Johnson College Extends Scholarship Support to ‘YES’ Program Graduates

The Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council and Johnson College today announced a partnership and a scholarship opportunity for YES (Your Employability Skills) Northeast Program graduates.

YES, which is administered by the Council, is a 120-hour, one-credit, year-round elective course that addresses the shortfall of basic skills that employers say are lacking in many job applicants. The course covers 38 modules in all, including communication, team building, interview/resume/cover letter writing, completing a job application, personal finance, conflict resolution, and time management.

In order to earn a certification and become a graduate of the program, students must achieve passing scores on both the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, demonstrate an attendance rate of 95% or better, pass a six-panel drug screen, complete the 120 hours of curriculum, and earn their high school diploma. Since the program began in 2006, more than 8,500 students have enrolled in the program with 2,918 earning their industry-recognized credential.

Starting with the 2021 fall semester, graduates of the program that enroll at Johnson College are eligible to receive a $1,000 scholarship. In addition to the scholarship, students will also be awarded four credits based on prior learning assessment.

“The Council is proud to partner with Johnson College, as together we can help out industry by building tomorrow’s workforce today,” said NEPA MAEC president Darlene J. Robbins. “Manufacturers are currently facing a workforce crisis, with approximately 60 percent of today’s unfilled manufacturing jobs being caused by a shortage of applicants that lack proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), as well as employability skills. Through partnerships such as this one, we can bring more young people into high-paying careers by connecting them with the right training opportunities. This benefits not only the manufacturing sector, but all industries that Johnson College graduates may enter.”

“Our partnership with the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council allows YES Northeast Program graduates to save time and money as they pursue their ultimate goal of entering the regional workforce,” said Bill Burke, M.S., Johnson College Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs. “We look forward to these graduates experiencing Johnson College’s industry-driven, in-demand, hands-on training in a caring environment that we’re known for.”

Johnson College to Host Virtual and In-Person Spring 2021 Open House Events

Johnson College will hold a virtual Open House on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at 6 p.m. via Zoom and an in-person Open House on its campus in Scranton on Saturday, March 27, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. To register for both or one of the Open House events visit or contact Johnson College’s Enrollment Department at 570-702-8856 or

Both Open House events will include discussions about the admissions process, financial aid for those who qualify, and student services such as student life, student support, and career services. During the in-person Open House, same-day acceptance will be available, if students bring their high school or college transcripts. Tours of each technical area will be conducted and department chairs will be available to review the specifics of their programs. Social distancing and sanitization guidelines will be followed and face coverings must be worn at all times while on campus.

2020 Grads Find Success

Jeremiah “Levi” Johnson ’20, a graduate from the Diesel Truck Technology program (left) and Joshual “Josh” Thomas ’20, a graduate from the Electronic Engineering Technology program (right).

Even in this unusual year, Johnson College graduates from the class of 2020 know how to thrive. Jeremiah “Levi” Johnson ’20, a graduate from the Diesel Truck Technology program, and Joshual “Josh” Thomas ’20, a graduate from the Electronic Engineering Technology program, have found success in each of their fields.

Levi was cautious about attending post-secondary school at a large university for fear of distractions, so when a high school friend enrolled in the Diesel Truck Technology program at Johnson College, Levi took a closer look at the College. Levi is a “big hands-on kind of guy” when it comes to his learning style and his friend assured him that the majority of education was hands-on, not just theory. He attended an Open House, and said he was, “sold.”

While looking for the next step to advance in his career while staying close to home, Josh, a military veteran, found Johnson College’s Electronic Engineering Technology program a great fit. According to Josh, the friendly and helpful staff and faculty stood out at the College, specifically, Rick Fornes, Electronic Engineering Program Director. Josh says he is an impressive instructor and mentor, who went beyond the classroom to help him professionally and personally. Josh said he felt like the instructors helped prepare him to tackle any job with general knowledge and common sense.

According to Levi, the strong relationships and communication skills that Levi gained at Johnson College help him in his current position. “I work well with my team, not because I’m the smartest, the strongest or anything like that, but because I can talk to them like I already met them before,” Levi said. “And I take a lot of that from Johnson College and hanging out with the people from class.”

When the Covid-19 lockdown hit, Levi was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which motivated him to make sure he found employment in his field. Months after treatment, he is now cancer-free and working in his current position at Digging and Rigging, Inc. as an assistant mechanic.

Josh said the robotics and automation portion of the Electronic Engineering Technology program was the most enjoyable for him. He also enjoyed working on his class’s Capstone project: building a large scale 3D printer. He felt accomplished creating something that is available commercially, and being able to build it from nothing and make it bigger and better. This project, included in his portfolio, helped secure his current position at Simona American Industries.

Both graduates said the lessons they received at Johnson were invaluable. Both Levi’s father and former Diesel Technology Program Director instilled a similar lesson: “You don’t have to be the smartest man in the room, but always be the hardest-working.” Levi expanded, saying, “No matter how pointless or easy something seems, keep your head down and work hard. Your boss will see that.”

As a self-described over-analyzer, Josh said the best advice he received from his program director was, “Keep it simple. Start with the basics and go from there.” He said this has helped him with tasks from designing to troubleshooting issues.

Both graduates had words of advice for current and future students. Levi said, “Take advantage of every little thing that they’re willing to let you do.” He wishes he took more advantage of the opportunities the College had to offer, such as industry specific training through the Diesel program. Josh said, “Everything about the College, from [the College’s motto] ‘We Work’ to how the classes are run, is geared towards a work environment. Take it seriously.” He elaborated, “The [work] ethic that is instilled is absolutely vital to being marketable and being a professional.”

Johnson College Earns 2021-2022 Military Friendly® Top Ten School Designation

Johnson College announced that it has earned the 2021-2022 Military Friendly® Top Ten School designation.

Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Over 1,200 schools participated in the 2021-2022 survey with 747 earning the designation.

The 2021-2022 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at w

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by Viqtory with input from the Military Friendly® Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey response set and government/agency public data sources, within a logic based scoring assessment. We measure the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for Student Retention, Graduation, Job Placement, Loan Repayment, Persistence (Degree Advancement or Transfer) and Loan Default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

Jessica Farrell, the Director of Financial Aid and Certifying Veterans Official at Johnson College, said, “As the College’s certifying official, it’s my goal to make sure the process of using military benefits is streamlined and easy to understand. As the wife of a veteran I know first-hand the dedication and commitment these men and women have given to our Country and the last thing they should be worried about is how they are going to pay for their education.”

“Military Friendly® is committed to transparency and providing consistent data driven standards in our designation process. This creates a competitive atmosphere that encourages colleges to consistently evolve and invest in their programs. Schools who achieve designation show true commitment and dedication in their efforts. Our standards assist schools by providing a benchmark that promotes positive educational outcomes, resources, and support services that better the educational landscape and provide opportunity for the Military Community.” – Kayla Lopez, National Director of Military Partnerships,Military Friendly®

For more information about Johnson College’s student veteran programs, visit Johnson College’s website at

About Military Friendly® Schools: The Military Friendly® Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to the proprietary, data-driven Military Friendly® Schools survey from participating institutions. The survey questions, methodology, criteria and weighting were developed with the assistance of an independent research firm and an advisory council of educators and employers. The survey is administered for free and is open to all postsecondary schools that wish to participate. Criteria for consideration can be found at

About Johnson College: Johnson College provides real-world, hands-on learning in a caring environment and prepares graduates to enter into or advance in their careers. Johnson College degrees become essential careers. Johnson College was founded in 1912, and is the region’s premier technical college, offering 15 associate degree and 3 academic certificate programs. An emphasis on hands-on instruction is supported by a low student-to-teacher ratio. Located in Scranton on a 44-acre campus, the College is an accredited, private, non-profit, co-educational institution with a strong tradition of working with regional business and industry to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce. For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email, or visit

About Viqtory: Founded in 2001, VIQTORY is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities through its G.I. Jobs® and Military Friendly® brands.  VIQTORY and its brands are not a part of or endorsed by the U.S. Dept of Defense or any federal government entity. Learn more about VIQTORY at

Now Enrolling Students in Forklift Operator Training Course

Johnson College’s Continuing Education program is offering a Forklift Operator Training Course on Saturday, February 20, 2021 from 8 a.m. to 5 the Diesel Technology Center on the College’s campus in Scranton. The cost of the course is $200, but if you are a current Johnson College student or alumni the cost is only $100. Space is limited! Contact the Continuing Education team at 570-702-8979 or to learn more and enroll.

The forklift operator training is designed to familiarize students with OSHA Powered Industrial Truck Operator Training Requirements (29CFR Standard 1910.178 and ASME B56.1), provide current training requirements under the newly adopted standards and to assist participants in becoming an authorized operator of forklifts through theory and tactile testing. 12 hours of instruction including pre-operational inspection, picking up, traveling and placing loads, parking procedures, refueling, and practical operation.

Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program distinguishes itself from the College’s 2-year degree programs and certificate courses by providing its adult students the opportunity to improve their skills to stay ahead of the competition, learn new technologies, and advance in their current career. The Continuing Education courses, many taught by industry professionals, are utilized and recognized by industry partners because they’re developed in partnership with industry. The program also includes pre-employment skills testing and exclusive online courses offering certification classes for essential industries. Johnson College also assists individual students and industry partners in obtaining funding or grants so their continuing education courses are cost effective. Johnson College trains the workforce of northeastern Pennsylvania by immersing continuing education, degree and certificate earning students into industry from day one. We Work, so our students succeed. For additional information on Johnson College’s Continuing Education Program, please call 570-702-8979, email, or visit

Johnson College, Toyota of Scranton & ShopRite Partner for Turkey Dinner Giveaway

Toyota of Scranton, Johnson College & ShopRite are hosting a no-contact drive-through turkey dinner giveaway on Sunday, February 28 at 11 a.m. on the Johnson College campus in Scranton. Meals will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limit of four meals per vehicle, until all 250 pre-prepared meals are handed out. ShopRite is donating all of the food, while it will be prepared and packaged by Toyota of Scranton staff and Johnson College students. 

Vehicles will enter the Johnson College campus via its north entrance, at the light across from Schiff’s. Once on campus, vehicles will be directed to line-up for pick-up. Johnson College students and Toyota of Scranton staff members will load the meals into each vehicle’s hatch or trunk. This no-contact procedure is to keep everyone safe and healthy during the pandemic. Face coverings and gloves will be worn by all volunteers. Vehicles cannot line up on campus before 11 a.m. and cannot park on Main Street.

“Johnson College and Toyota of Scranton are taking our strong partnership beyond the classroom and with ShopRite’s generous donation, together, we’ll feed many families in need within our community,” said Dr. Katie Leonard, Johnson College President & CEO. “We work to prepare students for hands-on, high demand jobs in essential industries, and also to be essential contributing members of their communities. This is one of the goals Orlando S. Johnson strived to achieve when he founded Johnson College, and one we carry forward each day.”   

“Toyota of Scranton is pleased to partner with Johnson College and ShopRite to provide free turkey dinners to people in need in our community,” said Patrick Rogers, CFO of Toyota of Scranton. “We have a strong commitment to giving back to the community we serve.  Helping others in need is particularly important during these extraordinary times.” 

“ShopRite is dedicated to fighting hunger in the communities we serve,” said Katie Gallagher, ShopRite spokesperson. “We are locally owned and operated by the Bracey Family and have been serving local communities in Lackawanna and Monroe County for generations. This partnership with Johnson College and Toyota of Scranton is a great opportunity for ShopRite to demonstrate its continued commitment to the community and help feed local families in need.”

For day-of event information or interview coordination, please contact Doug Cook at 570-702-8920 or Melissa Carestia at 570-702-8928.

ShopRite is the registered trademark of Wakefern Food Corp., a retailer-owned cooperative based in Keasbey, NJ, and the largest supermarket cooperative in the United States. With nearly 280 ShopRite supermarkets located in 6 states including Pennsylvania, ShopRite serves millions of customers each week. In Lackawanna and Monroe counties, Bracey Supermarkets, Inc. owns and operates three ShopRite locations, including the ShopRite of Birney Plaza, ShopRite of Daleville, and ShopRite of Mt. Pocono. Through its ShopRite Partners In Caring program, ShopRite is dedicated to fighting hunger in the communities it serves. Since the program began in 1999, ShopRite Partners In Caring has donated $50 million to food banks that support more than 2,200 worthy charities. As a title sponsor of the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer, ShopRite has donated $34 million to local organizations, hospitals and community groups. For more information, please visit

As one of Pennsylvania’s largest Toyota dealerships, Toyota of Scranton provides over 100 jobs for the Northeastern Pennsylvania community.  The 10 acre state-of-the-art Toyota facility has been awarded the prestigious Toyota Presidential Award for exceptional sales and customer satisfaction multiple times. Toyota of Scranton takes great pride in being part of the community. We are proud to say that our team is actively involved in many local volunteer activities, assisting countless nonprofit organizations in various ways. Our team proudly supports more than 300 charitable organizations per year. Visit to learn more.

Johnson College provides real-world, hands-on learning in a caring environment and prepares graduates to enter into or advance in their careers. Johnson College degrees become essential careers. Johnson College was founded in 1912, and is the region’s premier technical college, offering 15 associate degree programs and 3 academic certificates. An emphasis on hands-on instruction is supported by a low student-to-teacher ratio. Located in Scranton on a 44-acre campus, the College is an accredited, private, non-profit, co-educational institution with a strong tradition of working with regional business and industry to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce. For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email, or visit

Photo Caption: Recently representatives from Johnson College, ShopRite, and Toyota of Scranton met to finalize plans for the no-contact drive-through turkey dinner giveaway on Sunday, February 28 at 11 a.m. on the Johnson College campus in Scranton. Front row (L to R): Dr. Katie Leonard, Johnson College, President & CEO, Allen Blad, Toyota of Scranton, General Manager, and Katie Gallagher, MS, RDN, LDN, ShopRite, Dietitian. Back row (L to R): Mike Novak, Johnson College, Chief Administrative Officer, Nolan Renz, Johnson College, Director of Student Engagement, Thomas Kirkpatrick, Toyota of Scranton, Shop Foreman, Patrick Rogers, Toyota of Scranton, Chief Financial Officer, Mike May, Toyota of Scranton, Parts Manager, and Curt Manck, Toyota of Scranton, Collision Director. 

Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast Episode 9 Now Available.

Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast Episode 9, “The Importance of Black History in Scranton” is now available.

In this episode of Tech Talk with Johnson College, Dr. Katie Leonard welcomes Black Scranton Project founder, Glynis Johns, to share the uncovering of Black history in Scranton along with the establishment of the Black Scranton Project, a local non-profit and local heritage initiative dedicated to archiving and celebrating African American history and culture of the Scranton area. To listen to all of the Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast episodes and learn more visit The podcasts are also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Glynis Johns is the founder of Black Scranton Project, ( a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, local heritage initiative, and public history venture dedicated to archiving and celebrating African American history of Scranton and NEPA. Glynis is also a first-year doctoral student studying 19th and 20th century African American history at Rutgers University. A native Scrantonian, local historian, sociologist, artist, documentarian, and advocate; Glynis spends a lot of time researching Scranton in attempt to piece together narratives of the black community. She is proud to shift local perspectives on culture, inclusion, representation, and history. For Glynis, passions and projects are indistinguishable from each other.

She received her BA and MA in sociology at St. John’s University. Highlighted in the the March 2020 issue of Happenings Magazine as one of the most “Influential Women in NEPA,” and NEPA Business Journal’s Top 20 under 40 Young Business Professionals 2019 honoree.

Op-ed: Johnson College Looks to the Future While Honoring its Past

As industry changes and evolves to meet future needs, so does Johnson College. This year, northeastern Pennsylvania’s only two-year, hands-on, technical college will look to the future as our campus prepares for significant improvements that will change the landscape of North Scranton. The College is preparing to construct a new building to replace Richmond Hall. As our plans move forward it is important to recognize Richmond Hall’s significance in our history.

The William H. Richmond estate, which included a part of Richmond Hall, was donated more than 100 years ago to create Orlando S. Johnson’s dream of establishing and maintaining a trade school, where young people can be taught useful arts and trades that enable them to make an honorable living and become contributing members of society. While students and alumni didn’t spend as much time in Richmond Hall as they did within the walls of their academic program buildings, it was the first building they walked by or drove past when they arrived on campus. In turn, it became a symbol as the gateway to their future careers.  

Since Richmond Hall was first utilized by staff and students in 1912, the mission of Johnson College has remained unwavering. We provide real-world hands-on learning in a caring environment that prepares graduates to enter into or advance their careers. We partner with industry to ensure that students get the education and skills needed for in-demand, essential careers.

At Johnson College, we play an important role in the higher education space, filling a critical niche with career-focused, technical education. We balance industry’s immediate need with where it’s headed.  Students learn skills they can apply at their current job and at jobs that have yet to be created. The quality and type of education  that Johnson College provides works, as evidenced by our graduate’s high placement rate and constant employer contact asking for more skilled graduates to fill their positions. At Johnson College, we are innovating to educate our students fast enough to meet employer demands, without ever sacrificing the quality of education for which we are known.

From our humble beginnings as a finishing institute offering only three courses of study, Johnson College has grown to become a two-year, accredited, non-profit college providing the best technicians and technologists to the region. Beyond academics, the College has been ranked number one for immediate return on a graduate’s investment for education among local institutions based on a 10-year return in a recent Georgetown University study; was ranked number 10 on Forbes’ Top 25 Two-Year Trade Schools in 2018; and our graduates earned pass rates above 94% on national level exams. Johnson College students are introduced to industry when they walk on campus for their first class or lab, and a majority of them start their career in their field before they walk across the stage at commencement.

As we continue to grow, our campus will change. Preparation for the new space that will replace Richmond Hall will begin soon and construction of the new building is scheduled to start later this year. To honor the original building’s legacy, parts of Richmond Hall will be repurposed throughout campus.

While the structure that is Richmond Hall will no longer stand, the symbol of Johnson College’s gateway to the future will remain. This new building will celebrate the intersection between higher education and industry; carry Orlando S. Johnson’s legacy forward; and be a space where prospective students will begin with the end in mind: their future career. It will offer classroom and lab spaces where students will get to see and use equipment they will utilize out in the workforce, meeting space that will be used by the college community and industry partners, and student-facing offices such as academics, enrollment, and financial aid. Employer and industry partners will be featured throughout.

Today, Johnson College is much different than it was in 1912. We stick to our roots, even as we evolve and grow. As President and CEO, I am extremely proud of our past, and I am excited that Johnson College graduates continue to be an essential asset to Northeastern Pennsylvania’s industries. 

With so much uncertainty in the world, Johnson College remains a constant.  We will always work to produce the skilled technicians needed for the workforce. Richmond Hall will be missed, but our commitment to our region remains strong. This is what will pave the way for the next 100 years, and beyond.  

This is a guest op-ed written by Katie Leonard, Ed.D., President & CEO of Johnson College that was submitted to local newspapers the last week of January 2021.