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Mercyhurst adds four new programs at Booker T. Washington Center

Monday, June 2, 2014

Building on the success of its urban education initiative at the Booker T. Washington Center (BTWC), Mercyhurst University announces the addition of four new programs, all geared toward making a college education accessible and affordable. 

The new offerings include three certificate programs: early childhood education, retail management and medical assistant, which can be completed in as little as nine months; as well as a low-cost college prep program presented in partnership with the Greater Erie Community Action Committee (GECAC).  Mercyhurst currently offers a variety of classes at BTWC, including two associate degree programs: one in liberal arts and the other in business management.

Since 2010, Mercyhurst University has been educating students at the Booker T. Washington Center. Enrollment has grown from 13 students to more than 60, with the center graduating its inaugural class in early May. Students enrolled at BTWC attend at a reduced rate and are eligible for federal, state and institutional grants, as well as federal loans.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished by taking a Mercyhurst education into this center-city eastside neighborhood,” said Mercyhurst University President Tom Gamble, Ph.D. “By keeping programs affordable and creating job-focused certificates, we hope to optimize opportunities for our citizens to further their education and to achieve gainful employment, all of which serves to strengthen neighborhoods and build community.”

The 12-credit certificate program in early childhood education prepares students for positions in childcare while forging a seamless transition into Mercyhurst’s associate- and bachelor’s-degree programs in early childhood education for those who elect to continue their college careers.

The 30-credit retail management certificate is designed to give graduates an edge in the robust retail job market without committing to the cost and time of an associate degree program.

“Applicants for retail jobs are in high demand in Erie County,” said Travis Lindahl, associate vice president of enrollment for Mercyhurst’s McAuley College of Associate Degree Studies, which encompasses BTWC. “This certificate, which culminates in the successful completion of the National Professional Certification in Retail Management exam, will help our graduates stand out to employers.” The courses will also enable BTWC students pursuing their associate degree in business management to add a retail management concentration to their major.

Finally, to help promote entry into allied health careers, Mercyhurst is offering a medical assistant certificate at BTWC. Upon successful completion, students may elect to enter the job market immediately or apply to the university’s practical nursing program or registered nursing program.

As students pursue their studies at BTWC, they receive support services, including access to Mercyhurst networked computer labs, academic support and career services. Students may also take advantage of services and events at Mercyhurst’s Erie campus.

The three new certificate programs will begin in the fall, while the new college-prep program is slated to start June 23. The latter is intended to improve the skills necessary for success in college, among them reading, writing, math and science as well as soft skills like time management and interpersonal communication.

Prospective students include recent high school graduates preparing for their first college semester as well as students who have been out of school for an extended period of time and want to refresh their academic skills. 

For more information or to enroll in any of the new or existing programs at BTWC, contact John Parente Jr., D.Ed., director of services at BTWC, jparente@mercyhurst.edu. You can also call or text him at 470-333-BTWC.