Tech grant seen as blessing

The money will allow up to 150 students to attend a local technical training institute for free

The money will allow up to 150 students to attend a local technical training institute for free

June 18, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A nearly $1 million federal grant could help unemployed or underemployed residents attend a local technical training institute for free.

Wrightco Technologies, which has several facilities across Pennsylvania, including one in Chambersburg, has been awarded a $921,000 Federal Demonstration Project Grant through the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration.

The grant will allow up to 150 students to attend classes at Wrightco's locations across Pennsylvania through January 2003.

The first 13 students started the 26-week program at the Sollenberger Road site in Chambersburg Monday, the same day U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and company President Brent Wright announced the award of the grant.


Students can choose between a 26-week fiber optic and communications program or an 18-week communications installation and testing program.

The fiber optics and communications training is the result of a business-education partnership between Wrightco and Verizon.

Shuster praised the teamwork between Wrightco, Verizon and government.

"This shows how the government working with the private sector can create an environment that creates job training for an industry that needs it desperately," he said. "The high-tech industry is where jobs are and will be in the future."

Shuster said Wrightco's 90 percent job placement record for graduates speaks for itself about the need for trained workers in Pennsylvania. He said graduates of the 26-week program can expect to earn starting wages of $30,000 to $35,000.

"With the grant, Wrightco will be able to help 120 to 150 individuals that would not have the opportunity to receive this kind of training," Wright said.

The courses include a range of disciplines from training in business telephone installation to security alarm systems, closedcircuit television and advanced data cabling.

The program is about 60 percent hands-on training and 40 percent textbook instruction.

Skilled employees in the communications field are in great demand, and individuals with little or no prior training in the industry can apply for assistance under the grant, Wright said.

Wright said the grant application has been an ongoing process that began several years ago, finally coming to fruition this spring.

To be eligible, applicants must be unemployed, high school students at risk of dropping out, or underemployed, earning between $7.50 and $10.10 per hour depending on the size of the family.

Wrightco has locations across Pennsylvania, one in Cumberland, Md., and one in Ohio.

For more information, call Wrightco Technologies at 717-263-8142 or 800-372-5211.

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