Dream It. Do It. PA

NCC Rededicates $1.8 Million Technology Hall

By Christopher Holland, Nov. 11, 2015 at 10:55 a.m.
Northampton Community College (NCC) rededicated Hartzell Technology Hall on Tuesday after investing $1.8 million in improvements to train students for future jobs in manufacturing.

Local manufacturers and business leaders attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony before touring the high-tech facility, which features new equipment used in modern manufacturing. Guests had the opportunity to tour 12 labs, including those devoted to metallurgy; instrumentation; mechanical systems; motors, controls and photovoltaic energy; heating and refrigeration; electronics; wiring; programmable logic controllers; computer-aided-design and 3-D printing.

The labs are being used by students in those specialties and in engineering, as well as for customized training for employees of local manufacturing firms.

The new equipment was purchased through part of a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that was shared by NCC, Lehigh Carbon Community College and Luzerne County Community College, through several partnerships with companies and corporations.

NCC spent nearly $1.1 million renovating the facility and more than $700,000 on new equipment.

The grant not only funded the equipment, but also enables the colleges and employers to update course content and teaching methods and to expand apprenticeships and internship opportunities.

According to the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., manufacturing in the Lehigh Valley grew by 4.1 percent from 2013-14 and now ranks 64th among 351 major U.S. metropolitan areas tracking that subcategory.

“Manufacturing is a growth sector, and the Lehigh Valley outpaces the rest of Pennsylvania and much of the country in manufacturing growth,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC.

The ribbon cutting was high-tech as NCC President Mark Erickson, Ph.D., blazed through a custom computer-aided-design aluminum plate in the shape of a ribbon with a plasma torch. Instead of a flame, the torch generates a plasma stream at a temperature of up to 25,000 degrees.

NCC’s Technology Hall opened in 1995 to help meet the region’s workforce needs. The building was later named after late county executive Eugene Hartzell in recognition of his leadership in economic development.

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State and Lehigh Valley Region Manager

Karen Buck
Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC), Allentown, Pa.