Governor Wolf: New Funding to Boost Manufacturing Sector, Close Skills Gap in Western Pennsylvania

August 16, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Building on his commitment to expand job training and workforce development, Governor Tom Wolf today announced the approval of new funding for Edinboro University Foundation and Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Foundation (NTMF), Inc. The funding will support job training programs that will provide high school students the in-demand skills needed to fill the shortage of employees in the manufacturing industry, as well as promote STEM resources and career awareness. The grants will come from Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative.

“Our administration is always thrilled to support initiatives designed to strengthen our workforce and our manufacturing sector,” said Governor Wolf. “With a world that is constantly changing, it is imperative that we build an innovative and flexible workforce to be able to adapt to new industries and technologies while creating opportunities for students to gain new skills, further their education and create a path to well-paying jobs.”

In Erie, a $199,750 grant will support Edinboro University’s Manufacturing Training to Career for Dual Enrolled High School Students Program, a workforce education program that will include soft skill development and conflict resolution. Area high school students will complete classroom and online courses, followed by an internship through the Dual Enrollment Program. The program will enable high school students to earn 15 college credits and a Quality Assurance Certificate during their junior and senior year. The Quality Assurance Certificate Program will introduce students to the concepts and procedures involved with maintaining a consistently high level of quality in manufactured products. The college credits can be used to complete an Edinboro University degree or be applied to other higher education institutions as transfer credits. The program will include mentorship and employment placement assistance.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to prepare young people as workers for high-priority, well-paying manufacturing jobs in the Erie region through the Manufacturing Training to Career for Dual Enrolled High School Students Program,” said Dr. Denise Ohler, dean of Edinboro University’s College of Science and Health Professions. “These students will be work-ready following an internship experience and may continue along the career ladder in the field of manufacturing should they strive for additional education.”

Local manufacturing companies involved in the project include: Eriez Manufacturing, PHB Corporation, F&S Tool, GeorgeKo Industries, Matrix Tool, Industrial Sales & Manufacturing, Polymer Molding, and Executool Precision Tooling.

In Pittsburgh, a $200,000 grant will support the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling & Machining Foundation’s (NTMF) BotsIQ Academy, a workforce education program that will provide teachers and students access to online manufacturing training curriculum and competencies with emphasis on measurement and math, blueprint reading, and safety to enhance students’ engineering and computer-aided manufacturing skills (CAD). Partnerships with manufacturers in the region will provide participants with job shadowing opportunities, internships, technical support, and career mentoring. Participants who successfully complete BotsIQ Academy will be offered job interviews with various manufacturers as an opportunity to secure employment.

“For fourteen years, the Pittsburgh Chapter NTMF and its high school manufacturing development program, BotsIQ, have provided the framework for students to gain in-demand, technical skills that connect to career pathways at local manufacturing companies,” said Michel Conklin, executive director of BotsIQ. “With this grant, we are excited to expand BotsIQ Academy and provide access to additional curriculum, competencies, and work-related experiences that lead to amazing opportunities for our students and industry partners.”

Local companies partnering with BotsIQ Academy include: Aerotech Inc, DMI Companies, Elizabeth Companies, Hamill Manufacturing Company, L & S Machine Company, and Stellar Precision Companies.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant is designed to provide funding for training programs to help unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector. Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers.

The Training-to-Career grant is part of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative that was launched in October 2017. This initiative ensures that training leads not simply to any job, but to careers that provide higher pay and opportunities for advancement. Working with DCED’s strategic partners, including Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs), Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities, technical schools, and non-profit organizations, this initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships to accelerate technology advancement, encourage innovation and commercialization, and build a 21st century workforce.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to manufacturing, visit the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

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