SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. | Lehigh Career & Technical Institute hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday for the school’s new Welding Technology Center.
A host of state and local officials joined LCTI staff and students for the event, which featured remarks from Pennsylvania Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani and state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie. LCTI Executive Director Thomas J. Rushton, Director of Career & Technical Education Kurt Adam and Joint Operating Committee Vice Chairperson Gary Fedorcha also spoke during the afternoon ceremony.
“Pennsylvania’s economic future depends on a well-educated and highly-trained workforce,” Cipriani said. “The expansion of LCTI’s welding program will give students hands-on training for a career or to continue their education. The program also gives local employers a pipeline of talented workers.”
Rushton said the Welding Technology Center has been in the works for two years and described it as a “major evolutionary step” in LCTI’s mission of workforce development. “For me, it is both humbling and exciting to see this project move from conception to reality,” he said.
The 12,000-square-foot facility will double the size of LCTI’s current Welding Technology program lab, offering 10,000 square feet of instructional space with the remainder devoted to storage. Included in the instructional space are 40 welding booths — up from 29 — and 10 work stations, which combined can accommodate 50 students simultaneously.
“Our students will have the opportunity to develop their skills in what will be the premier welding educational facility in Pennsylvania and the nation,” Adam said.
Spurred by unmet demand for welders and other skilled trades workers in the Lehigh Valley, the $4.25 million project will allow LCTI to grow and evolve one of its most popular Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing programs in a spacious facility outfitted with the latest equipment. LCTI secured a $50,000 state matching grant to offset the cost of equipping the addition.
“Welding continues to track high in both job openings and great pay here in the commonwealth. If someone has an interest in welding and gets the right education, he or she can likely find the perfect job right here in Pennsylvania,” Mackenzie said.
Slated to open in fall 2020, the Welding Technology Center will serve both Lehigh County high school students and adult learners.
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