Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Outreach for K-12 Office was awarded a grant from the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp. to broaden the knowledge among students, teachers and parents about what is made in their back yards, and of the significant impact manufacturing continues to have on the region.
One of the projects funded by the $22,000 Gold Medal Initiative grant was “Made in Central PA: Central Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Showcase.” The event brought middle school, high school and career and technical school teachers and counselors from Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Snyder, Northumberland and Union counties to campus to interact with area industry representatives and learn more about products and career opportunities available in advanced manufacturing in central Pennsylvania.
“A landmark study released earlier this year showed that manufacturing is Pennsylvania’s No. 1 economic engine in terms of gross state product and is the fourth-largest provider of jobs with a high average yearly salary,” said Lauren C. Bryson, statewide Industrial Resource Center Network director, who offered a keynote address for the educators.
“Manufacturing is evolving faster than perceptions and understanding of manufacturing are,” Bryson said. “It is not only an industry that is alive and well, it is an industry with a future that will provide high-level, interesting, innovative and lucrative careers... but the industry needs high-quality, flexible, skilled employees to be part of their team to allow them to be competitive in today’s global economy.”
Educators talked with manufacturers about their products, manufacturing careers and local jobs; toured Penn College classrooms and labs that relate to advanced manufacturing; and received access to hands-on materials for their schools.
Industry participants – who provided roundtable discussions with the teachers – included Primus Technologies Corp., Williamsport; Videon Central, State College; Ames True Temper, Lewistown; the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council; Lewis Lumber Products Inc., Picture Rocks; First Quality Products Inc., McElhattan; and Bingaman & Son Lumber, Kreamer.
A closing speech was provided by Dave Whitten of the Keystone Wood Products Association.
The grant also funds the development of traveling displays that highlight goods produced by central Pennsylvania manufacturers, including a description, history and fun facts about the companies that make them. The displays will rotate to the 31 school districts located in the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp.’s service area.
To learn more about services available to schools through the Outreach for K-12 Office, call 570-320-8003 or visit http://www.pct.edu/k12.