Williamsport Technical Institute, founded 1941
While 1941 was the year the Williamsport Technical Institute was formally established, programming actually had been in place since 1914, when a small high school industrial shop became home to adult education and training programs. Many of the first students to enroll were disabled veterans from World War I who needed immediate retraining.
In the 1920's, the focus shifted from industrial arts to vocational training. That shift helped combat the effects of the Depression in the 1930's. Cooperation between the school and local industry led to the development of a plan for attacking rising unemployment through retraining. "The Williamsport Plan" was copied throughout the United States and encompassed cooperative training of the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Youth Administration.
World War II led to even more change in the 1940's. Training to meet defense industry needs was crucial; so the institute operated on a 24-hour-a-day schedule. Part of that training involved programs for individuals with handicaps, who were a big part of the war effort. Even before the "G.I. Bill" was passed in 1944, training also was being offered for returning World War II vets. The war production training and special training for disabled veterans led to the institute becoming one of the nation's largest providers of training and retraining for people with physical handicaps.
Williamsport Area Community College, founded 1965
The passage of the Community College Act of 1963 led to the establishment of Williamsport Area Community College, on the foundation of the former Williamsport Technical Institute. The College used the technical institute programs and facilities as the starting point for growth and development. Area school districts served as local sponsors for the Community College. By the 1970's, service to those sponsoring districts included both credit and non-credit courses offered in Williamsport and at the new Earth Science Center near Allenwood, as well as at a variety of school district locations.
The 1980's brought more change. The Community College established a North Campus to serve needs of the residents of Pennsylvania's Northern Tier. Enrollment throughout the College was climbing steadily, with students coming from many areas outside the College's service area. While the physical plant grew and the enrollment expanded, local school districts became increasingly concerned about costs and the College faced eroding sponsor support. The City of Williamsport assumed the sponsor role on a temporary basis until 1989, when the College was named an affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University.
Pennsylvania College of Technology, founded 1989
As an affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University, Penn College is realizing its full potential as Pennsylvania's premier technical college. Continuing in a tradition of excellence, Penn College is a strong force in higher education in Pennsylvania, offering certificate, associate and baccalaureate degree programs. Students from around the world are enjoying the benefits of state-of-the-art programs in traditional and emerging technologies.
Unique bachelor of science degree programs are providing new opportunities for students to build upon their technical background and advance into management and specialty positions. Regular, new additions to the Penn College program portfolio are training men and women, not only to meet existing workplace demands, but to prepare for the careers of tomorrow.