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.