For years, students in Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center’s machining program have used manual lathes to cut, sand and shape components – a valuable skill but one many companies no longer rely on in today’s age of computerized technology.
Now, the the Richland Township vocational school will have the modern machinery to keep pace, said John Augustine, the school’s administrative director.
Through a $50,000 grant through the state Department of Education, the school is adding a 10-tool CNC – or computerized numerical control – lathe and four other pieces of equipment that will support four training programs for high demand careers across the region, he said.
That means new tools for 100 students in the machine shop, automotive department, diesel technology and collision repair, Augustine said.
“It’s going to get our students five state-of-the-art pieces of equipment we couldn’t afford on our own,” he said. “The CNC machine itself is $43,000.”
Other additions will include:
• A remote-controlled heavy duty lift that will enable the diesel technology department to lift and work underneath multi-ton tractors.
• An on-car brake lathe, which will allow students to resurface rotors without removing them from vehicles.
• An “industrial-sized” sand blasting cabinet to prep parts for painting.
• A multi-unit processing welder for the collision repair shop that is adaptable for Metal Inert Gas (MIG), stick and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding.
Augustine said the equipment was needed.
When students in the machine shop enter the workforce, it’s more than likely they’ll be working with CNC lathes like the one the school is purchasing. Most modern auto shops use on-car lathes to save time on brake work and keep cars moving through their bays, he added.
To meet grant requirements and cover the cost for all five items, Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center is matching the grant with $50,000 in its own funds, Augustine said.
Augustine thanked state Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-Richland Township, for recognizing the role career and technology centers are playing in preparing a new generation of workers for Pennsylvania jobs.
He said state equipment funding for schools such as Greater Johnstown CTC has been ramped up in the past few years.
Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center’s $50,000 grant was one of 32 awarded statewide through a $1.2 million state investment.
Clearfield County Career and Technology Center received $7,636.
“This valuable program provides much-needed funding to our Career and Technology Centers,” said Langerholc, who toured the Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center earlier this year with Augustine.
“I am pleased to see two Career and Technology Centers have been awarded funding in the 35th Senatorial District,” the Senate’s education committee chairman said.
“This funding will assist these centers with purchasing equipment to train students for high-demand jobs.”
David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst and Instagram @TDDavidHurst.