$3.5 Million Utility Training Center to Be Built Near Pittsburgh

"This is the first step in a unique project that will assure reliable services -- gas, electricity, water, sewer, and telecommunications -- are safely delivered to homes and businesses across Pennsylvania," said State Sen. Don White.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Aug. 20 announced state support for the construction of a 20-acre training facility in Armstrong County, near Pittsburgh, where students learning trades can get hands-on practice installing water, gas, electrical, and sewer lines. "One of the most important ways we can strengthen our workforce is to empower job seekers," Wolf said. "The development of this unique training facility in Armstrong County will give hands-on experience that will lead to real opportunities for Pennsylvanians looking for family-sustaining jobs."

The Armstrong County Industrial Development Council was awarded a $750,000 grant to construct the Critical Infrastructure Workforce Academy, which will feature residential, commercial, and industrial "neighborhoods" for students to practice handling a variety of standard and hazard scenarios, according to the state's announcement. The $3.5 million "city" also will have classrooms, locker rooms, field labs, meeting areas, office space, and kitchen areas. The school is expected to attract 15,000 students by the end of its fourth year, which will generate secondary economic growth while providing needed training.

"This is the first step in a unique project that will assure reliable services -- gas, electricity, water, sewer, and telecommunications -- are safely delivered to homes and businesses across Pennsylvania," said State Sen. Don White. "The Critical Infrastructure Workforce Academy is being developed within Northpointe to fill an existing void of properly trained workers in the utilities and energy sectors. Training our current and future labor force for the quality jobs available in the utility infrastructure sector must be a top priority for our region, and this funding will begin that effort."

The funding is supported through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

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