Pennsylvania State Grant to Buy Mechatronics Equipment for UMW Training Center

"Workers and their families in southwest Pennsylvania have seen their share of challenges, with many former coal workers seeking new jobs in manufacturing but lacking the necessary job skills to do so," Gov. Tom Wolf said. "UMWACC's renovated training center is providing opportunities for those workers, and this new grant enables UMWACC to expand that training even further into the in-demand field of mechatronics."

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced Oct. 15 the approval of a $1 million grant to United Mine Workers of America Career Centers, Inc. to support additional training opportunities at its training center currently undergoing extensive renovations and upgrades in Prosperity, Greene County. The training center will help train and build a competitive workforce in advanced manufacturing for coal communities in southwest Pennsylvania; the grant was provided through Wolf's Manufacturing PA initiative launched in 2017 and administered through the Department of Community and Economic Development.

In January 2018, the governor announced a $3 million grant through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to assist with construction costs for the training facility's renovation.

"Workers and their families in southwest Pennsylvania have seen their share of challenges, with many former coal workers seeking new jobs in manufacturing but lacking the necessary job skills to do so," Wolf said Oct. 15. "UMWACC's renovated training center is providing opportunities for those workers, and this new grant enables UMWACC to expand that training even further into the in-demand field of mechatronics."

Mechatronics is a field of engineering that includes a combination of mechanical engineering, robotics, electronics, computer engineering, telecommunications engineering, systems engineering, and control engineering, according to the Wikipedia page for the term.

The grant will provide $1 million to UMWACC for the purchase of mechatronics training equipment for the training center. When completed, the training center will focus on providing workforce development and re-employment opportunities for dislocated workers to get them the skills they need to land careers in advanced manufacturing and mechatronics. UMWACC is partnering with the Community College of Allegheny County to offer a 400-hour advanced manufacturing/mechatronics certificate program and expects 40 to 60 students enrolling in the program during the first two years of the program.

"The $1 million grant from DCED represents a key component in facilitating our training programs here in Ruff Creek," said Clemmy Allen, executive director of UMWACC. "The training equipment, primarily for our mechatronics training program, will help prepare residents of rural coal mining communities for employment in advanced manufacturing. Governor Wolf has previously provided a RACP grant to repurpose our training facility, and this DCED grant will provide hands-on training equipment to help us train workers for jobs with a future."

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