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First Lady Shapiro, Labor & Industry Secretary Nancy Walker Join Johnstown Students for STEM Education at Commonwealth Technical Institute


Contact: Trevor Monk,


Photo courtesy of Commonwealth Media Services 

Johnstown, PA – First Lady Lori Shapiro and Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Nancy A. Walker joined more than 30 students from the Greater Johnstown Senior High School today for a STEM education event hosted by the Hiram G. Andrews Center's (HGAC) Commonwealth Technical Institute (CTI), L&I's postsecondary trade and technical school that specializes in providing barrier-free education and job-readiness programs to people of all backgrounds and ability levels.

Through a partnership with the Carnegie Science Center's BNY Mellon Mobile Fab Lab, the students used cutting-edge industry tools – such as 3D printers, lasers, vinyl cutters, and ShopBots – to design and manufacture a glider. Each of the students receives pre-employment transition services from L&I's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), which also operates HGAC and CTI in its mission to help Pennsylvanians with disabilities prepare for competitive employment in the careers they want.

"It was a pleasure joining Secretary Walker at today's event. The partnerships formed by CTI, the Carnegie Science Center, the Department of Labor & Industry, and the Department of Education help expose young people to incredible opportunity and give them the skills they need to chart their own course," said First Lady Shapiro. "Josh and I are proud that through L&I's leadership, young people with disabilities are given the resources they need to succeed." 

Each year, OVR's Vocational Rehabilitation Program serves about 50,000 individuals with disabilities to help them pursue competitive integrated employment in their community. OVR also offers pre-employment transition services to about 17,000 students with disabilities to help them explore career opportunities. Pre-employment transition services become available to Pennsylvania students with disabilities starting at age 14. 

"This collaboration between CTI and the Carnegie Science Center offers students a glimpse into STEM careers in industries that need their talents. Even better, hosting this event at CTI exposes students to a postsecondary campus built to meet their needs and set them on a path to success and independence," Secretary Walker said.

OVR, which administers CTI, is both state and federally funded, with emphasis placed on serving individuals with the most significant disabilities. Governor Josh Shapiro's budget prioritizes services for Pennsylvanians with disabilities that support independence without barriers. Further, the Governor has identified workforce development as a top priority of his Administration through an expansion of job-training, career and technical education, and apprenticeship programs that give all Pennsylvanians the freedom to chart their own course. 

Beyond the support of HGAC's CTI, last month Governor Shapiro signed a new budget into law that invests $23.5 million in job training and vo-tech programs$6 million in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programming; and $3.5 million in funding for L&I's Schools-to-Work Program to develop and expand career pathways for underserved populations via partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, and the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth Technical Institute (CTI) is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. CTI offers three associate degree programs (medical office assistant, culinary arts, and networking technology) and seven diploma programs with credentials for careers in administration, automotive technology, building maintenance, culinary arts, materials management and distribution, nursing, and welding technology.

Disability support services offered at CTI include deaf/hard of hearing services, autism support services, services for students with visual impairments, therapeutic services, career services, driver training, independent living skills services, and more.

Prospective students, their teachers, and families are always invited to tour the campus.

Schedule a tour by calling 800-762-4211 ext. 0582. For information about applying for admission, please contact HGAC/CTI's Admissions Office at 800-762-4211 ext. 0564.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, please visit the website or follow L&I on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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