HARRISBURG -- In a major boost for education and employment opportunities in the region, Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) and Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-25) have announced $2 million in state funding to support the development of facilities for engineering and technology at Pitt-Bradford.
“This project has the potential to breathe new life into our economy,” Causer said. “It gives area students the opportunity to pursue rapidly growing career fields, especially in engineering and information systems and it gives local employers peace of mind that a supply of highly trained and qualified workers will be available to meet their needs. This is certainly a win-win for northwest and northcentral Pennsylvania.”
The lawmakers said area manufacturers and other employers have consistently expressed a need for engineers to support their operations, and local university officials have been working for many years to bring engineering programs to Bradford to fill that need.
“This state funding will be a tremendous asset for our region,” Scarnati said. “All too often, students who leave the area to pursue engineering degrees do not return despite the job opportunities that exist in the region. Once these programs are up and running, we will be in a better position to keep our young people here and to retain the manufacturing jobs we have, as well as recruit new opportunities.”
The grant funding will be used toward the development of a building to house engineering labs, engineering shops, computer labs, and other specialized spaces to support new programs meeting local needs, along with classrooms, offices and storage space.
University officials praised the grant as a vital investment in meeting the needs of both students and employers.
“Beyond helping us drive growth and greater opportunity, these funds deliver a strong message of support to the University of Pittsburgh's Bradford campus and community,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “Thank you, Sen. Joe Scarnati and Rep. Marty Causer, for leading this charge to invest in Pitt-Bradford and its future.”
Dr. Larry Feick, interim president of Pitt-Bradford, agreed. “We are very grateful to our state legislators, especially Sen. Scarnati and Rep. Causer, as well as to Gov. Wolf for their support. This grant will be critical to us in developing the facilities which will make it possible for us to offer new academic programs and expand existing ones. This is an investment that will provide benefits for many years to multiple generations of Pitt students, as well as to the companies in the region who will hire our graduates.”
Funding for the project was authorized by lawmakers in the Capital Budget Project Itemization Act and was released by Gov. Tom Wolf.