The lack of adult education and workforce training opportunities in Corry prompted the community to incorporate the nonprofit Corry Higher Education Council on May 31, 1991.
Our Mission Statement says it all:
“The Corry Higher Education Council promotes lifelong learning to empower individuals, produce a globally competitive workforce and enhance the community’s quality of life.”
That may take the form of the Hi-Ed creating and running its own programming, such as our computer training, personal enrichment offerings, or our Corry Regional Leadership program. We also directly provide such workforce offerings as welding, machining and Pennsylvania vehicle inspection license classes through a building-use partnership with Corry Area High School’s Career & Technology Center.
Or, we may collaborate with other education and training schools and organizations, such as Mercyhurst University, the Manufacturer & Business Association, or the Northwest Tri-County Intermediate Unit, to offer their programming.
The Corry Hi-Ed was the second “Community Education Council” to be formed in Pennsylvania, after the Warren-Forest Higher Education Council in 1984. We are now one of nine “CECs” that serve largely rural areas of the state.
The CECs are funded through a state budget line item, but the Corry Hi-Ed is also extremely fortunate to have the financial support of our local manufacturers and other businesses, as well as local charitable foundations – the Arlene H. Smith Charitable Foundation, the Corry Community Foundation, and the David Nichols/Corry Savings Bank Trust of the Northwest Bancorp Charitable Foundation.
This support has allowed us to transform the former “Hotel Corry” into the “Bruce and Arlene Smith Education Center.” This historic building opened in 1924 and served the community as a hotel until the Corry Higher Education Council purchased it in 1991. The ensuing years have seen this cornerstone downtown building preserved and transformed into a vibrant facility that includes classrooms, computer labs and office space. It truly is a place that adult students can call “home.”
Incorporated by John “Chip” Colwell, Paul “Hoop” Roche Jr. and the late Michael Allyn, born out of community need and supported by the community, the Corry Higher Education Council is a true grass-roots success story!
The Education Council celebrated 25 years in 2016 with a gathering of supporters. Check it out!