WARREN, Pa. – The Warren County Career Center is getting a major lift.
Governor Tom Wolf announced new funding for the Warren County Career Center through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Program (MTTC) to introduce Warren County School District high school students to the manufacturing industry as an alternative to the traditional higher education path.
“Pursuing a career in the manufacturing industry is the right choice for many students; they just need the opportunity to see what the field is all about,” said Gov. Wolf. “Pennsylvania has many lucrative manufacturing job opportunities and providing the chance for students to learn about this career path is critical for it to remain a key industry within the commonwealth.”
The Warren County Career Center plans to use its $117,000 in MTTC funding to attract students to manufacturing by providing an alternative path to high school students who may not realize there are options outside of attending a college or university.
“The key more than anything will be exposing students to manufacturing fields they may not have been considered as an option,” said James Evers, director of the Warren County Career Center.
To accomplish this, a part-time position at the center will be filled, new equipment, as well as materials and tools, will be purchased, promotional and marketing materials will be created, and 20 Haas Certifications (online courses that are designed to provide the basic knowledge necessary to get started as a CNC machine operator or CNC machinist) will be purchased.
“The Warren County Career Center and the Warren County School District are very excited about this opportunity,” said James Evers, director of the Warren County Career Center. “We believe it will provide a benefit for both our students and our community. Students will be exposed to industrial career opportunities beyond the single, technical field. This will open the door of manufacturing to other students who may have never considered it as an option. We believe this has the potential of changing how career and technical education is provided in our district.”
The Warren County Career Center, located in the Warren County School District’s Central Attendance Area, is an area vocational-technical school serving only the students of the district. The Career Center provides training in a number of vocational fields to students in grades 10 through 12.
“The ultimate goal is to get more students interested in manufacturing fields, whatever it might be,” Evers said. “There are so many different careers that kids don’t know about.”
Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative was launched in October 2017 and since then has funded 82 projects and invested more than $17.3 million through the MTTC 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 Grant 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.
“We had heard about the grant through the NIRC (Northern Industrial Resouce Center),” Evers said. “They helped us write the grant. They invited us up to McDowell for the pilot program there. We fell in love with it right from the get-go. We toured in February and from that point forward, we met with a group from Bradford that was filling out grant applications as well. We missed the 2021-22 deadline. So we submitted right away on July 1 this year.
“We were fairly certain we had it. Watching how proud the McDowell kids were, we thought what a great opportunity for the kids in Warren. It’s changing the way we look at CTC. Typically the students get into something like welding and that’s what they do. There are jobs in all different fields and they might decide they want to do something else. This is a great opportunity to get them exposed to that and we’ve had full support from the school district from the beginning as well.”