In 1967, the school directors of Westmoreland County studied the possibility of starting a community college in the county. After local surveys proved favorable, the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners agreed to sponsor the college and named a board of trustees. Following approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Westmoreland County Community College was founded in March 1970. On February 1, 1971, the college conducted its first nine evening classes for 259 students in rented classrooms at Jeannette High School.
Without a permanent home, the college was limited to offering only evening classes. Following a search for a suitable building, the Westinghouse Corporation offered to sell its semiconductor plant in Youngwood to serve as a permanent campus for the college. In the fall of 1972, the college moved to its present site, in the building now known as Founders Hall. Day classes were offered for the first time and close to 1,500 students enrolled. Since then, Founders Hall has been renovated and the curriculum expanded.
The first permanent facility constructed for Westmoreland, Commissioners Hall, was completed in June 1990. Science Hall opened to students in June 1994 and in March 2000, the college dedicated the Business and Industry Center, which was purchased from neighbor Powerex.
The college has grown beyond the Youngwood campus by establishing education centers in Export, Indiana, Latrobe, New Kensington, Uniontown and Waynesburg.
The Public Safety Training Center opened in South Huntingdon Township in October 2003 to serve as a training ground for the region’s first responders, including firefighters, police officers and emergency service personnel.
This August, the college opened the 73,500-square-foot Advanced Technology Center at RIDC-Westmoreland in Mt. Pleasant which offers credit programs, continuing education and contract training for industrial technology, manufacturing and energy sector occupations. The ATC Academy provides an opportunity for Career and Technology Center students to earn a college certificate in Industrial Technology when they graduate from high school.
Today, Westmoreland enrolls approximately 5,595 students, offers more than 140 programs of study, and conducts online classes to provide accessible learning opportunities.
Complementing the credit programming are a full array of student services, including financial aid, tutoring, child day care/preschool and career placement, and student life activities such as intercollegiate athletics, intramurals and clubs.
The college also offers a variety of continuing education courses in workforce training, professional development, health care, computer training, personal enrichment, homeland security and public safety.
Westmoreland works with government, business and community leaders to continually develop and offer innovative and educational programs to improve the lives of the constituents it serves.