With technological advances in the manufacturing industry growing at an exponential rate, it’s more important than ever for employers to have access to multiple educational and training options that will provide the qualified and skilled workforce base they need to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Several colleges and universities within minutes of Greater Hazleton offer educational and customized training programs that are ideal for current and future employees. In addition to on-site employee training programs, educational courses are available at several colleges across Northeastern PA. The list includes four of Penn State University’s branch campuses, Luzerne County Community College, McCann School of Business and Technology, Johnson College, Keystone College, Lehigh Carbon Community College and Lackawanna College.
McCann School of Business and Technology, which has a campus located directly in the Humboldt Industrial Park, provides employers throughout Greater Hazleton with a convenient, localized solution to their workforce training needs. Employers will receive a reduction in training costs when employees attend McCann’s Hazleton campus and either work toward an Associate in Specialized Technology degree in Commercial and Industrial Maintenance or Welding Technology or take individual courses that fall under one of the programs. The discount is possible because of Pennsylvania CareerLink® Luzerne County’s ability to assist employers with funding for employee training for any position that’s listed on the high-priority occupations list.
William Burke, director at McCann’s Hazleton campus, said the school consulted with corporations in Humboldt Industrial Park to design the programs to meet the specific needs of the local manufacturing industry.
“We noticed a need within the local industrial parks for skilled maintenance technicians and formed an advisory committee with area employers to develop the Commercial and Industrial Maintenance Technician program, which provides skills training in diverse commercial and industrial areas that are found throughout the manufacturing sector,” he said. “Since its inception, the program’s placement opportunities have been fantastic. Over the past three years, the program is averaging more than a 90 percent placement rate. Many of our current students are already employed within the Greater Hazleton industrial parks and are attending McCann to enhance their skills. This gives them an opportunity to move up within their company while providing skilled trade employees to the local employers.”
Luzerne County Community College’s Continuing Education Department and Center for Business Solutions and Customized Training offers a variety of educational resources to companies via courses on-site at the company’s location or at one of several LCCC campuses in Northeast PA, including its downtown Hazleton location.
LCCC’s trainers and professional staff assist industries by customizing the training to employer specifications. They also help employers prepare grant applications for the training programs. David Sawicki, director of the Center for Business Solutions and Customized Training, said his staff has a general framework for the training options and will meet with company executives to find out what their needs are in order to adapt that general framework into a customized training program that meets their current needs.
“We have worked with quite a few companies in the Humboldt Industrial Park to design training programs that meet their unique specifications. We have offered training courses covering a variety of topics and also designed customized customer service training programs and industrial maintenance training,” Sawicki said. “The unique thing about our program is that we can adapt these general courses to provide a company with courses that meet their immediate needs and we can deliver the programs on-site to make them convenient for the employer and the workforce.”
LCCC’s many programs include an Industrial Maintenance Technician certificate and American Management Association certificate programs in manufacturing and management. Additionally, the college offers specialized certifications in industrial electricity, industrial motor controls, programmable logic controllers, basic fundamentals of welding and photovoltaic (solar panel) installation.
Penn State University’s Hazleton campus is also among the many regional colleges that offer customized training programs for manufacturing companies. Debra Conway, director of Penn State Hazleton’s office of continuing education, said the university’s continuing education program offers many services to area companies to help them develop their workforce and competitive advantage. “Penn State Hazleton can partner with a company to design college credit programs offered at the business to meet the organizational development needs of the workforce. Classes can be conducted on-site at times convenient to the organization,” Conway said.
In Penn State Hazleton’s Industrial Maintenance certificate program, students receive a certificate from Penn State University’s College of Engineering at the completion of the program. An American Production Inventory Control Society (APICS) certificate program in production and inventory management is also available at the college. Certificate programs are also offered for logistics supply chain management and supply chain and materials management.
An area manager who recently attended a Penn State Hazleton management development program said, “The instructor’s mastery of material, effective teaching style, use of relevant examples, and recommended tools and techniques really made a difference. I’ve never seen a group more enthusiastic and pumped up about improving their businesses and working together as a team.”