The Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology was recently awarded an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant in the amount of $500,000 to support the school’s expansion project.

With the assistance of Delta Development Group, Inc. in Camp Hill, The Academy has secured over $7 million in state and federal funding to construct a heavy equipment/diesel technician training facility. The project will be located at The Academy’s existing campus at 700 Pitt Street, Lewistown, PA. The ARC funds will be used to purchase the heavy equipment utilized in the new programs.

“The goal of this expansion project is to provide local, affordable training opportunities and address the demand for a skilled workforce in rural PA,” explained Mike McMonigal, Supervisor of Adult Education at The Academy. “We are very grateful for the support of the Appalachian Regional Commission for investing in our local workforce development.”

The need for postsecondary education has been growing in recent years, as businesses report a lack of skilled workers to fill their open positions, and as the income gap between college and high school graduates widens. The need for a skilled workforce is also fueled by the manufacturing, construction, and transportation industries relying more heavily on technology. Employers in these industries and organizations are demanding that new hires and incumbent workers possess applicable skills and achieve industry certifications and licensures.

The Academy expansion project is expected to allow regional employers to create and fill currently vacant jobs rather than exporting related service work to other regions. This program will also help retain local talented youth who currently need to relocate to other areas to become properly trained to pursue these jobs. The Academy intends to train 20 students per program for a total of 40 students per year.

The Academy’s partnering employers estimate that they will be able to create 24 new jobs collectively in the first year that trainees are available. In total, these employers anticipate that during the nine-year analysis period, approximately 125 new jobs will be created, and 15 jobs will be retained.

SEDA-COG’s Betsy Lockwood, Director of Project Development and Grants, submitted the ARC application for the equipment on behalf of the Academy. The application itself was prepared by the Delta Development Group.

Regarding the benefits of the grant, Lockwood said, “The ARC investment into this project will enable industry sectors in the areas of transportation, warehousing, and construction to expand within Mifflin County and the SEDA-COG Region.”

The Appalachian Region Commission (ARC) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments including Pennsylvania.  PA’s Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) partners with ARC to identify and support projects that will build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in the Appalachian counties of Pennsylvania to reach socioeconomic parity with the nation.

SEDA-COG is a community and economic development agency in Lewisburg and is one of seven Local Development Districts in Pennsylvania. SEDA-COG enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in the 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives.