Community college group partners with The Improved Milton Experience

·3 min read

Aug. 26—MILTON — A new partnership between the Susquehanna Valley Community Education Project and The Improved Milton Experience (TIME) was announced on Wednesday at the public meeting of the Milton Borough Council.

TIME President Amanda Craig Bradley appeared with TIME Executive Director George Venios and the project's President Meghan Beck and Executive Director Dr. Lenaire Ahlum to present the partnership launch of public community classes at the Milton Makerspace at the Miltonian, 139 S. Front St., Milton. The project is working toward the presence of a community college in the Valley.

"It's a partnership at first we didn't think would honestly happen," said Bradley. "We knew we would need a lot of help. They have been really awesome."

The project announced in May a partnership with Marywood University, of Scranton, that would allow accreditation on day one. Marywood, a private university based in Scranton, was founded in 1915 by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

A makerspace is a place where youth can explore technology, music, gaming, industrial and culinary arts.

Community education classes at the makerspace will provide opportunities for the local residents to learn how to use 3D printers, CNC engravers, Cricut and other types of equipment in short mini courses. These non-credit classes introduce learners on a small scale to innovative technology used to manufacture products and can propel learners to enroll in credit-bearing community college courses that culminate in associates degrees and living wage gainful employment, according to Ahlum.

The project and TIME are jointly applying for a Manufacturing PA Training to Career Grant of $200,000 through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. Funds would go to a scholarship program, equipment, instruction, marketing, and recruiting. Together, they are also applying for a PPL major grant that will expand MakerSpaces in Northumberland County.

The project and the Milton Makerspace will offer the following mini-course modules: manufacturing technology, culinary arts, and graphic arts, according to Jesse Newcomer, who serves on the project's Board of Directors and as the Program Director for TIME. This is a pilot project with plans to expand makerspace programming across the Susquehanna Valley. The public can register for mini classes at the newcommunitycollege.org website or call or text 570-898-4334.

Bradley said TIME will present the space and equipment needed for learning at the location. The project will provide instructors, curriculum and courses that will be taken at TIME's multiple locations.

The goal is to start classes by September. They will evaluate in November, calculate costs and plan for January 2022, she said.

The borough council members were impressed with the presentation.

"It sounds exciting," said Councilwoman Linda Meckley.

Board President Jamie Walker said he was invited to listen to the presentation at another meeting.

"I was pretty blown away with all the stuff going on in our community," he said. "I said before, I wished the community college would have an impact on our borough. This is the way I believe they will have an impact on our borough."

The goal is to establish the college in Sunbury by 2024.

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