New Funding for Workforce Training in Southwestern PA Will Prepare Students for In-Demand Manufacturing Careers
January 08, 2021
Governor Tom Wolf announced that the Western Area Career & Technology Center (WACTC) in Washington County was approved for $112,262 in funding through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing Training-to-Career program, a program that helps companies identify and train a skilled workforce through targeted programs and services.
“Our manufacturing industry has established itself as a major player contributing to Pennsylvania’s economy and is in need of qualified applicants to support its continued growth,” said Gov. Wolf. “Training-to-Career funding will back Western Area CTC’s commitment to providing an all-encompassing education to its students, preparing them to begin and grow in stable careers, and supporting local manufacturers with an available and skilled talent pool.”
The funding will allow WACTC to expand its Machine Shop instruction by teaching part of the in-demand curriculum, specifically computer numerical control (CNC) operation, to the center’s high school carpentry students and CareerLink intergenerational adult trainees. This expanded instruction will allow WACTC instructors to focus on specialized skills that are in demand locally and statewide.
A new CNC machine will be shared with machining students working with metal and carpentry students working with wood. All students will learn the set-up, maintenance, troubleshooting, and operation of the CNC machine and its application to their respective industry.
“In an effort to ensure ongoing access to state-of-the-art equipment and training, this grant provides Western Area CTC a great opportunity to strengthen its existing programs through the purchase of a CNC machine and accessories that will increase training and employment opportunities for our students and enhance the needs of our community,” said WACTC Executive Director Dennis McCarthy.
There is a great demand in Southwestern Pennsylvania for positions in the Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operations field, with a projected 3.9 percent long-term job growth in the commonwealth. With funding through the Training-to-Career program, WACTC plans to address the area’s critical need for qualified manufacturing employees through increased training for the center’s students, preparing them for post-secondary education and/or sustainable employment.
Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative was launched in October 2017, and since then has funded 48 projects and invested more than $9 million through the Training-to-Career program. Training-to-Career grants support projects that result in short-term work-readiness, job placement, or the advancement of manufacturing. The Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career program works collaboratively with local manufacturers to identify and teach missing essential skills for entry level applicants seeking manufacturing employment, engage youth or those with barriers to career opportunities in manufacturing, and or advance capacity for local or regional manufacturers.
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.