On November 4th, Northern Pennsylvania Regional College (NPRC) celebrated the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of their new facility in Erie, located on West Ridge Road. The Education and Training Center – Erie is the first of several planned facilities that give students access to both academic classes and a wide range of workforce development training opportunities that require the use of larger equipment and specialized training aids. This facility combines traditional classroom space with significant industry-specific laboratory space.
The Education and Training Center – Erie includes hands-on, state-of-the-art precision machining and industrial maintenance technology labs, an Early Childhood Education learning lab set up to model the classroom space early education teachers may work in, a science lab, a nurse’s aide/medical lab, and 14 general classrooms equipped with video technology. It is serviced by two Erie bus routes.
NPRC invested nearly $989,000 in equipment and building updates to allow students the opportunity to work with the most current technology used in our region’s industries. Some of the equipment in these spaces include lathes, milling machines, hydraulics and pneumatics training equipment, a robot that performs advanced industrial automation processes, and electrical motor controls.
Guests were welcomed from across NPRC’s service area to learn more about this “very much-needed” facility, as described by Senator Dan Laughlin, 49th District. He continued to share that this facility “gets our young people, and even some of our adults that are trying to move up in the workforce, some of the training they need to advance in their life.” This message was echoed by Representative Roae, 6th District, who shared his excitement and appreciation for the number of different choices our area students have for postsecondary education. “Different students have different learning methods that they succeed the most in using. I think the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College is a model that’s really good for a lot of students.”
As an effect of an untrained workforce or limited access to a trained workforce, missed opportunities are occurring that directly result in the stagnation of business growth. Erie business owner and NPRC Board Member, Andy Foyle, is excited for this educational opportunity because he believes that “a strong workforce is essential for a vibrant economy.”
Representative Curt Sonney, 4th District, and Jake Rouch, Vice President of Economic Development with the Erie Chamber and Growth Partnership, both agreed. They see education as a key economic driver for our region. Rouch spoke about the “workforce crisis” in our community and how those “who connect employers with training providers and funding streams out there and work as a team are the ones who are going to get more people trained and back into careers.”
Classes began in Fall 2021 at the Education and Training Center – Erie. NPRC looks forward to bringing more students into their classrooms and continuing to provide the much-needed training to our region’s workforce.