NANTICOKE — Celebrating a recent a U.S. Department of Labor grant, Luzerne County Community College held a dedication ceremony for their newly-renovated technology center on Wednesday.
Luzerne County Community College was part of a consortium that was awarded a $10 million grant via the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program.
The re-dedication coincided with the college offering three new programs for the fall 2015 semester as a result of the grant. The three new programs offered are engineering design and manufacturing, diesel truck technology, and welding.
“Manufacturing is coming back,” Helene Mancuso, project director for the TAACCCT grant, said.
The criteria for being awarded the TAACCCT grant was that the programs designed include coinciding with the job needs in northeastern Pennsylvania as well as being on the PA High Priority Occupations list.
“It’s a great day for the residents we serve and the opportunities we’re going to provide moving forward,” said Tom Leary, president of the college.
Leary wasn’t the only one excited for the new building and classes. Students and teachers in the three new programs couldn’t help but rave about the new technology that the grant has allowed the colleges to purchase.
“It’s opened up more doors,” Student Government Association President Sean Kyle Reilly said. “Students can actually get their foot in their door with new innovated jobs.”
“The new equipment is like Star Trek to me,” engineering design and manufacturing student Frank Maresca said as demonstrated one of the two new Haas CnC Mill machines.
The teachers stressed that there was an immediate need for the new programs. Bob Conner, automotive program teacher, and Edward Kuehner, welding professor, both echoed the same sentiment — there is a great need for certified individuals.
“Local shops are crying for people,” Conner said.
“Numerous companies are asking us, do you have people who can weld?” Keuhner said during a welding demonstration. “When this grant opportunity presented itself and one of the boxes was welding, we said, ‘Let’s do that.’”