Governor Wolf Announces $2 Million Grant for Pitt-Johnstown Engineering Facilities

September 02, 2016

Johnstown, PA – Governor Tom Wolf, Senator John Wozniak, Representative Bryan Barbin and University President Jem Spectar today announced $2 million in funding for the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) to help complete the campus’ new chemical engineering program aimed at ensuring career-ready candidates for emerging industries in the region. The expanded engineering program is expected to produce an additional 125 graduates a year, including 40 chemical engineers who will be qualified to work in the petrochemical industry in the region.

“With projects like the Cracker Plant in Beaver County, we expect the chemical engineering field to be in high demand as that plant helps to build industries like plastics over the coming years,” Governor Wolf said. “My administration is committed to creating more jobs that pay and in order to do so, we must ensure that companies growing and expanding here can find local workers that they need. This expansion at Pitt Johnstown will help us meet their needs and bring more jobs to this region.”

“This is the most important economic development project in Cambria and Somerset Counties in many years,” Rep. Barbin said. “The funding completes the last facilities needed to transition UPJ’s engineering programs to B.S. degrees, providing world-class opportunities to students from the Laurel Highlands in careers necessary to bring Cambria County and western Pennsylvania to the forefront of America’s build out of clean natural gas energy independence.”

“In order to create new opportunities for students, they must have the tools necessary to compete in a worldwide economy,” Sen. Wozniak said. “As a UPJ alumnus, I am proud that the new chemical engineering degree and the other investments that are being made at UPJ will train a new generation of students to be leaders and innovators.  This grant ultimately means more investments in jobs and education for the region.

“The state’s investment in Pitt-Johnstown’s engineering degree program will help meet emerging workforce needs of the community and advance the Campus’ mission of preparing students for success in the Real World,” said President Jem Spectar. “The potential impact on our local, regional, and state economy is immeasurable, as we provide graduates with skills to compete and transform our communities.”

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant will help fund the final phase of a major investment in Pitt-Johnstown’s new engineering program and supporting facilities.  The grant and matching funds will be used to support the Chemical Engineering program launched in August 2016.  Specifically, the investment will be used to help renovate and equip classroom spaces, specialized engineering laboratories, technology-rich learning and study spaces, and associated technology infrastructure.

The newly created chemical engineering degree program at Pitt-Johnstown is critical to supporting the increased demand for professional engineers in the expanding natural gas industry in Western Pennsylvania related to the development of the Marcellus Shale reserves. This is especially important as the new ethane cracker plant being built by Shell Chemical Appalachia and the new businesses that will be generated to support the plant. The ability of the campus to serve this workforce need is an essential component to strengthening Johnstown’s industrial base and contributing to the revitalization of our local economy and the advancement of the Commonwealth.


Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf

SHARE Email Facebook Twitter