SRU receives state grant to fund student internships with local manufacturers


Man  conducting an inspection

Slippery Rock University students will have the opportunity to work as interns with local food and beverage manufacturers thanks to a $179,181 grant through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Program.

May 17, 2022

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Slippery Rock University students and three western Pennsylvania manufacturing companies will benefit from an internship program funded by Pennsylvania's Department of Community and Economic Development. Gov. Tom Wolf has announced SRU as the recipient of a $179,181 grant through Pennsylvania's Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Program, which will support a student internship program at food and beverage manufacturing facilities in Allegheny, Butler and Erie counties.

"This paid internship program will give students the invaluable hands-on experience and skills they need to be job-ready for careers in Pennsylvania's food and beverage manufacturing industry," said Gov. Wolf in a statement released by the DCED and the Governor's Office. "The program will also greatly benefit the participating manufacturers by developing a highly skilled pool of potential hires to choose from after the interns graduate."

Through the program, six SRU students will be paid a $12 hourly wage to work as interns during the summer semesters in 2022 and 2023 at companies that include 5 Generation Bakers in McKees Rocks, Allegheny County; Puppy Cake in Portersville, Butler County; and Shearer's Foods in Waterford, Erie County. Interns will receive short-term work readiness training in manufacturing industry protocols, safety training and entry-level skills needed to obtain employment upon their graduation.



SRU has established partnerships with manufacturers in the region through a separate grant-funded program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency related to sustainability. That is one of the reasons why SRU was an ideal recipient of the DCED funding, according to Paul Scanlon, SRU director of sustainability, who applied for the grant.

"This grant provides a great opportunity for our students to acquire manufacturing industry experience while helping them earn money to make their education more affordable," Scanlon said. "It also benefits local manufacturers by helping address workforce needs, not only through immediate internships, but by training future contributors and leaders of their industries. We're grateful for this opportunity provided by DCED, which will complement and continue to grow our existing partnerships with local food and beverage manufacturers."

According to the terms of the MTTC, interns will also be mentored in the development of higher-level skill sets needed in the manufacturing industry, such as providing sustainability consulting services that manufacturers' clients demand, in order to reduce the client's supply chain greenhouse gas emissions. These skills could include methods of assessing and optimizing manufacturing processes and reducing building energy, water and waste, all of which will lower operating costs and make companies more competitive in their markets.

Interns have already been recruited for the program and will begin their employment at the three facilities June 1.

More than 70 projects and $16.1 millions have been funded through the MTTC, which is part of Gov. Wolf's Manufacturing PA initiative that was launched in October 2017. The training-to-career grants support projects that result in short-term work-readiness, job placement, or the advancement of manufacturing. Similar MTTC projects have helped local manufacturers to identify and teach missing essential skills for entry-level applicants seeking manufacturing employment, engage youth or those with barriers to career opportunities in manufacturing, and/or advance capacity for local or regional manufacturers.

More information about the MTTC and Wolf administration's commitment to manufacturing are available on the DCED website.

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