Reading Area Community College will receive funding to provide young adults with basic manufacturing production and employability skills to help them get jobs with area manufacturers, Gov. Tom Wolf's office announced Thursday.
"One of the most important ways we can strengthen our manufacturing sector is by providing Pennsylvanians with the skills they need - both on-the-job and employability skills - to help them begin successful careers in manufacturing," Wolf said in a statement. "By working hand-in-hand with local partners and employers, RACC's new program will serve as a key initiative to support local manufacturers and strengthen the regional workforce."
The grant will provide $143,000 to RACC to develop a training-to-career program in which participants will attend full-time classes five days a week for six weeks.
Curricula will consist of basic production skills along with workplace behaviors, resume writing and interviewing skills.
Upon successful completion, all participants are guaranteed an interview with the core partners or companies including Berks Workforce Development Board, Brentwood Industries, Carpenter Technology, Cambridge-Lee Industries, Custom Processing Services, R-V Industries, RM Palmer and Sweet Street Desserts.
With successful funding, the first group of trainees is scheduled to enroll in the fall. In the inaugural year of the program, all tuition charges for participants will be waived.
Applications will be accepted beginning summer 2018.
"We are delighted to receive this funding and appreciate the commonwealth acknowledging the important role that our college, in concert with the Berks County Workforce Development Board, plays in moving people into manufacturing jobs," said Dr. Anna Weitz, president of RACC, in a statement.
"The economy of Berks County, and in fact, our entire region is fortunate to include so many companies involved in advanced manufacturing. Their continued success is highly dependent on an appropriately-trained workforce."
The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant is designed to provide funding for training programs to help unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector.
Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers.