PA Region Reports Manufacturing-Related Student Enrollments Rise 36 Percent

Enrollment has surged at three of the region's career & technical schools: Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School, and the Career Institute of Technology.

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ALLENTOWN, PA — Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), based in Allentown, Pennslyvania, has announced a 36 percent increase in manufacturing related student enrollments in three of the region’s career & technical schools: Lehigh Career and Technical Institute (LCTI), Bethlehem Area Vocational-Technical School (BAVTS), and the Career Institute of Technology (CIT).

MRC led the “Skill Up” grant initiative to address the manufacturing skills gap and change the outdated image of manufacturing. This successful outreach continues to include manufacturing tours for guidance counselors, teachers, school administrators and superintendents of area school districts. Lehigh Valley manufacturers also hosted tours for more than 2,000 students. The “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” Student Video Contest allows manufacturers to connect directly with students and generates the excitement that draws students toward manufacturing career paths. It is important for students and parents to understand that today’s manufacturing has interesting, good paying jobs and does not rely on outdated machinery and unskilled labor, but on strong science, technology, engineering and math skills. This initiative has gotten their attention.    

“The entire country is seeing a decrease in the number of skilled workers pursuing careers in manufacturing, yet we are experiencing an increase in enrollment numbers across the Lehigh Valley,” states Jack Pfunder, President and CEO of MRC.

As technology advances, so does the demand for highly skilled workers. The rising number of manufacturing enrollments is a positive indicator that we can fill the pipeline of workers. MRC’s focus now is on sustaining the momentum so manufacturing companies can thrive, grow jobs and improve our economy. “We are proud of what has been done to change the image of manufacturing in the region,” says Pfunder, “MRC will continue to help manufacturers grow and fill jobs with employees who have the right knowledge, skills and abilities.”

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