Cristy Plas, 30, of LaGrange, is one of 309 graduates who earned a degree through Lorain County Community College’s University Partnership this year.
“When I made up my mind to return to school, it opened up a new world for me,” said Plas. She began her educational career, like most, right out of high school, but realized she was not ready.
In 2010, Cristy returned to LCCC and decided to take it seriously.
“I even worked with Amanda Haney, the success coach,” stated Plas. Making the decision to return to LCCC to start an associate degree demonstrated her values, interests, and desire to improve her skills. In 2012, she earned an associate degree in psychology.
But that wasn’t enough. On Saturday, May 18 she earned a bachelor of arts in clinical psychology from Cleveland State University through the University Partnership program.
LCCC’s University Partnership offers more than 40 different bachelor’s and master’s degrees from 12 of Ohio’s leading universities, with courses taken at LCCC’s campus in Elyria and the University Partnership Ridge Campus in North Ridgeville. Degrees cover a wide range of specialties, including business administration, biology, computer science and engineering, environmental science, nursing, public health, education and more.
Plas does not plan to leave LCCC anytime soon. Her master’s degree program begins this fall. “I plan to continue on with the Partnership program at LCCC, this time for a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling through John Carroll University,” noted Plas.
John Sabo, 44, of Elyria is a lot like Cristy Plas. He has found that education is the key to advancing in his career.
“I’ve never stopped learning,” Sabo said.
Sabo is receiving his bachelor of science in computer science and engineering, from The University of Toledo through LCCC’s University Partnership program.
No stranger to balancing work and studies, Sabo first enrolled at LCCC just after high school, earning an associate degree, while apprenticing with the Ridge Tool Company. With a Journeyman’s card as an electrician, he knew even back then that his degree from LCCC was paying off. In 1994, Sabo landed a position as an electrician with the Ford Motor Co.
Moving through the ranks, Sabo eventually became a trainer/instructor at Ford, teaching employees about programmable logic controllers, a computerized system that replaced old mechanical relay switches. In 2008, when buy outs were being offered at many automotive plants, Sabo decided to ensure his future with the company by pursuing a second degree through LCCC.
As the electrical trade, like most, has expanded into the computer age over the past two decades, Sabo realized an advanced degree was once again the key. “I was looking for a program that aligned with what I do at work,” said Sabo.
Working with the hardware and software of control systems, he found the labs at LCCC to be state of the art.
“It’s a really good program. It didn’t hurt that I live just a few blocks from campus either,” he said.
In the future, Sabo would like to be a controls engineer or software designer, and help design new products for Ford. But that would involve a move to California or Michigan, so for now, he’ll remain at the Brookpark EcoBoost Plant.
“The University Partnership program at LCCC has given me the skills and preparation needed to be a more productive employee,” said Sabo.
LCCC’s University Partnership offers programs through Ashland University, Bowling Green State University, Cleveland State University, Hiram College, John Carroll University, Kent State University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, The University of Akron, The University of Cincinnati, The University of Toledo and Youngstown State University. Classes are held in the LCCC University Center building, a facility designed specifically for students enrolled in University Partnership degree programs.
LCCC is the first community college in Ohio to offer a wide variety of bachelor’s and master’s degrees through its unique University Partnership program. And choosing The University Partnership is not only convenient for Lorain County residents, but it’s also highly affordable. Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree through The University Partnership can save a student upwards of $50,000 compared to the cost of tuition, room and board in a traditional four-year university setting. Savings can be amplified in many bachelor’s programs with LCCC’s unique three-plus-one model, meaning students pay LCCC’s low tuition rate for three of the four years.
“The University Partnership has become the most economical way for local residents to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Having access to associate degrees along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees is helping to build a more competitive workforce,” said John R. Crooks, associate provost of the University Partnership at LCCC.
For more information on LCCC’s University Partnership, visit www.lorainccc.edu/up or call (440) 366-4949.
Click here to see this year’s Great Grad video, featuring Cristy Plas.