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La Plume – Keystone College has received a $60,000 grant from the state of Pennsylvania to help high school students from nearby Lackawanna Trail High School obtain the credentials they need to become certified childcare professionals.

The college was awarded the funding as part of Gov. Tom Wolf’s PAsmart Pre-Apprenticeship Grant Program, which is being implemented by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry (L&I). L&I Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani visited Keystone on Monday, February 11 to announce the grant. She visited the college’s Oppenheim Family Children’s Center and toured other facilities related to job training and professional development.

The grant will enable students at Lackawanna Trail High School in neighboring Factoryville to take courses taught by Keystone faculty members which will lead to a Childcare Development Associate credential, enabling them to pursue careers as certified childcare professionals. The credits students earn can also be applied as college credits for students wishing to continue their education.

“We are extremely honored to receive this PAsmart Pre-Apprenticeship Grant from Governor Tom Wolf,” said Keystone College President Tracy L. Brundage, Ph.D. “This funding will allow Keystone College to develop and implement a curriculum which will provide local high school students and young adults with the skills and credentials needed to pursue rewarding careers as childcare professionals. We look forward to fulfilling our role as a leading educational institution in Northeastern Pennsylvania and improving the lives of those in our community. I would like to thank everyone at Keystone, particularly Dean of the School of Professional Studies Dr. Fran Langan and Executive Director of Sponsored Programs and Grants Elizabeth Ratchford, for their hard work and dedication in obtaining this valuable state funding.”

“Apprenticeship programs are a great example of state agencies and local businesses working together to help meet regional employment needs,” Ms. Cipriani said. “Governor Wolf wants Pennsylvania businesses to have access to a world-class workforce, and has proposed additional funding for the PAsmart initiative to further improve access to education, apprenticeships, and training programs for students and workers.”

The PAsmart Pre-Apprenticeship grant will help Keystone continue as one of the area’s leaders in education and career-training programs, including the Keystone Professional Development Institute. In addition to visiting the Children’s Center, Ms. Cipriani toured the college’s 3-D/Additive Manufacturing Center and visited with technology students and faculty members, as well as members of the local news media.

“We thoroughly enjoyed having Deputy Secretary Cipriani on campus this morning,” Dr. Brundage said. “I’m sure she learned a great deal about the many ways we prepare our students for successful careers after they graduate and we learned about the many job- training initiatives being implemented across the state which will help our workforce and our communities.”

Enrolling approximately 1,400 students, Keystone offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, fine arts, natural science, environmental resource management, geology, and social sciences. Located 15 minutes from Scranton, Pa. and two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, Keystone is known for small class sizes and individual attention focused on student success through internships, research, and community involvement.