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Corbett delivers $298K grant to help promoted LCTI education

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 27 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 28 2013 05:53:49 PM CDT

Governor Tom Corbett stopped at a local school Thursday with the state checkbook in hand to announce a new push to pump up manufacturing in Pennsylvania.

Governor Tom Corbett stopped at a local school Thursday with the state checkbook in hand to announce a new push to pump up manufacturing in Pennsylvania.

"I'm announcing a grant of $298,000 to the Manufacturers Resource Center for program design to create a pipeline of jobs for technical students throughout the Lehigh Valley," said Corbett.

The goal of the "Skill Up" the Student Pipeline to Support Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania program is to prep students for careers in high-tech manufacturing jobs. The initiative is a collaboration between educators, local manufacturers and government.

"Without a doubt the number one problem in manufacturing is finding talent, the correct talent for the jobs that arw out there," explained Jack Pfunder with the Manufacturers Resource Center.

"With this grant we will be able to promote the kinds of jobs that are available," added Peter Rittenhouse with Nestle Waters NA. "The economy is turning around and we need these good paying manufacturing jobs to stay here in PA."

Local leaders say we need to do a better job of promoting blue collar careers, and get more students ready to meet the needs of today's employers. Manufacturers are finding it difficult to locate trained machinists and technicians able to operate and troubleshoot the increasingly high-tech and computerized equipment factories rely on to crank out products.

"We have the resources, we certainly have the equipment, we simply need more students in the pipeline," shared Executive Director of LCTI Sandra Himes.

Corbett echoed the need for skilled workers, suggesting schools guide students into fields where there are more jobs like manufacturing.

"These jobs are good jobs," he said. "Good family sustaining jobs, they help you buy homes, they help you raise families and they help you build what we call the American dream."