PA Training to Career Grant Awarded to McDowell Manufacturing


ERIE —  An award of $197,363 from the PA Department of Community  & Economic Development Manufacturing Training to Career Grant Program was presented today at McDowell High School for a new initiative of the Millcreek Township School District (MTSD) and Northwest Industrial Resource Center (NWIRC). The grant will enable MTSD’s Manufacturing Academy, launched in January 2019, to take its program to a higher level by having students work to meet the needs of local manufacturers by manufacturing actual products.

“We have been listening to local manufacturing companies and are committed to meeting the needs of our community,” said Kyle Bucholtz, McDowell Manufacturing teacher, in a press release.

In the current Academy, students complete credited courses in topics such as technology, design, engineering, CNC machining, safety, and use of manufacturing equipment and software, including a 5-Axis CNC machine. “The new student-run manufacturing enterprise, known as McDowell Manufacturing, puts the information learned in their coursework to practice use as students produce actual parts, deliver services and add value as part of the supply chain for local manufacturers,” stated NWIRC President Bob Zaruta.

Over the course of an academic school year, students will learn about and perform different job functions in manufacturing, develop essential life-long skills, utilize advance manufacturing technologies and build relationships with local companies. According to a press release, at the same time this work readiness is occurring, capacity for local manufacturers is advancing, a short-term solution to job placement is under way, future talent pipeline issues are being addressed, and the next generation of manufacturing is being cultivated. Initial positions of the student-run enterprise will include production manager, machinists, business manager and marketing manager.

Through this experience, students will interact with local manufacturers, understand their requirements, key processes and performance metrics for production, quality and on-time delivery, and help advance manufacturing capacity. Through a collaborative exchange, students will have the opportunity to be mentored, gain expert insight and develop essential and advanced manufacturing skills. The working relationships established and developed will will position the students for future employment opportunities.

Early support for the new student‐run enterprise has been strong. Numerous manufacturers have noted their enthusiasm of McDowell Manufacturing because it will parallel the education that students receive with putting their skills to practical use.  Early supporters include: Matrix Tool, Inc., South Erie Production Company (SEPCO), EFI Connection, South Morgan Technologies, Erie Bronze & Aluminum Co., Eriez Magnetics, Onex, Inc., and Telerob USA, Inc., EFI Connections, Modern Industries and PHB. A strong Advisory Board is one of the key components to linking McDowell Manufacturing to the community. Members of the Advisory Board are Adam Jaroh ‐ Telerob USA, Inc.; Michael Noonan ‐ EFI Connections; Jerry Haas ‐ Haas Automation; Eric Confer ‐ Eriez Manufacturing; Erin McCracken ‐ PHB; Bill Hilbert, Jr., ‐ Reddog Industries, Inc.; Bob Zaruta & Andy Idzik ‐ NWIRC along with Darcie Moseley, Aaron O’Toole, Brian Fuller, and Kyle Bucholtz ‐ MTSD.

The proposed McDowell Manufacturing concept was supported by PA Senator Dan Laughlin and Representatives Ryan Bizzarro and Bob Merski, who represent residents of the MTSD.

The Training to Career grant is one of three components of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA Initiative. The grant program provides funding to support the creation of short-term work readiness programs, with an emphasis on supporting populations facing barriers to employment.

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