Penn College to Sponsor Apprenticeship Programs

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.”

Penn College is presented with a Certificate of Registration for new apprentice training programs in mechatronics and CNC. From left are Eric Ramsay, director, Apprenticeship and Training Office, state Department of Labor & Industry; Eileen Cipriani, deputy secretary for workforce development, Labor & Industry; Shannon Munro (holding National Apprenticeship Week proclamation), vice president for workforce development at Penn College; Christopher Ray (holding certificate), the college's executive director of business development; John Paul, business engagement coordinator, Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp.; Sara Gligora, Ramsay's executive assistant; and James Chiarchiaro, Keystone Development Partnership.

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.

Jason P. Allen, of Cogan Station, a Penn College sophomore in mechatronics engineering technology, shows Cipriani and Ramsay an infared thermal imager used to measure heat on a motor to detect a problem.

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. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University