News about Workforce Development & Continuing Education

Plastics Workshop Proves Popular to Industry Professionals

At left, Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager for the Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College, watches lab assistant Jacob W. Fry evaluate the wall thickness of a container produced in the thermoforming lab.

Summer is anything but vacation time for the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology. The PIRC recently hosted 34 industry professionals from 10 states and Canada for its Sixth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The three-day course featured presentations from industry experts and hands-on sessions focusing on materials testing and operating and troubleshooting thermoforming equipment.

“It’s rewarding that this annual workshop attracts a variety of top experts and professionals from the plastics industry,” said Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program and technical service manager. “The interest in the workshop is a testament to our talented staff and the excellent facilities we enjoy at Penn College.”

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New Director Named at National Sustainable Structures Center

Alison A. Dillon

Alison A. Dillon has been named director of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s National Sustainable Structures Center, a groundbreaking force in the field of building science and energy-efficiency training.

Effective July 1, Dillon – assistant director since 2011 – will be the main point of contact for the department, provide supervisory responsibilities for the team, and take the leadership role in working with NSSC’s clients and partners. She succeeds John E. Manz, who transitions to a role as director of special initiatives at NSSC.

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College Co-Hosts Recruitment Event for Potential CDL Students

Pamela Mix, secretary to the ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technologies, takes the wheel of the simulator.

Friendly greeters (from left) are Jim Patterson, CTS director; Carla Rhone, program support specialist, Shale TEC; and Hadly Ransom, intensive workforce specialist, PA CareerLink Lycoming County.

CTS' simulator, inside a trailer parked outside, awaits Open House attendees.

Kevin Cromley and Kathy Pentz, local CTS instructors for Penn College CDL classes

A CDL Open House, held Thursday to attract students into Penn College’s Commercial Driver’s License program, was co-hosted at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center by Workforce Development & Continuing Education and the Center for Transportation Safety. CTS brought a simulated rig to the event so that potential students could experience driving a tractor-trailer; a skid steer was also on hand to let participants practice vehicle control. WDCE, which contracts with CTS to provide CDL Class A training at the college’s Energy Technology Education Center site along Route 15 near Allenwood, hopes to add Class B and CDL Refresher Safe Driving courses to its portfolio.
Photos by Pamela Mix and Hadly Ransom

Penn College Students Earn Industry Certifications

Pennsylvania College of Technology students representing seven different majors recently proved their mastery of computer aided drafting and design software programs by passing certification exams.

Fifty-two students successfully completed the Certified SolidWorks Associate exam and one student earned Autodesk Inventor Professional certification. SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor are industry-standard 3-D parametric software programs used primarily within the engineering drafting and design profession.

“Two years ago, we completely revised our curriculum to closely align with current industry standards and technology,” said J.D. Mather, assistant professor of engineering design technology. “Our enrollment in the engineering design program has substantially increased since these changes were made. This year, we more than doubled the number of students who successfully completed the exams. I am very pleased with the increase in certified users. The certification is an external validation that our curriculum is meeting industry standards.”

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Overwhelmed by New Technology? Let Penn College Help!

Are you or a loved one overwhelmed with today’s technology? Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology offers an introductory iPad and iPhone course for adults 55 and older.

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Thermoforming Center of Excellence Again Hosts National Audience

Christopher J. Gagliano (in front of equipment), program manager for the PIRC’s Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College, leads a lab tour during a May workshop for industry professionals.

Plastics employees from five states were schooled by industry experts and campus professionals when the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology held its sixth annual Heavy-Gauge/Cut-Sheet Thermoforming workshop in May.

The three-day course offered enlightening classroom presentations from several industry luminaries, as well as numerous hands-on sessions that covered operation and troubleshooting of thermoforming equipment, materials testing and introduction to new mold-making materials.

“Year after year, it is good to see that many companies across the country continue to invest in their employees and see the value in attending our workshops,” said Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager, Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

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Plastics Professionals Converge on Penn College Campus

Aided by student Madison T. Powell (left), a part-time Plastics Innovation & Resource Center research assistant, Gary E. McQuay (right), PIRC engineering manager, preps attentive participants for the hands-on portion of the workshop.

The renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology extended its expertise to plastics professionals throughout the country by hosting the seventh annual Hands-On Rotational Molding & Advanced Materials Workshop earlier this month.

With support from the Association of Rotational Molders and the Society of Plastics Engineers Rotational Molding Division, the PIRC’s workshop brought 31 individuals to campus, representing various sectors of the plastics industry and 11 states.

“It was tremendous to host diverse plastics professionals from throughout the country for this year’s workshop,” said Gary E. McQuay, PIRC engineering manager. “Attracting such talent on an annual basis speaks to the high quality of both the workshop and our plastics facilities at Penn College.”

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Digital Photography Course Scheduled at Penn College

Discover your creative side and learn from an industry professional how to take stunning digital photographs when Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology offers a three-week digital photography course this summer.

The classes, taught by Wayne Palmer, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from June 11-25 in the Center for Business & Workforce Development on the college’s main campus in Williamsport. The cost is $199.

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NPR Correspondent’s Visit Yields Second Story on Natural Gas Career Opportunities

Claire E. Kerstetter: ETEC-trained, wellfield-employed

A second National Public Radio report to emerge from a national correspondent’s recent visit – a three-and-a-half-minute piece on women’s increasing accessibility to energy jobs – aired Friday on “All Things Considered.” Jeff Brady’s “Oil Companies Look to Fill Employment Gap With More Women” includes interviews with Stephanie M. Puckly, a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Spartansburg; Claire E. Kerstetter, of Lock Haven, who completed short-term training at Penn College’s Energy Technology Education Center; and college President Davie Jane Gilmour. (The latter two are also featured in the story’s print version.)

Bulgarians’ Fact-Finding Tour Includes Stop at College, Regional Sites

Regional authorities on the environmental/regulatory, county planning and community impacts of oil and gas operations share insights in a pre-lunch session.

Outside the Thompson Professional Development Center, the group pauses with Thomas B. Murphy (back row, second from right), Penn State Extension educator and co-director of Penn State’s Marcellus Center of Outreach and Research; and David C. Pistner (back row, right), director of special projects for Workforce Development & Continuing Education.

A Bulgarian delegation, fresh from a conference in Houston, visited Penn College and regional gas-related sites on Friday to continue its discussion of shale-energy development in the United States. The group is meeting with key stakeholder voices on the workforce, economic, legislative and regulatory impacts of shale development, and included a college stopover in its firsthand assessment. Comprising the group were Delian Dobrev, chair of the Energy Committee in Parliament, former minister of energy and close contact of the prime minister; Zhecho Stankov, deputy minister of energy; Delian Dimitrov, member of the Board of Directors of Bulgartransgaz (gas system operator of Bulgaria); Nikolai Nikolov, Ministry of Energy; and American Embassy representatives Emily Taneva and Sally Behrhorst.

Practical Nursing Information Session to Be Held in Wellsboro

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Outreach Practical Nursing Program, located in the Wellsboro Area School District, will host an information session for those interested in nursing as a career.

The session will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, June 22, in the former music room of the school district’s administration building.

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College’s Plastics Resources to Be Touted at European Conference

Christopher J. Gagliano (left), program and technical service manager for the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, leads European visitors through Penn College’s Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

European visitors’ recent first impression of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center will lead to a second look when they promote the facility to a continental conference next year.

The four international guests and their American host talked with employees and students in labs featuring each of the college’s five plastics processes (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, rotational molding and thermoforming) during a March tour of the PIRC and its Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

The group also learned from Director C. Hank White about the PIRC’s role in helping the industry remain competitive.

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ShaleNET Success Shared at Congressional Hearing on Energy Workforce

Tracy L. Brundage testifies in the Rayburn House Office Building.

The college's vice president for workforce development is greeted by U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, of Illinois, the panel's ranking Democrat.

Brundage is joined in the hearing room by U.S. Rep Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chair of the subcommittee.

Penn College’s vice president for workforce development testified in Washington, D.C., this week on behalf of improved education and training in energy and related industries. Tracy L. Brundage appeared Thursday before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which is examining legislative language to create a 21st-century energy and manufacturing workforce. Referencing the success of the college’s award-winning ShaleNET partnership, which responded to the industry’s call for trained employees, Brundage said an educational infrastructure – built from a cross-section of public and private interests – is among the innovative solutions necessary to meet challenges. “ShaleNET is a best-practice model that can be deployed and implemented in other areas because the curriculum is competency-based, developed with input from industry, consistent, easily replicated and flexible dependent upon industry needs,” she said. “The success of ShaleNET is a direct result of strong partnerships with employers and trade associations, Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stops, economic development agencies such as the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and local governments who share a common desire to place qualified candidates with employers in family-sustaining careers.”
Photos provided

Penn College Authorized Training Center for Autodesk Certification

College an Autodesk Authorized Training Center

As an Autodesk Authorized Training Center and Authorized Certification Center, Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology is taking part in a Certification Day on May 8.

Certification exams will be administered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on various Autodesk products used in architecture, engineering and digital arts fields. Preregistration for the tests, to be given in the Center for Business & Workforce Development on Penn College’s main campus, is required by visiting online and selecting the college’s site code from the drop-down menu.

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Plastics Trade Journalists Learn Firsthand of PIRC’s Pre-Eminence

Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program and technical service manager, showcases the thermoforming lab.

C. Hank White, director of the PIRC, answers a question in the extrusion lab.

Julia I. Gilchrist, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and a research assistant for the PIRC, holds court in the rotational molding lab.

Gary E. McQuay (left), PIRC engineering manager, and Jared W. Mahaffey, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and PIRC research assistant, take measurements in the industry lab.

Timothy E. Weston, associate professor of plastics and polymer technology and department head, tells visitors that all 12 pending plastics graduates have secured jobs.

The excellence of the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center reached an international audience on Tuesday. Journalists representing plastics trade publications from India, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States toured the PIRC and plastics labs at the college. Facilitated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, the visit promoted the desirability of central Pennsylvania for international companies with a stake in plastics. According to Sarah Thomas, a spokesperson for DCED, Greiner Packaging, one of Europe’s leading plastic packaging manufacturers, opened a plant in Pittston within the past year because of its proximity to the expertise at the PIRC.  Hank White, director of the PIRC; Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program and technical service manager; Gary E. McQuay, PIRC engineering manager; Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; and Timothy E. Weston, associate professor of plastics and polymer technology and department head, addressed the international contingent. Julia I. Gilchrist, of Hanover, and Jared W. Mahaffey, of Linden, both juniors in the plastics and polymer engineering technology major and PIRC research assistants, demonstrated equipment. The visitors were impressed to hear Weston report that all 12 plastics students scheduled to graduate in May have already obtained jobs.