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$10M state grant to help CCAC build Pittsburgh job training center

Bob Bauder
| Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, 2:24 p.m.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, that the state will contribute $10 million toward a $20 million workforce development center at the Community College of Allegheny County's main campus in Pittsburgh's North Side. The college will fundraise to come up with the other half. Wolf said it's the single largest investment made by the state to a community college since he took office in 2015.
NATASHA LINDSTROM / TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, that the state will contribute $10 million toward a $20 million workforce development center at the Community College of Allegheny County's main campus in Pittsburgh's North Side. The college will fundraise to come up with the other half. Wolf said it's the single largest investment made by the state to a community college since he took office in 2015.
Students were busy registering for classes and meeting with job placement advisers at the main campus of Community College of Allegheny County along Legacy Way in Pittsburgh's North Side on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
NATASHA LINDSTROM / TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Students were busy registering for classes and meeting with job placement advisers at the main campus of Community College of Allegheny County along Legacy Way in Pittsburgh's North Side on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017.
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald expresses gratitude on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Community College of Allegheny County for investing $10 million each in an expanded workforce training center at the college's main campus in Pittsburgh's North Side. One out of three Allegheny County residents have taken at least one class at CCAC across its several campuses in the region, according to Fitzgerald. Ninety-five percent of the community college's graduates stay and find work in Western Pennsylvania, school officials said.
NATASHA LINDSTROM / TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald expresses gratitude on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017 to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Community College of Allegheny County for investing $10 million each in an expanded workforce training center at the college's main campus in Pittsburgh's North Side. One out of three Allegheny County residents have taken at least one class at CCAC across its several campuses in the region, according to Fitzgerald. Ninety-five percent of the community college's graduates stay and find work in Western Pennsylvania, school officials said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced a $10 million grant Monday to help pay for the construction of a workforce development center at the Community College of Allegheny County's North Side campus.

CCAC officials said the community college will immediately start working to raise $10 million in matching funds necessary to secure the state grant.

Combined, the $20 million would fund a first phase of construction expected to start by fall of 2018, according to CCAC President Quintin B. Bullock.

“This is going to centralize our workforce development here in the heart of Pittsburgh,” Bullock said. “It will also allow us to introduce new technologies in fields that we currently do not offer, expanding in areas that we see the future's looking (bright) for, such as the autonomous technologies, the digital core, the plastics technology, the process technology, advanced manufacturing.”

Wolf, who toured the campus, said one of the region's biggest challenges is preparing workers for available skilled jobs. He said it's a big change from several years ago, when Pittsburgh struggled with finding ways to create jobs.

“The question is no longer that here in Western Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “It's where do we get skills? How do we get more skills and more people with the right skills to take the jobs that exist? I think the seeds of how we deal with that challenge are right here at the Community College of Allegheny County.”

Frederick Thieman, who chairs the community college's board of trustees, said members are expected to vote Thursday to accept the grant and approve a request for proposals from architects and engineers.

Thieman said the building would be in the heart of the Allegheny Campus near the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center and Student Services Center.

CCAC has not decided on the size of the building or its total cost. Thieman said the college would provide more information about costs and building design in coming months.

“It's been a dream of this college for decades to have an urban workforce development facility that's accessible to urban kids,” Thieman said. “We're committed to building a state-of-the-art, 21st century workforce building that takes advantage of the new subway and that kids from every community in Allegheny County can get here and learn new skills.”

Rodney Hubbard, 63, of Sewickley, who is retired and pursuing a teaching degree at the campus, said the center would help older returning students.

“That would be a good thing,” he said. “They need to make sure the information gets out to the public so everybody knows about it.”

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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