As Luzerne County Community College prepares to open its second dedicated educational center in Northumberland County, we trust the county commissioners will contribute toward the financial support of this educational facility, a move that would provide a tuition break for students who reside in the county.

Bob Garrett, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, Chris Berleth, the chamber’s relationship director and David Zartman, owner of Zartman Construction, attended a commissioners’ meeting last week. It was the fourth time they have attended to encourage county officials to contribute toward the $100,000 a year needed to support Luzerne County Community College (LCCC) programs in Northumberland County.

Rick Shoch, chairman of the county’s board of commissioners, said the county is open to providing financial support.

“I would certainly be in favor of it,” Shoch said after the meeting, “It will be an economic driver at that end of the county.”

Luzerne is scheduled to open its Watsontown site on Sept. 16 at the former Watsontown Elementary School following approval of an agreement with the Warrior Run School District to use the building, still owned by the school district.

The LCCC Greater Susquehanna Center will offer classes in English, math, speech, biology, sociology, art, first-year experience, computer information systems and CPR.

Local governmental support forms the foundation for the community college system, initially created and signed into state law by the late Gov. William Scranton in 1963.

Luzerne County Community College was formed on Dec. 15, 1965, when the Luzerne County Commissioners adopted a resolution agreeing to act as a sponsor.

In addition to its main campus in Nanticoke, LCCC operates dedicated educational centers in Berwick, Hazleton, Pittston, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Shamokin, and now Watsontown.

Offering a wide variety of courses, students can earn an associates degree, and various career certifications. Credits earned at the community college also can be transferred to colleges and universities across the nation, allowing students to pursue bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees.

A total of 782 degrees, certificates and diplomas were awarded to 754 students in the 2017-2018 academic year, bringing the number of graduates to more than 32,000 over the past 52 years.

Financial support from the Northumberland County Commissioners and elected officials in other area counties is an investment in local residents, enabling more students to enter these programs and achieve their career goals. They should also keep in mind the hard work locals with the Susquehanna Valley Education Project are still doing with hopes of establishing a home-grown community college.

Prospective students are invited to visit Luzerne’s new Watsontown center during open house dates, set for 3 to 6 p.m. today and Aug. 28. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Aug. 21.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsrooms executives. Todays’ was written by Digitial Editor Dave Hilliard.