Training for Today’s High-Tech Jobs In the decade since it opened, Reading Area Community College (RACC)’s Schmidt Training and Technology Center (STTC) has become a key resource for incumbent workers from southeastern Pennsylvania’s diverse manufacturing base to upgrade their skills or for the under- employed to start on a career pathway in advanced manufacturing. The STTC is viewed by some regional employers as their main source of entry level manufacturing technicians in work environments that are increasingly dominated by sophisticated automated equipment. Employers also turn to the STTC to continue the training of current employees for industry recognized certifications that can be applied toward RACC’s technical Associate degrees in such fields as Mechatronics Engineering and Machine Tool Technology. The STTC has trained, retrained or educated several thousand individuals and worked with more than 125 different companies in the Greater Berks region. “Giving people knowledge and teaching them how to apply that knowledge on the job are the real benefit of the STTC,”said Bonnie Spayd,who has led the STTC since it opened. “It makes our workforce more effective, efficient and productive.” East Penn Manufacturing produces a wide range of commercial and industrial batteries. With a workforce of close to 7,000, the company is the STTC’s biggest partner. “East Penn has about 500 industrial maintenance specialists who keep the increasingly complex machinery running,” said Scott Hole, Corporate Maintenance Manager. “Most of them, at some point, have been trained at company cost and time in the Schmidt Center. Schmidt’s greatest asset is how the various curricula are geared to serve manufacturers’ immediate needs.” Chad Kramer was one of the first STTC students and has returned for training multiple times to advance to a controls engineer at East Penn. Chad says the STTC labs are a place where he can directly apply theory to practical workplace situations. Because his East Penn colleagues received similar training at STTC, Chad says,they “all have the same foundation.”