Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The Johnson College COVID-19 Dashboard provides weekly updates on confirmed cases within our campus community.

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Posted on July 14, 2021 at 8:43 am

At this time, Johnson College does not require its students, employees, or visitors to be fully vaccinated. The College strongly advises individuals who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings and continue to social distance when on campus. ​The health and safety of our students, employees, and visitors on campus continue to be our top priority, and we are closely and consistently following recommendations from the CDC and the state.

Posted on March 29, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Fall 2021 Reopening Plan

Dear Students,

We will welcome more students back to campus for in-person classes and labs for the 2021-22 academic year starting with its summer session on June 28, 2021. Through our enhanced course offerings, we are committed to delivering our mission of providing students with real-world, hands-on learning in a caring and safe environment. Students will be able to choose either in-person or virtual classes for their general education and program theory courses, which have only been offered virtually since March 2020. Labs and lab-related coursework will continue to be delivered in-person, on our campus, or at one of our industry partner lab locations. CDC guidelines will be adhered to at all locations.

Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, our plan includes the following:

• Campus will be zoned to ensure contact tracing. Masks will be provided, and social distancing guidelines enforced.
• Our Facilities Department is following all CDC cleaning guidelines for campus.
• The student Café will not operate as normal. Students, staff and faculty will be allowed to bring their own food and use the dining area. Tables and chairs will be set up within social distancing guidelines. We are planning to have “grab and go” items available too.
• Congregating and events will be limited.
• Housing will not be available for the foreseeable future. If you need housing, you should reach out to our office of Student Engagement for other options.

This plan is subject to change pending guidelines set forth by local, state, and national government officials and appropriate health agencies.

As we move forward from this past academic year, we’re thrilled to be able to welcome you, some for the first time, on campus, with even more flexible options for your education.

Sincerely,

Dr. Katie Leonard
President & CEO

__________________________________________________________

Posted on June 16, 2020 at 12:12 pm

Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

Dear Students,

I am pleased to announce that Johnson College has developed a fall 2020 reopening plan which will go into effect on August 31, 2020, the first day of class. Johnson College will be welcoming students back this fall for in-person classes while operating in a hybrid model. This schedule will be in place for at least one full academic year. In this model, we will continue to deliver on our mission of providing students with “real world, hands-on learning in a caring environment.”

In this new hybrid model, we will be able to increase flexibility for our students, while prioritizing their safety and giving them the hands-on learning that they need to thrive in industry. General Education classes and program theory classes will be delivered online. Labs and lab-related coursework will be delivered in-person, in a safe manner, following social distancing guidelines, both on campus and at industry lab locations. In some cases, we may be utilizing simulation software and at home lab kits.

To ensure that our reopening plan meets the needs of our students and adheres to the guideline set forth by government and health officials, I have met regularly with local health officials, the Mayor, state officials, and other college presidents. Health officials have been sharing that the key to reopening is proper PPE, like masks, and social distancing. They also support the idea that we must be prepared to operate in new ways. The reopening plan that we have developed includes a reopening task force, who will be meeting to assist in executing and monitoring the plan.

In addition to the hybrid model of learning, the College’s plan includes the following:
• Campus will be zoned to ensure contact tracing. Masks will be provided, and social distancing guidelines enforced.
• The Facilities Department is following all CDC cleaning guidelines for campus.
• The student Café will not operate as normal. Students will be allowed to bring their own food and use the dining area. Tables and chairs will be set up within social distancing guidelines. We are planning to have “grab and go” items available to students as well.
• Congregating and events will be limited.
• Housing will not be available for the foreseeable future. Students who need housing should reach out to the office of Student Engagement for other options.

Due to the ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, this plan is subject to change pending guidelines set forth by local, state, and national government officials and appropriate health agencies. I know this is different from how we are used to operating but this model ensures that students still get the hands-on experience and exposure to industry partners for which Johnson College is known. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this together. I would also like to thank our industry partners for giving us the opportunity to continue to use their spaces for lab and clinical instruction. We would not be able to deliver our high-quality, hands-on education without them.

Thank you, students, for your continued hard-work and adaptability. Faculty and staff are available to help you and are committed to helping you achieve your academic and career goals. We will slowly be reopening campus over the summer as Pennsylvania transitions through its reopening plan. Students will be finishing their requirements from the spring semester and faculty and staff will be preparing for the students’ return in the fall. We stay committed to educating the essential workforce of tomorrow and will continue to demonstrate how We Work.

Sincerely,

Dr. Katie Leonard
President & CEO

To read the complete plan, please click here.


Posted on April 1, 2020 at 8:20 A.M.

Dear Campus Community,

All of us at Johnson College hope that you are all doing well and keeping yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy. Your well-being and safety are most important to us. We have been doing everything we can with the hopes of opening our doors back up for the remainder of this Spring semester. Unfortunately, with the extension of the social distancing guidelines, and Pennsylvania’s Stay at Home Order, we will not be able to be back on campus for the remainder of this semester. Due to these factors, the remainder of the semester will be taught online through D2L.

Commencement is an important tradition to our Johnson College community. During this extraordinary time, Johnson College believes our graduates should still have the opportunity to celebrate this occasion with their classmates, instructors, families, and friends. We have rescheduled our commencement ceremony to Saturday, August 8th, 2020.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our students for being flexible and understanding of the situation that we are all in. I’ve been receiving wonderful feedback from them about how their classes are going and their interactions with instructors and staff.  Our students prove to us time and time again that they are up to any challenge that faces them. They are adaptable and hard-working, which are just a few of the traits that make them so successful.  

We would also like to acknowledge and give our gratitude to all those essential businesses who are working hard during this time to supply the life sustaining services that they provide. Thank you to our industry partners, alumni, and current students who are working on the front lines in the healthcare field, transportation, manufacturing, logistics, and food services. We couldn’t be more proud of you and thankful for all that you do.

And finally, I would like to give a big thank you to our faculty and staff. We truly would not be able to do what we do without you. Your dedication, innovative thinking, and quick response has made this transition to online learning as smooth as it could possibly be. Thank you for continuously going above and beyond for our students.

Stay strong and focused, Johnson College. As we navigate this new situation together, I want to remind everyone that it is temporary, and we are all in this together. Faculty and staff are still available to help students and are committed to helping them achieve their academic and career goals. We remain dedicated to delivering the best hands-on education that we can. Students will get their hands-on lab hours completed even though it may not be in the same traditional manner. But that is the great thing about Johnson College, we know how to respond quickly and creatively to find solutions. Even in times of adversity, we continue to show everyone just how we work.

Sincerely,

Dr. Katie Leonard
President & CEO


Posted on March 30, 2020 at 8:50 A.M.

Dear Campus Community,

For the safety of our students and for their loved ones, we have made the decision to postpone our annual commencement ceremony to Saturday August 8th, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. at the Theater at North [1539 N. Main Ave. in Scranton]. During this extraordinary time, Johnson College believes you should still have the opportunity to celebrate this occasion with your classmates, teachers, families, and friends.

A graduation practice will take place on Friday, August 7th, 2020 at 9 A.M. in the Moffat Building.
Students will still receive their cap and gown, have the opportunity to meet with college administrators, and will receive tickets for the event. The Office of the Registrar will also still issue diplomas to students.

Johnson College will have more information regarding Grad Finale and Awards Night in the coming weeks.


Posted on March 16, 2020 at 11:53 A.M.

Dear Campus Community,

Per the Governor’s instructions, and confirmed by PDE, we are considered a non-essential business and are requiring all employees to work from home starting tomorrow, March 17.  Please continue to be available to students. While the physical campus is closed, our staff and faculty must be available for students. Faculty, please continue your plans to get all course work online. We will continue to update you as we receive more information.

Instructional classes and campus labs will resume on Monday, March 23 in an online format through April 14. Students can log into D2L for specific class instructions. Students are encouraged to reach out to their faculty member with any questions on how a class will be delivered. All internships, clinicals, and off campus labs may continue, as long as the associated organization is operating. Students should be in contact with faculty members to know if an assigned organization is open.

All larger events have been postponed, including the Spring Career Fair. Alternative plans are being made for the Spring Open House. We will share additional information as plans develop.

Student housing will remain closed through April 14. Resident students with questions or extenuating individual circumstances should contact the Office of Student Engagement, (570) 702-8912, or e-mail Nolan Renz, Director of Student Engagement, at nrenz@johnson.edu.

Your health and safety is our top priority. Please use caution. If you, or a loved one, or someone you have been in contact with has been, or is sick, please do not come onto campus or attend any face to face experience. Continue to look to the CDC and other health related organizations for the most up to date and factual information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html#anchor_1580064337377
Pennsylvania Department of Health
https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Guide
https://www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/EmergencyPreparednessGuide/Pages/default.aspx

Thank you Johnson College community for working together to get through this most challenging and unprecedented time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Katie Leonard
President & CEO


Posted on March 11, 2020 at 2:03 pm.

Dear Johnson College families,

I wanted to reach out to you personally to share this information.

Effective Monday, March 16, as a precaution to reduce potential pathways for the spread of COVID-19 within our community, we are extending Spring Break. During this time, we will continue to assess the situation and plan further steps as we receive information. We plan to resume regular instruction on Monday, March 23.

In the meantime, we encourage you to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC to protect yourself and help prevent the spreading of COVID-19. Although there are no confirmed cases, our students’ health and safety is the top priority.

Please see the letter below that was sent to the campus community earlier this week.

This is a difficult decision, and one we came to after many internal discussions with several constituent groups. I assure you that our faculty, staff, and administrators will continue to work to ensure that your student is safe and successful. We look forward to welcoming them back to campus soon.

Sincerely,

Dr. Katie Leonard

President & CEO


Dear Johnson College Community,
 
The Johnson College senior leadership team is committed to the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, faculty, and visitors. We wanted to take this time to update you on the latest information pertaining to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the preemptive measures we have already begun taking on our campus.
 
Facilities and custodial staff on campus thoroughly clean all classrooms, offices, and common areas on campus daily. The staff has changed cleaning products that are specifically formulated to be more effective against diseases such as the coronavirus. In addition, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizing stations will be available in all buildings on campus, starting Monday, March 9, 2020.

In addition, our food service provider, Metz Culinary Management, has assembled a task force that will formulate action plans for all likely scenarios.  They are actively collaborating with key suppliers, relaunching ServSafe training for all employees and adding additional training regarding the spread and prevention of COVID-19.
 
You can protect yourself, and aid in the spreading of disease, by following the suggested prevention tips below:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

Below you will find additional links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding the virus as well as preventative measures you may take.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html#anchor_1580064337377
Pennsylvania Department of Health
https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx
Pennsylvania Emergency Preparedness Guide
https://www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/EmergencyPreparednessGuide/Pages/default.aspx

We will continue to take the necessary precautions on campus and we encourage you to do the same at your homes.  To support these efforts, and to prevent the spread of illness, we recommend that if you are experiencing flu or cold symptoms, please stay home from work and school.
Thank you for your cooperation with this matter.

Sincerely,
Johnson College Senior Leadership Team

Johnson College Spring 2021 Semester President’s List

On May 17, 2021, Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College, announced the President’s List of students who have completed the 2021 Spring Semester with a grade point average of 3.90 or higher.

Evan Wilcox, Architectural Drafting & Design Technology, Milanville, PA

John DeLucca, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology, Pittston, PA

Brandon Dougherty, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology, South Abington Township, PA

Philip Davitt, Electrical Construction and Maintenance Technology, Dickson City, PA

Shane McHugh, Computer Information Technology, Scranton, PA

David Weaver, Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Technology, Carbondale, PA

Brandon Grandinetti, Computer Information Technology, Olyphant, PA

Michael Salansky, Computer Information Technology, Uniondale, PA

Brittany Bethel, Veterinary Technology, Dallas, PA

Devon Nowicky, Radiologic Technology, Drums, PA

Jorden Sekol, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Old Forge, PA

Alexander Nallin, Veterinary Technology, Scranton, PA

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 businesses and industry to ensure a skilled and qualified workforce. For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.

Johnson College to Host 4th Annual Auction for Children’s Advocacy Center

Johnson College’s Carpentry & Cabinetmaking Technology program will host an auction to benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 on the Johnson College campus. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and the auction starts at 6:00 p.m.

More than 60 items will be available to bid on including cutting boards, tables, cabinets, a book case and more. All items were created by students in the Carpentry & Cabinetmaking program. Most of the items were made from re-purposed wood. Face masks are required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

The 2019 auction raised over $7,000 for the local non-profit. No auction was held in 2020 due to the on-going pandemic. To register, please visit johnson.edu/events/annual-carpentry-auction.

Photo Caption: John Dutter, Carpentry & Cabinetmaking Technology freshman, stains a table he made for Johnson College’s 4th Annual Carpentry Auction benefitting the Children’s Advocacy Center of NEPA on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 on the Johnson College campus.

Now Enrolling Students in Forklift Operator Training Course

Johnson College’s Continuing Education program is offering a Forklift Operator Training Course on Saturday, May 8, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Diesel Truck 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! Visit johnson.edu/continuingeducation or contact our Continuing Education team at 570-702-8979 or continuinged@johnson.edu 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 assist participants in becoming an authorized operator of forklifts through theory and tactile testing. Nine hours of instruction including pre-operational inspection, picking up, traveling, and placing loads, parking procedures, refueling, and practical operation.

More Students Back to Campus for the 2021-2022 Academic Year Starting June 28

Johnson College will welcome more students back to campus for in-person classes and labs for the 2021-22 academic year starting with its summer session on June 28, 2021. Through its enhanced course offerings, the College is committed to delivering its mission of providing students with real-world, hands-on learning in a caring and safe environment.

Students will be able to choose either in-person or virtual classes for their general education and program theory courses, which have only been offered virtually since March 2020. Labs and lab-related coursework will continue to be delivered in-person, on the Johnson College campus, or at one of our industry partner lab locations. CDC guidelines will be adhered to at all locations.

Throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, Johnson College will continue to divide campus by zones to ensure contact tracing. Masks will be provided and social distancing guidelines enforced. The Facilities Department is following all CDC cleaning guidelines for the campus. The student Café will not operate as normal. Students will be allowed to bring their food and use the dining area. Tables and chairs will be set up within social distancing guidelines. “Grab and go” items will be available to students as well. Congregating and events will be limited. Housing will not be available for the foreseeable future. Students who need housing should contact the Office of Student Engagement for other options.

This plan is subject to change pending guidelines set forth by local, state, and national government officials and appropriate health agencies.

“As we move forward from this past academic year, the Johnson College community is thrilled to be able to welcome our students, some for the first time, back on campus, with even more flexible options for their education,” said Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO, Johnson College.

Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast with guest, Jim Wansacz, from SLHDA now available

In this episode of Tech Talk with Johnson College, Dr. Katie Leonard welcomes Jim Wansacz, the Executive Director of the Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency. They discuss local partnerships and volunteer work that impact our community. For the past 50 years, SLHDA has been helping to improve our area, and the partnership with Johnson College has only strengthened that initiative- giving students real-life experience that produces life-changing results. To listen to all of the Tech Talk with Johnson College Podcast episodes and learn more visit https://johnsoncollegepodcast.com/. The podcasts are also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Jim Wansacz is a person who is motivated by challenges and problems and strives to make a difference in his community, by choosing to be part of the solution. He coaches, serve on non-profit boards and belongs to community organizations that believe in giving back to their communities.

Prior to joining Scranton Lackawanna Human Development Agency, Inc., SLHDA, Jim Wansacz spent a year consulting PA American Water on an acquisition in relation to strategic planning, human resource administration, business development, and identifying operational savings.

Jim served as Chairman of the Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations of County Departments. He worked as a business development specialist for Commonwealth Energy Group, where he helped small to large businesses become more energy efficient.

Previously, Mr. Wansacz served as a five-term Pennsylvania State Representative in the 114th Legislative District where he served on the Environmental & Energy, Small Business, Commerce, Gaming Oversight, Professional Licensure, and other committees.

He feels it is through his life experiences in the public and private sectors as well his upbringing in a third-generation family business, that he has learned the necessary qualities needed to make change and not be afraid to lead, even under the direst situations.

Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a minor in Economics from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he sits on the Board of Alumni and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni of IUP. Jim also holds a Masters of Public Administration from Marywood University.

She received her BA and MA in sociology at St. John’s University. Highlighted in 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.

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 Johnson.edu/openhouse or contact Johnson College’s Enrollment Department at 570-702-8856 or enroll@johnson.edu.

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.

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 www.shoprite.com.

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 toyotaofscranton.com 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 enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.

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. 

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.