Grant Awarded from Appalachian Regional Commission

George Kelly, NEPA Alliance Board Member; Katie Leonard, President & CEO of Johnson College; Kurt Bauman, NEPA Alliance VP of Community & Economic Development; Congressman Matt Cartwright; Paul Macknosky, PA Department of Community and Economic Development; State Representative Marty Flynn; Jeffrey Box, NEPA Alliance President & CEO; Tracey Pratt, Johnson College Manager of Development, and Larry West, Regional Director for Senator John Blake.


On October 18th,  the Northeastern Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA) presented Johnson College with a $76,974 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant. NEPA, in coordination with Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, assisted Johnson College in preparation of the grant and recommended the project to ARC for approval. The goal of this project is to update the technical training systems that Johnson College students utilize in obtaining an educational experience that reflects the latest developments in materials, tools, machinery, equipment, methods and techniques; ultimately allowing for quicker response to industry labor needs.  The $76,974 grant, combined with $76,974 in matching funds from Johnson College, will be used to purchase 12 different “Training Systems” which guarantee the students practical experience with high-technology tools and resources that employers expect them to show proficient use of during their first professional positions in industry.  It will offset the cost of educational equipment in support of Advanced Manufacturing, Electronic Engineering, Automotive, Diesel, Electrical Construction & Maintenance, and Welding Technology programs, creating an outstanding learning experience for students.

Being ranked #10 on Forbes “Top 25 Two-Year Trade Schools: Colleges That Can Solve The Skills Gap,” this grant opportunity helps ensure Johnson College students have the opportunity to master the skills needed to enter high priority occupations in the ARC region in a way that meets the most current industry standards and provides a family sustaining wage. Congressman Matt Cartwright commended Johnson College on its recent Forbes ranking by mentioning how the institution is contributing to a large issue that he discusses often with business owners in Pennsylvania, “not enough skilled workers.”

President Katie Leonard commented, “Not only has the economy become increasingly dependent on STEM jobs, but the students of today have become more cognizant of the investment in a post-secondary degree. Technical education is the right investment for Pennsylvanians who are ready to get to work to earn a family-sustaining wage.”

She also explained, “This grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission has so many positive implications for the programs it supports. Equipment is a major expense for technical colleges because it is critical that students learn on industry standard equipment that mirrors what they will use during their internships and on the job as new technicians. Equipment in the classroom should not only mirror equipment of today, but institutions are always considering technology and learning tools to prepare them for the future as well. Industry depends on us for this.”

About NEPA:

The NEPA Alliance, a regional community and economic development agency, serves the seven counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania including Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne. NEPA Alliance services include Business Financing, Government Contracting Assistance, International Trade Assistance, Nonprofit Assistance, Transportation Planning, Research and Information, and Local Government Services. For more information about NEPA visit or call 866-758-1929.  “This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

About ARC:

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.