ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A growing manufacturing program in the Saint Marys Area School District is gaining the support of the Wolf Administration.

The district was awarded a $200,000 grant through Pennsylvania’s Manufacturing PA Training-to-Career Program (MTTC). With the support of the funding, they’re launching “Dutch Manufacturing”, a student-run enterprise for a well-rounded, hands-on education in manufacturing.

“We’re changing the narrative on rural and we’re changing the narrative on manufacturing,” said Saint Marys Area School District Superintended Harley Ramsey.

Ramsey said it will provide students with an education from current industry professionals and prepare them for lucrative, life-sustaining jobs.

During a visit to the Saint Marys Area High School on Thursday, Acting Secretary of Department of Community and Economic Development Neil Weaver said granting Saint Marys the funding was a “no-brainer.”

“It addresses those root causes of the labor shortage, rather than just treating its symptoms,” said Weaver. “We need to let the students get hands-on, we need to connect the students with local manufacturers, which you’re doing here.” 

“Dutch Manufacturing” kicks off in the 2022-2023 school year. With a growing list of students signed up, the superintendent said they will be leveraging additional funding to expand their space.

“This is not a pipe dream, this is not a tomorrow thing,” said Ramsey. “This is happening right now.”