Friday, July 30, 2010

Peirce College partners with the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University to support parents of the City’s schoolchildren

We are pleased to share the news that Peirce College has been selected by the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University to provide a General Studies degree program for parents of Philadelphia’s schoolchildren.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Peirce to contribute to the City of Philadelphia’s education initiative, with the goal of increasing the number of residents going to college and overall access to education, particularly for working adult learners. We are proud to be the first institution of higher learning selected to partner with Parent University.

A full news release detailing the partnership is included below. It was also distributed on Business Wire. We look forward to supporting the City’s educational goals through this new program.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Finding and keeping a job

Hi, everyone. I’m Jasmine, a Career Development Services (CDS) intern. Part of my internship is to find topics to share with you on the blog, so that is why I’m starting with this post today!

Being at Peirce has made me think about my future and what I should do to remain competitive in the workplace. I think securing this internship through the Philadelphia Youth Network's WorkReady Philadelphia program and Peirce is a good first step.

But there are so many more I will need to take to have my resume and experience rise above that of others. As we know, our economy has substantially changed over the past year or so which has profoundly impacted the job market. Many people are currently unemployed and are looking for jobs, but during these tough economic times it is not very easy.

Those who are employed hope to be able to keep their jobs and be successful for the rest of their career. And those who, despite their experience and best efforts, remain unemployed are trying to figure out what they can do to enhance their chances of finding a job. If you are unemployed, have you ever wondered what it takes to find a job that best suits you? Have you thought about the steps required to make a good impression during an interview?

What about weighing your skill sets against the competencies required for the jobs you are going after? Or have you taken a career assessment to better understand your strengths, personality type, and interests? If you are employed, has it ever crossed your mind that there are certain things you can and should do to enhance your chances of keeping your job and being even more successful at it?

I know it’s a lot to think about but the more I learn about professional development through the Peirce Career Development Services team, the more I realize just what goes in to both finding and keeping a job.

I know you are busy working and managing so many other parts of your life, so I thought I’d help a little by sharing a great Wall Street Journal article I recently read. In the article, Joann S. Lublin outlines a few ways to help you enhance your job search. No matter where you are in your education or career, I encourage you to read the full article. It gave me great tips for my Peirce internship. I hope it helps you too!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Opening our doors to, and for, Philadelphia’s young people: Meet the summer interns

There are two new faces you may be seeing or hearing from this summer, so I’d like to formally introduce them and tell you a little bit about what they’re doing at Peirce. Meet Norman Wallace and Jasmine Nicole Ross, our summer interns.

Norman, a rising senior at South Philadelphia High School, is working in our IT Department where he will shadow technicians and work on everything from support calls and troubleshooting to operating system installations and application development. This opportunity will provide him with hands-on experience that is hard to find in the IT field.

Today, it is not uncommon for work experience, education and certifications to be expected of all candidates. Many companies look for IT interns who already have a number of IT or technology courses under their belt, which makes it difficult for young students to meet the requirements needed to even be considered for their first internship.

That’s why we felt that opening our doors to a student who’s just getting started was important. Hopefully his experience will set him apart from his peers and open doors down the road. You can contact Norman via e-mail.

Jasmine is a rising sophomore at Central High School and is working in the Career Development Services (CDS) Department. Jasmine is still considering a number of different paths for her future, but the bottom line is she knows she needs real-world experience.

One of her major responsibilities will be researching different career-related articles to find topics of interest, both from her perspective and that of our students, to share here on Peirce Connections. Jasmine also has a Peirce e-mail address where you can contact her.

Both Norman and Jasmine came to us through WorkReady Philadelphia, a program administered by the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN), which is one of the organizations that Mayor Nutter works with in his education initiatives. As we’ve talked about in the past, Peirce is fully committed to Mayor Nutter’s educational goals for the City. So when he was looking for colleges and universities to open their doors to young people with internship opportunities, we felt it was a great chance to take action.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Video compilation from 2010 Commencement ceremony

Please join me once again in congratulating the Peirce College Class of 2010.

A webcast of the 2010 Commencement ceremony is now available for viewing on the Peirce website. Please visit the Alumni page to enjoy the presentation. In addition, our roving camera caught many of our excited grads as they shared their pride and accomplishments. Watch the highlight reel below to share in their joy!

Again, congratulations to all of our 2010 graduates and thank you for choosing Peirce College to fulfill your educational goals.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Remembering Frederick M. Price

A prominent Peirce alumnus and trustee, Frederick M. Price '64, passed away recently. Trustee Renee Branch '90, my wife Debbie, and I had the privilege of attending the service honoring him at the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church in Washington, D.C. The following is the text of a tribute I paid to Fred from the pulpit as part of the program that day:
My name is Jim Mergiotti and I have the honor of representing Peirce College, one of Fred's alma maters … actually his best alma mater.

On behalf of the entire Peirce College community I offer heartfelt condolences today to Fred's family and friends.

Fred graduated from Peirce in 1964, served on its alumni board in the 1970s, and held a position on its board of trustees since 1999. He was chairman of the College's Institutional Advancement Committee and a member of its Executive Committee.

Fred always said that his Peirce education gave him the basics he needed to earn a living and make a social contribution. He always referred fondly to his first professional job at Auerbach Associates, where he was placed by Peirce while still a student and remained for several years after he graduated. 
Fred truly loved Peirce and Peirce loved him back. He represented the College so well, both as an alumnus and trustee. He made the College community extremely proud. He not only did so with his extraordinarily successful business career, but, most importantly, with his leadership in professional organizations and in public service.

Those of us who had the opportunity to work closely with Fred for many years in support of Peirce's mission admired him greatly. We knew him as a man of great insight and intelligence who was always thoughtful, warm, and caring. The word I most often heard from members of the Peirce community when describing Fred was "classy." And he sure was. Everything he did, he did smartly, and with dignity and style. He was an exceptional board member who truly understood and exercised good stewardship in his role.
Peirce could not have been more fortunate than to have Fred Price as an alumnus, trustee, and friend. He was very grateful for his Peirce experience and very generous with his time, talent, and treasure. His contributions will continue to have a very positive impact on Peirce students for many years to come. Today, as we pay tribute to him and celebrate his life, we are reminded of and thankful for his leadership, wisdom, and counsel. There is no better legacy than the one he left at Peirce. His life made the lives of others better.
Hundreds of people attended Fred's service and many, in their reflections, spoke of the positive effect he had on them. He touched many lives through his professional life, community, and church affiliations. He will always be remembered fondly by those of us who knew him and worked closely with him. Fred Price was a true friend and a great human being.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Promises, progress, and priorities in Philadelphia public schools

I had the privilege of attending a briefing for local education stakeholders held by Mayor Nutter and Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. Arlene Ackerman. The purpose of the meeting was to learn about the significant gains in student achievement and other signs of progress being made in the Philadelphia Public School System.

Mayor Nutter was very clear in his opening remarks, saying that he has been dissatisfied with the failure of the media to accurately and thoroughly present the facts about the school district's performance.

Since he established the hefty goals of halving the city's student dropout rate and doubling its college degree attainment rate as part of his platform, he indicated that he is very engaged in the school district's direction and performance. The mayor showed great leadership in calling this session to set the record straight with hard facts about the district's progress, and showed strong support for Dr. Ackerman.

He was extremely clear about the facts. The six-year graduation rate is now 60 percent. This year, more than 50 percent of the students in the system scored at the proficient level or above in their PSSA testing for the first time. The mayor said emphatically that the school district's performance is improving significantly but there is still work to do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Peirce alumni on the scene in Philadelphia: Meet Robin Yvette Riddick

Peirce College is deeply involved in the Philadelphia community, and our alumni continue that tradition as they pursue other ambitions. One such alumna is Robin Yvette Riddick, a graduate of the class of 1999 who earned her associate degree in Paralegal Studies. Today Robin works for the Defender Association of Philadelphia, and she recently started the Philly’s Ladies and Gentlemen Socialite Cocktail Club.

Robin founded the club with the goal of providing professional women with a source of networking and fun, a way to build their careers, expand relationships, and find both social and educational opportunities with like-minded career women. The club has since expanded to include men as well. Robin is always on the lookout for other groups with similar interests or organizations that host events for her club to get involved in, whether it is social gatherings or workshops to build professional skills.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Engaging Peirce alumni and advancing the mission of the College

Since joining Peirce College as the Vice President of Institutional Advancement in April of this year, every day has reinforced my first impression of Peirce: it’s an institution that is headed for new heights.

President Mergiotti’s leadership is taking the College in an amazing direction. We’re on the cutting edge of doing great things for the community we serve, especially for Philadelphia’s working adult students. I have been presented with a wonderful opportunity to rejuvenate the Institutional Advancement program, and I’m excited for the potential that lies ahead.

You’re probably wondering what exactly “Institutional Advancement” means. I think the name says it all -- we are aiming to advance the mission of the College by engaging our alumni, creating a culture of giving, and improving upon resources that will ultimately help our students succeed.

My role is to oversee a few major initiatives that fall under the Institutional Advancement umbrella. These include:
1) Alumni relations
2) Fundraising
3) Community and government relations

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peirce College 2010 Commencement Award Winners

Meet the 2010 graduates who accepted awards during Peirce College’s 145th Commencement on Monday, June 14, 2010 at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.

All of these students have excelled and achieved great success in their educational endeavors. They are leaving Peirce with impressive distinctions and we are very proud to call them Peirce graduates! Congratulations to all of our award recipients!

Stay tuned for more video footage from our 2010 Commencement to follow this summer!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mayor’s City of Philadelphia Scholarship Program awards two scholarships provided by Peirce College

I am excited to share with you all that Mayor Nutter’s office has announced the Mayor’s City of Philadelphia Scholarship Program, to which Peirce College provided two full-tuition scholarships to a City employee and a Philadelphia resident. Visit the City of Philadelphia website to learn more about the program and this year’s scholarship recipients -- City employee Phyllis Chase and Philadelphia resident Gregory Harris.

As I have discussed in previous posts, all who have pursued a degree know that one of the hardest parts of continuing your education is finding the money to do it. These scholarship programs are an integral part of the process as they make higher education a possibility for many Americans today.

Peirce College is dedicated to the Mayor’s programs and efforts to help educate Philadelphia residents. Whether it’s through supporting the launch of the City’s PhillyGoes2College initiative, partnering with city programs such as Graduate! Philadelphia, or offering scholarships and financial aid, Peirce is always looking for ways to do our part to makes education accessible to any Philadelphian who wants to earn their degree.

We are honored to be partnering with the Mayor’s office yet again through this scholarship program. Mayor Nutter’s goal of greater degree attainment in Philadelphia is something that Peirce stands behind one hundred percent. We hope to facilitate his goals to educate the city by providing tuition resources that will help more Philadelphia residents go back to school. The Mayor’s City of Philadelphia Scholarship Program will open doors for Philadelphia residents to earn their degree here and then stay and become future leaders of our city.

As Mayor Nutter states in the announcement, “Better educated workers are an asset to developing our workforce talent while strengthening the Philadelphia region’s competitiveness and prospects for economic recovery.”

It all starts here, in the classrooms (including online!) of Philadelphia’s institutes of higher education. All of us at Peirce College are proud to be a part of educating Philadelphia.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What is a college education worth to you?

My colleague Eileen Snyder, Supervisor, Retention, recently shared an interesting post that she came across on The New York Times Economix blog. It’s called, “The Value of Education in a Recession.” Despite the fact that it was published in 2009, I believe its message still holds true today, so I wanted to share it with you here.

David Leonhardt’s post makes some important points that are relevant to students who are considering whether going back to school is worth it, especially in the face of climbing costs of education and a challenging economic environment. However, it might be that this “great recession” will show us exactly how valuable an education can be. As Leonhardt puts it, “On a relative basis, a college education has never been more valuable.”

Leonhardt references a Wall Street Journal article that examines how college-educated individuals have fared in the recession as compared to their less-educated counterparts. Jobless and unemployment rates as well as the pay gap all point to one thing -- an education is still a valuable asset! I’ll leave you with this thought from Leonhardt:
“Four-year-college graduates made 54 percent more, on average, than people who attended college but did not graduate. Fifty-four percent!”
Click over to the post to read it in its entirety. What do you think about the long term value in obtaining a degree?