PLATTSBURGH - Clinton Community College continues to work hard to provide more educational opportunities for its students, which is one of the reasons why John E. Jablonski is glad to serve as the college's president.
Having only been in office since June 1, Jablonski said he has already come to learn how valued Clinton Community College is to the people of the North Country. The two-year college has become well-known for providing courses relevant and current to today's and tomorrow's career fields, such as Wind Energy and Turbine Technology and Environmental Studies, among others.
"We're not only trying to be reactive to what's going on in the economy currently, we're trying to think into the future and try to be proactive as we can," said Jablonski. "We're really looking to educate people in a way that serves them well, well into the future."
In a recent survey of the majority of area high schools, it appears students are taking notice. Nearly 40 percent of graduating high school students plan to matriculate to Clinton Community College. In addition, enrollment for the 2009-10 school year for Clinton Community College was up 13 percent.
"That's outstanding," said Jablonski, who noted the college traditionally sees an annual increase of enrollment by two to three percent.
Historically, there's been a stigma in some circles that community colleges aren't able to offer what other four-year universities can, said Jablonski. However, that misconception has been proven wrong by the college's own increase in enrollment and with the thousands of students who graduate each year from community colleges, he said.
"If anybody were to come up to me and say community colleges are second-rate, I'd have a whole pocketful of stories to tell them that would be contrary to their belief," he said.
Jablonski speaks from experience, having graduated with an associate's degree in engineering science from Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown. He was then able to transfer to Union College in Schenectady to obtain his bachelor's degree - with highest honors - from the four-year school. Though he could have attended all four years at Union College, choosing the less expensive path that started with community college was what he considered to be the way to go and, ultimately, one that made him who he is today.
"I tell this not to brag about myself," said Jablonski, "but to brag about community colleges ... and how community colleges have demonstrated time and time again that we are quality institutions in higher education."
Clinton Community College offers students the ability to take advantage of its "2+2 Program," which encourages them to transfer to a four-year school within the SUNY system, just as Jablonski did. The agreements Clinton Community College has with institutions like SUNY Plattsburgh ensure students may begin any of a vast number of programs at Clinton and then transfer to a four-year school to complete bachelor's degree work in their chosen field of study.
"It gives [students] great peace of mind to know they can start here at Clinton Community College, get their associate's degree and then transfer seamlessly to Plattsburgh State University," he said.
Those wishing to enter the workforce after obtaining their two-year degree have also found great success, said Jablonski.
Whatever path a student chooses or the reason a student chooses to attend Clinton Community College, Jablonski said he knows one thing to be true.
"There's a reputation here, and I think a very well-deserved reputation, that this is an institution of academic quality and integrity," said Jablonski. "The courses and programs here are first-rate, and, as far as I can tell, they always have been. That's a real advantage to anybody coming to this college."
Registration for winter semester courses will begin in November. Classes start Jan. 4.
For more information about enrollment, contact college's admissions office at 562-4170 or 1-800-552-1160.
More information may be found on-line at www.clinton.edu.