Penn State to Use $ 1.5 Million Grant for New Kensington Workforce Programs

Penn State will use a $ 1.5 million federal grant to create workforce training and retention programs targeting southwestern Pennsylvania, the university said on Wednesday.

The university’s New Kensington campus, located in Upper Burrell, and its digital foundry, under construction in downtown New Kensington, will lead the project.

It will be known as “Growing and Reskilling Our Workforce in Pennsylvania” or GROW PA.

The project is funded through a third round of grants from the Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities Initiative of the Federal Employment and Training Administration in partnership with the Regional Commission for Appalachians and the Delta Regional Authority.

“With the rapid and continuous advancements in how technology and innovation affect our workplaces, this grant is a great help to the digital foundry in preparing the workers of today and tomorrow in our region to be ready to take on these jobs, ”Mayor Tom told Guzzo. “The role played by the Digital Foundry is vitally important. And I am delighted and excited that this is happening in our city. “

Funded entirely by the grant, GROW PA will deal with site preparation, labor and operation, according to the university.

Site preparation includes solving regional manufacturing challenges with access to accreditation programs and hands-on training tools and equipment.

Job readiness covers the creation of pathways and the provision of out-of-the-box training to a targeted number of people such as newcomers, displaced workers, ex-combatants and current workers, as well as the provision of advanced manufacturing technologies and training for local businesses.

Operational readiness includes establishing an operational model to provide technical skills, training and referrals, as well as social support services, events and recruitment tools to connect interns to employment opportunities.

“This grant and our mission at Digital Foundry New Kensington is to lay the foundation for a solid pool of current and future talent and innovative technologies,” said Digital Foundry Executive Director Sherri McCleary.

McCleary, an executive with 33 years of experience deploying technology at companies like Alcoa and Kennametal, joined the project last year.

“If we are to have a pipeline that meets current and future talent needs and fosters the implementation of breakthrough technologies, we need to invest in our local talent at all levels and across demographics,” she said. .

The Richard King Mellon Foundation has awarded $ 5.5 million for the digital foundry, which is being built on Fifth Avenue and is slated to open next year. Penn State has provided $ 1 million in matching support, which will help create an endowment for the ongoing operation of the facility.

The Digital Foundry is a collaborative effort between Penn State New Kensington and the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is an editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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