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Training Benefits Evident in Legislator’s Tour of Local Business

State Sen. Gene Yaw learns about laser technology from M&M employee Chris Hampton Company president Donald L. Messner shows the senator one of his company's specialty items: a cover for an electronic jukebox State Sen. Gene Yaw M&M estimator Andy Mitchell, left, talks with Donald O. Praster, dean of industrial and engineering technologies (center), and Thomas J. Venditti, statewide director of WEDnetPA Shop foreman Robert J. Glosser IV (right) shares a light moment with, from left, Debra M. Miller, Penn College's director of corporate relations; Heather L. Baldwin, workforce development consultant; and state Sen. Gene YawState Sen. Gene Yaw toured an Old Lycoming Township business Wednesday morning to see firsthand how job training and Penn College can help local manufacturers maintain their edge in the marketplace. The legislator and member of the college’s board of directors was among the officials visiting M&M Sheet Metal and Steel Fabricators, 2104 Marydale Ave., which has grown to 18 employees (including alumni and part-time faculty of the college) from a four-person operation when it opened in 1979. Donald L. Messner, president, said heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ductwork and plant maintenance comprised the company’s original focus, but his business has diversified into specialty jobs for industries as varied as textiles, food, pharmaceuticals and amusement parks. Expansion of the product line has required a substantial investment in equipment the company last year purchased a state-of-the-art laser for precision metal-cutting and in staff training to keep abreast of the industry. He had particular praise for the Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania, which is managed by Penn College and affords access to training funds through an alliance of 33 educational providers throughout the state. M&M, in its second year as a WEDnetPA participant, tapped into AutoCAD and welding training to help it maintain competitiveness, Messner said.