First PAsmart grants announced during state visit to Penn College

Setting students on a career path may begin in the classroom, but workforce training can provide the extra push needed for them to find jobs, be successful and help business and industry.

Pennsylvania College of Technology, which has long trained students for many jobs to meet workforce demands, has received a pair of state apprenticeship grants amounting to nearly $200,000.

State Department of Labor and Industry Apprenticeship and Training Office Director Eric Ramsay was on hand at the college Friday to announce the first-ever PAsmart apprenticeship grants for the region.

The college is to receive a $77,050 Apprenticeship grant and a $100,000 Pre-Apprenticeship grant.

The grants are part of an $857,000 funding stream the state is awarding to north central Pennsylvania.

Dollars from the Apprenticeship grant will be used to increase partnership in existing programs and build two new college-sponsored registered apprenticeship associations.

The larger grant amount will help establish the college’s first pre-apprenticeship program targeted to high school students and establish the school’s first health care pre-apprenticeship program serving underemployed or

unemployed adults and

out-of-school youth.

The funding will certainly help the school’s growing training opportunities, said Chris Ray, executive director of the college’s Workforce Development.

“We work with 20 companies in apprenticeship programs,” he said.

Those programs, he noted, help fill the skills gaps of companies.

Health care, manufacturing and other businesses and industries have high demands for skilled and prepared employees, he said.

Ramsay noted that Gov. Tom Wolf launched PAsmart last year to bolster STEM education, job training and apprenticeship in an effort to make the state’s workforce the strongest in the nation.

Ramsay met with college

officials and later was given a tour of some of the educational programs offered at the school.

“Apprenticeship is a natural extension of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s mission: addressing the skill shortages facing companies throughout the country,” said Pennsylvania College of Technology President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour. “We help companies close the gap through innovative solutions to upskill their existing workforce, and infuse their ranks with talented graduates. This PAsmart funding helps us further develop and deliver the vital apprenticeship training component and creates a foundation for sustainability.”