we listened and now we are here to serve their needs.”
Going forward, the college will continue to network with the community and host information sessions for parents and students to keep up to date on what courses are the best to bring to Phoenixville.
“Every one of our campuses has a personality that is reflective of the community. We really want to see what this community needs and wants and we will be here to deliver it – community colleges have the flexibility that they can put a program in in a very short period of time.”
To find out more about DCCC in Phoenixville, including a list of available courses, visit www.DCCC.edu and click on New Phoenixville Campus in the banner near the top of the page.