A group of students will begin a new program Tuesday at the Community College of Allegheny County, created to meet the demand for workers in plastic manufacturing.
The demand for skilled workers in that area is expected to grow as baby boomers retire, and the addition of the Shell cracker plant is likely to attract more companies to the area looking for local talent.
With help from a $150,000 state grant, the school created the Plastics Manufacturing Technology Certificate program to create a pipeline of skilled workers for companies looking to set up shop near the Beaver County plant. The college is paying for the program and full scholarships for 35 students over two years.
“When people move to an area it’s not because ‘OK, my raw material supplier is close, so that’s good I can get what I need quickly,'" said Pam Grove, manufacturing grant coordinator with CCAC. "They also want to know if there are people there who know how to work at [their] facility."
The school is also partnering with regional plastics manufacturers to offer internships to trainees while they are in school.
Grove worked to recruit people with barriers to employment, those who had been unemployed over time or recently laid off.
The two semester program will prepare students for a plastic technician or operator, which are both entry-level positions.