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They're joining forces to train Pa. work force

December 03, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The Nittany Lion has taken up residence in a corridor of the Franklin County Career and Technology Center.

A model of the Penn State mascot was moved in because the tech school is joining forces with the Penn State Mont Alto campus and the Franklin County Area Development Corporation to educate and train more employees for area businesses and industries.

The three entities have formed the Penn State Mont Alto Workforce Development and Technology Center at the tech school on Loop Road.

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Principals from all three - David Gnage, Penn State Mont Alto campus executive officer; James Duffy, director of the career and technology center; and L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, were at the Loop Road school Thursday to officially launch the new effort.

Its mission is to meet the development needs of the county by providing a more efficient and trained work force.

"The relationship between economic development and work force development is a critical issue as the area's economy grows," Ross said.

A skilled work force is needed in the computer technology, manufacturing and warehouse distribution industries, Ross said.

Also, the new partnership means that area companies can hold training classes at the career and technology center, Ross said.

Penn State is moving its satellite classrooms from Chambersburg Mall to the career and technology center, Gnage said.

"Together, we have created a more focused, efficient means to provide work force development training in Franklin County and the surrounding area," Gnage said. Duffy said the new partnership "is absolutely trend-setting with regard to addressing the work force development needs of the community. Many of our instructors have already worked with Penn State personnel to improve our programs, both secondary and adult. Our students see the relationship and are proud of the association."

All too often, Duffy said, "career and technical education is saddled with the perception that we are simply an alternative to regular education. The view that we are the school for the kids who are not college-bound has been all too common. The Penn State voyage that has been started is one piece of a much larger vision that we have developed to erase this perception."

Theresa Shank, assistant director of continuing education at the career and technology center, will meet with representatives of area businesses and industries to find out what kind of training and skills they will be looking for in employees.

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