Programs Integrate Live Work into Curriculum

Kneeling – Students Matthew Parry, Bryan Fuentez, and Duncan Cordaro. Second row – Frank Mickavicz, ’90, Electrical Construction & Maintenance Technology Assistant Department Chair; Nick Brajuka, Construction Manager; Jesse Ergott, President & CEO of NeighborWorks NEPA; Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College; and Jen Dougherty, Director of Finance and Operations for NeighborWorks NEPA. Top row – Students Brian Sokol, Robert Buck, Joseph Van Winckle.

Throughout the upcoming semesters, Electrical Construction and Maintenance, Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning, and Carpentry & Cabinetmaking students will work on a live project for NeighborWorks Northeast PA. Under the direction of NeighborWorks staff and their Johnson College instructors, they will contribute to a range of construction work at the property, located in Clarks Summit, PA. This project is a combination of community service and live lab work where class curriculum is brought to an ongoing project.

President & CEO of NeighborWorks Northeast, PA Jesse Ergott, said, “We have a dual focus on a project like this one. First, we want to improve the property to have a positive visual and economic impact on the neighborhood. Secondly, we love to see homes like these go to first-time homebuyers, many of whom are making their first significant investment. That being said, we don’t restrict who can ultimately purchase the home.” He also mentioned how well Johnson College students fit with the mission of the non-profit. “The students we work with are skilled, responsible, and excited to be giving back to the community. Their work helps us to keep our project costs down and to reinvest the savings into future projects. We also appreciate the credibility and visibility that working with Johnson College brings to our work and mission.”

According to Johnson College’s chief academic officer, Kellyn Nolan, “It is important for our students to work on live projects. Not only do they gain the opportunity to make an impact on a real project, but they get to see first-hand what the job site is like and how it is managed.”

Katie Leonard, President and CEO of the College is proud to see students contributing to projects that serve others. “Live lab work is an opportunity for instructors and students to apply classroom training in the real world. Students experience their education.  And in this case, for a nonprofit that has shown dedication to serving its community.”