Lancaster, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today helped launch the new Teacher in the Workplace program at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology's Greiner Advanced Manufacturing Center in Lancaster. Oleksiak joined teachers and toured the manufacturing center.
Championed by Governor Tom Wolf, the Teacher in the Workplace (TIW) program enables educators to visit local employers. The teachers learn about skills and knowledge students need for local jobs and bring the experience back to the classroom to better prepare students for success in 21st century careers.
"Governor Wolf has prioritized creating the strongest workforce in the nation. That means preparing worker with the skills and education that local businesses need," said Oleksiak. "This program connects teachers with local employers. The teachers bring that experience back to the classroom and tell students and parents about the new and exciting jobs available in their community."
Oleksiak was joined by local educators, administrators and staff as he toured the Greiner Center's advanced manufacturing labs, including HVAC/R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration), computer integrated machining (CIM), and metals fabrication and welding technology, to see what skills these jobs require.
Earlier this year, Governor Wolf announced nearly $2.6 million in Teacher in the Workplace grants supporting 59 programs in Pennsylvania. The Lancaster County TIW program, administered by the Lancaster County Workforce Development Board, received a $50,000 grant to educate teachers about local jobs to help them develop lesson plans that teach students the skills for in-demand careers.
"Industries, particularly manufacturing, are experiencing a shortage of trained workers, which is why increasing access to job and skills training, STEM education, and career and technical education programs is a priority," said Oleksiak. "The governor's SWEAP proposal is a bold plan to strategically invest in Pennsylvania's workers and economy, and develop a pipeline of skilled workers that businesses need to succeed and grow."
Governor Wolf's Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) plan would expand career and technical education and STEM programs so students and adults are prepared for 21st century jobs.
Oleksiak said the governor's SWEAP plan builds on last year's successful launch of PAsmart to create a more qualified and highly-skilled workforce. The proposed PAsmart funding includes:
- $20 million to expand computer science and STEM education;
- $7 million to expand registered apprenticeships;
- $3 million to expand job training through Next Generation Industry Partnerships;
- $6 million to expand adult career and technical education programs; and
- $4 million to expand Manufacturing to Career Training Grants.
Other SWEAP components would enable more children to attend high-quality child care, ensure kids are in school age 6 and raise the dropout age to 18, and increase job training for low-income parents.
"Experiences such as these provide educators with firsthand knowledge about the awesome career opportunities for their students. The demand for individuals with skilled trades continues to provide the incoming workforce with numerous opportunities," said Cathy Rychalsky, executive director, Lancaster County Workforce Development Board. "The educators who engage in the opportunities to understand these workforce demands are equipped to return to their classrooms and share valuable information and build relevant curriculum that aligns with our business community needs."
The Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology Greiner Advanced Manufacturing Center was developed to increase capacity and access to three in-demand manufacturing majors: HVAC/R, CIM, and Metals Fabrication and Welding Technology. The Center was built through the Pennsylvania Department of General Services at a cost of more than $20 million. The 60,000-square-foot facility provides greatly expanded classroom space for the HVAC/R and CIM programs and includes dedicated computer laboratories and flex space for training and industry-based conferences. It also houses the Gene Haas Laboratory for Computer Integrated Machining and the Burnham Holdings Center for HVAC Technology. The building opened to students in the Fall 2018 semester.
Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology also recently received a $195,000 grant through Governor Wolf's Manufacturing PA initiative, to support the Manufacturing Skill Up Project, which will eliminate barriers to employment and create a stronger pipeline of workers for high priority manufacturing occupations in the Lancaster area.
The PAsmart website has more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life.
The Teacher in the Workplace grants are funded through federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act to offer grants through a partnership with L&I and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Federal dollars financed 91.4 percent, or $2,637,017.75 of the TIW grants. Local workforce investment boards provided matching funds for 9.6 percent or $248,141.69 for these projects.
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