The role of community colleges is to provide affordable, flexible education options for students and create workforce development programs that meet the changing needs of employers. HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, has been doing that for more than 50 years, contributing $1 billion annually to the regional economy. During the pandemic, HACC has been pivoting more and fostering new partnerships to serve the community. Dr. John “Ski” Sygielski, HACC’s President, discusses the institution’s evolving community role.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Ski is the only member of his working-class family to graduate from college earning bachelor, master and doctorate degrees, including an honorary associate degree from a community college. A biking enthusiast, he and his husband currently live in Harrisburg, PA, with Bart, their Basenji dog.

Dr. Ski is a Harrisburg (PA) Rotarian, is chairman of the board of directors for the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges, a current member and past chairman of the American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors and a member of the AACC’s 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. He currently serves on the boards of the Broad Street Market Alliance, Recycle Bicycle of Harrisburg and Harrisburg Regional Chamber. He is a member of Pennsylvania’s Workforce Investment Board. He also serves on several local, regional and national higher education advisory committees.