Gov. Wolf at Process Tech Education Center Groundbreaking Vows to Build Strongest Workforce in the Nation

May 02, 2019

Monaca, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today vowed to build the strongest workforce in the nation, citing an example set by the continued expansion of the Shell Center for Process Technology Education at the Community College of Beaver County. While at the center’s Phase II groundbreaking ceremony, the governor congratulated the college for its efforts to train skilled professionals for careers at the Shell Ethylene Cracker Plant and related industry facilities.

“When you have a project like the Shell Ethylene Cracker Plant that has the potential to create more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, you need to find ways to train the workforce, and collaborative efforts like this between education providers and employers are one of the best ways to do that,” Gov. Wolf said.

Last year the college secured a $1 million gift from Shell and a $1 million grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to help fund the Phase II addition to the Shell Center for Process Technology Education. The Pennsylvania Department of Education provided a matching $2 million grant to move forward with the construction for which the groundbreaking took place today.

CCBC’s four-semester associate in applied science program in Process Technology, or PTEC, trains students to be process technicians. These professionals are responsible for the set-up, operation, monitoring, and control of today’s advanced manufacturing facilities and processes. Graduates are equipped to fill critical roles for high-demand, high-earning careers in industries that include chemical, petrochemical, nuclear power, and steel manufacturing among others.

One of Gov. Wolf’s initiatives to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce is the new Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, which is led by a team of three private sector industry leaders and three of Wolf Administration cabinet secretaries working together to identify and quickly react to roadblocks faced by businesses in Pennsylvania.

The Command Center is constantly seeking creative solutions to address the state’s education and workforce needs through employer engagement, and sharing these promising practices so workers can easily find the next steps to move out of a low-wage job and into a family-sustaining career and existing businesses can find skilled workers to fill openings so potential businesses see that Pennsylvania has the workforce it needs.

In addition to the Command Center, Gov. Wolf’s plan to create the strongest 21st workforce includes:

• Expanding PAsmart, a new innovative $30 million investment in STEM and computer science education, apprenticeships and job training that prioritizes partnerships among schools, employers and communities. The governor is proposing an additional $10 million for PAsmart to expand job training to more adult workers.
• Proposing the Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) in the 2019-20 budget. SWEAP builds on the success of PAsmart to provide opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The plan expands access to early childhood education, increases investments in schools, and partners with the private sector.

• Launching the Apprenticeship and Training Office resulting in 138 new sponsors and 193 new apprenticeship programs or occupations, increasing the total number of registered apprentices to 16,866 statewide.

• Starting the Manufacturing PA Initiative to support critical training in the important sector of that economy.

• Joining the Skillful State Network, a nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation to emphasize the importance of skills so workers, particularly those without four-year college degrees, can get good jobs in the changing economy.

“As a business owner, I recognize the importance of workforce development,” Gov. Wolf said. “So, I’ve set an ambitious goal of making Pennsylvania’s workforce the strongest in the nation. We want to be ready to heed the call when a company, like Shell, decides to call Pennsylvania home.”

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