The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded $1.5M to Fayette County to construct a Health Sciences Workforce Development Center on the Fayette County Career and Technical Institute (FCCTI) campus. This 6,000 sq. ft. training center will allow FCCTI to enhance its Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program and meet the growing healthcare workforce needs in Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia.
Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP)’s Associate Director of Programming, Alanna Colvin, served as a consultant for FCCTI throughout the grant application process, facilitating introductions to key regional partners and helping them maintain a structured application procedure.
The technical school and PennTAP have worked together over the past several years to revitalize the community with sustainable energy technology and training opportunities.
“It is FCCTI’s goal to be a leader in workforce development and training in the local community, particularly as the community works to evolve their coal-impacted economy and face the current environmental challenges,” said Colvin.
PennTAP first established a relationship with FCCTI in 2018 as part of PennTAP’s first Building Re-tuning (BRT) workshop in western Pennsylvania.
In 2020, FCCTI, PennTAP, and Fay-Penn initiated a West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) grant project to evaluate the FCCTI facility for renewable energy, completing feasibility studies in wind, solar, and electric vehicle technology. Over the course of the project, FCCTI students had the opportunity to learn from PennTAP’s technical assistance team as they completed onsite alternative energy assessments.
As part of the project, PennTAP created and hosted a student club focused on alternative energy and technology. The club met with PennTAP periodically over the 2020-21 school year to learn about and discuss themed topics including wind as a renewable energy technology, solar energy, energy generation and conservation, and renewable energy projects led by the Penn State Sustainability Institute. PennTAP had guest expert speakers from Penn State and from industry come in to speak to the students and provide hands-on learning opportunities with the renewable energy technologies and sustainability practices.
“Our collaboration with PennTAP has grown to include student projects, property studies, building improvements, and funding opportunities that would not have been possible without the relationship,” said Dr. Cynthia Shaw, executive director of FCCTI.
As part of FCCTI’s campus expansion project funded by the ARC grant, the school has set aside space for a solar farm as well as greenhouses, which will be implemented after the completion of the health sciences center. Colvin said she will continue to open doors to resource partners for FCCTI so the school can reach their current grant goals successfully while also working towards building solar, wind, and electric vehicle technical programs in the future.
The Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) at Penn State is a federal, state and University partnership to stimulate statewide economic development. PennTAP helps organizations maximize their competitiveness through in-person consultations, unbiased technical advice, and connections to Penn State experts, resources, and programs.