Penn State program helps educate local workforce
Penn State's Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) was recently presented with the 2006 Award for Excellence in Workforce Development from the University Economic Development Association (UEDA) for a new education program, designed in conjunction with Penn State Wilkes-Barre's Continuing Education department. The program, focusing on workforce development and customized training for local companies, has been credited with helping Nardone Brother's Pizza in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. gain the skills they need to satisfy the appetites of school children in 35 states and Mexico. Food safety, a critical training need to any food processing company, was the subject of the computerized training modules.
Joe Scharf, Nardone’s quality control manager and safety coordinator, called the program a very successful learning tool, custom-fit to the company's operation - even using actual photos of Nardone's equipment and facilities. In its early stages the program netted more than $74,000 in economic benefits, including 90 days times saved and 25 jobs saved for the family-owned Nardone’s Pizza.
Bill Paletski, PennTAP senior technical specialist and project leader, accepted the award for excellence during UEDA’s annual summit on higher education and economic development in Savannah, Ga. Faculty members of Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Food Science produced education content for the program. Continuing Education at Penn State Wilkes-Barre is directed by Ina Lubin.
Penn State Wilkes-Barre faculty members, Dr. Albert Lozano and William Bachman provided the English and Spanish voice-overs for the award-winning learning modules. Lozano is an associate professor of engineering at the local Penn State campus and Bachman teaches in the communication arts and sciences area.