The Community College of Allegheny County provides a supportive and transformative learning environment that prepares graduates to meet critical needs in the region’s workforce.
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Foundation is the fundraising and benefactor arm of the college. It seeks to
create vital connections between the college and the wider community
to ensure the ongoing viability of the college.
03-12-2010 -- CCAC study identifies emerging careers in region
PITTSBURGH-A study commissioned by the Community College of
Allegheny County (CCAC) spotlights industries that are expected to
show the greatest growth in Greater Pittsburgh in the years to
come. The study, conducted by the Hill Group of Carnegie,
identified "Nexus Industries" that combine high-growth fields with
information technology and manufacturing.
"This study provides a window on the future of Pittsburgh's
workforce," said CCAC President Alex Johnson, PhD. "CCAC continues
to be proactive in seeking out future opportunities and opening
them for our students."
The project arose as part of the mission of the CCAC-Allegheny
County Workforce Alliance to strengthen workforce development
initiatives in the Pittsburgh region. The Heinz Endowments has
generously provided support for workforce development initiatives
of the Workforce Alliance.
The Hill Group conducted both qualitative and quantitative
research to identify, evaluate, confirm and examine high-growth and
emerging industries as well as the skill sets they will require.
The three industries identified in the study-healthcare and life
sciences; energy; and financial services and insurance-were seen to
have the most potential growth and economic impact, especially as
they connected with the information technology and manufacturing
While all three are expected to grow, the study found that the
employment outlook was best in the energy and healthcare fields.
Energy is expected to grow most quickly, while healthcare is
forecasted to generate the greatest number of new jobs. Growth in
financial services, the study concluded, is likely to recover lost
employment during the economic downturn and will not require
significantly more workers.
The Nexus concept means that employers will be looking for
workers with skills straddling two worlds. They must be familiar
with the terms, concepts and operations of the high-growth industry
but also skilled in aspects of information technology or
manufacturing. For example, as electronic medical records expand, a
medical practice will need employees who understand medical terms
and how the healthcare field operates but are also able to
configure a server or program a database.
Employers also said that "soft skills"-critical thinking, the
ability to learn quickly and work well with others-and work
experience were also important in employees' success. This means
that those looking to enter a second career may have an edge over
people fresh to the job market.
This kind of hybrid training is becoming increasingly necessary.
Someone with experience in manufacturing, for example, may want to
return to school for training in energy-related jobs to be able to
work where the two fields merge. Someone who has experience in
healthcare could train in information technology to fill those
"The study brings to light the acute need for training programs
that prepare students with skills and competencies beyond
traditionally defined occupation requirements," said Chris W.
Brussalis, Hill Group CEO and Carnegie Mellon Heinz School
professor. "These high-growth, Nexus industries will need workers
with a blending of skills that bring both industry-specific
knowledge and competency in information technology or
manufacturing. Students trained with this "liaison skill set"
will not only bring best practices to their companies, but will be
more efficient and effective problem solvers and better equipped to
meet the demands of today's firms and those of tomorrow."
CCAC already plays a key role as a connector between industry
and workers, and it will continue to do so in these emerging
fields. Many of the programs that can prepare individuals for the
identified emerging industries are already in place. Through the
Workforce Alliance, the college will continue to work with
employers and organized labor to identify other training
opportunities in the Nexus Industries.
"It's important that people realize that these careers will
require an interdisciplinary approach," said Charles Blocksidge,
PhD, executive director of the Workforce Alliance. "Focusing on
just one field is not enough. Fortunately, CCAC offers a wide
variety of options for students to build their skills in these
About CCACThe Community College of Allegheny County is the largest
institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The
college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and
certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning
non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students
annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed
to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach
through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered
via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four
campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding
communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide
affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse
and supportive learning environment that prepares the region's
residents for academic, professional and personal success in our
changing global society.