TOWANDA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani on Thursday toured the Northern Tier Career Center (NTCC) in Towanda to discuss the importance of investing in job training for student and adult workers to get the skills they need to compete for growing careers in Bradford and Sullivan counties.

“Promoting career and technical education programs like these at NTCC ensures we have a job-ready workforce to meet local employers’ needs,” said Cipriani. “In addition to academic proficiency and solid technical training, the center also provides students with employability skills to build a firm foundation for successful careers or post-secondary education upon graduation.”

Gov. Tom Wolf’s workforce development initiative, PAsmart, is preparing Pennsylvania students and workers for fast growing careers. The governor secured $70 million for PAsmart over two years, including $40 million for science and technology education and $30 million for apprenticeships and job training programs.

Cipriani toured some of NTCC’s job training programs for high school students including Machine Tool Technology to observe the use of manual machinery; web design and internal hardware rebuilding in Information Technology; the oil furnace repair lab in HVAC, as well as adult students getting hands-on experience in the Licensed Practical Nurse program’s simulation lab.

“The labor market and need for a more skilled labor force has propelled our vocational school into the model you see today. Our Career Center is now focused on providing a BOTH/AND model for all students. Meeting the needs of vocational, academic, and employability skills allows students the opportunity to prepare for a career and college/post-secondary education and military experiences” said Gary Martell, NTCC Director. “To prepare for the demands of the workforce gap, students complete industry certifications in all programs of study that verify the skills they’ve mastered, such as PA State Auto Inspection License, Certified Nurse Aide certification, and PA State Cosmetology License, and OSHA safety certifications. These are extremely valuable, especially to the 50% of our graduates who enter the workforce directly.”

NTCC students can also earn college credits, giving them a jump-start on their education after high school. The Penn College NOW program has allowed students to earn 248 credits at no cost to them, saving their families approximately a quarter of a million dollars over the past two years alone. Credits are offered through Penn State Wilkes Barre in information technology and many colleges also award credit to students for the work they’ve completed at NTCC through statewide SOAR and individual articulation agreements. These opportunities are exceptionally important, as nearly half of recent graduates have attended college.

NTCC is owned and operated by the eight school districts in Bradford and Sullivan counties: Athens, Canton, Northeast Bradford, Sayre, Sullivan County, Towanda, Troy, and Wyalusing. There are more than 400 high school students enrolled in the transportation, construction, manufacturing, information technology, and health, hospitality, and human services programs. NTCC also has adult students in the Licensed Practical Nursing and PA State Auto Inspection License programs.

For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit www.PAsmart.gov.

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