Penn College to hold apprenticeship programs

PHOTO PROVIDED Jason P. Allen, of Cogan Station, a Penn College sophomore in mechatronics engineering technology, shows Eileen Cipriani, deputy secretary for workforce development, state Department of Labor & Industry, and Eric Ramsay, director, Apprenticeship and Training Office, Labor and Industry, an infrared thermal imager used to measure heat on a motor to detect a problem.

Pennsylvania College of Technology is addressing the manufacturing skills gap by sponsoring apprenticeship training programs for regional companies.

The Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Office recently approved the college’s programs focusing on mechatronics and computer numerical control occupations. As sponsor, the college will oversee all elements, including related classroom training and collection of records from the companies offering on-the-job training.

“Through sponsorship, Penn College is able to bring companies together in a way that reduces cost and minimizes administrative burden,” said Christopher P. Ray, executive director of business development for workforce development and continuing education. “The benefits to manufacturers are considerable when you add industry-recognized credentials and delivery methods tailored to company schedules.”

Programs registered through ATO provide employer-driven training to create a highly skilled workforce and to give job seekers the opportunity to earn a nationally recognized credential. Employers benefit from more productive workers and employees obtain the tools to support future career advancement.

With the assistance of ATO and the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp., the college sought input from regional company representatives and devised the programs to meet their expressed needs: mechatronics and CNC occupations.

Mechatronics is the integration of electrical, mechanical and computer engineering related to automated systems. CNC occupations refers to the myriad responsibilities involving computer-numerical-control mac­hin­es, a staple in manufacturing.

The Penn College-sponsored apprenticeship programs are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2018. The college projects that eight companies initially will be involved between the two occupations. Numerous companies throughout the state have recently sought information on apprenticeship program participation.

“Most companies cannot dedicate a large number of employees to apprenticeship training at one time, particularly mechatronics technicians,” Ray said. “This consortium model is ideally suited to address those challenges.”

Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development. The college offers more than 100 degree programs and trains 7,000-plus incumbent workers. For more information, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call 800-367-9222.

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