The partnership was made official on Thursday morning during an open house at CPI’s Transportation Training Center that showcased services provided for natural gas industries, said James Ruffalo, Case construction service development manager.
“I think it’s a way for both entities to progress in our mission to serve others,” Ruffalo said.
Case is a manufacturer of construction and agricultural equipment.
Ruffalo said that Case has been scouting North America to set up facilities for students and others in need of training. CPI is one of four Case training locations in the U.S. and Canada.
CPI will serve as the Case training facility for the northeast region, and will help educate students aspiring to get into the Marcellus Shale and natural gas-related industries with a Case emphasis.
Case will donate heavy diesel construction equipment to the institute, Ruffalo said. He did not know how many pieces of equipment would be donated, but said that the first items should arrive by this summer.
The Case emphasis program will allow each student to take one year of general diesel study followed by an additional year in a specific concentration, Ruffalo said.
Ruffalo said the program would serve about 16 to 24 students each year, while nearly 400 people would be able to train with the equipment in other fields.
Alyssa Butterworth, 16, of Snow Shoe, is studying heavy equipment. She said the program would provide hands-on experience with equipment she would likely use after graduation.
“It’s going to help make the future a smooth transition from here to the work force,” she said. “We’ll get to work and train on this kind of equipment and be prepared for when we get out.”
Todd Taylor, CPI spokesman, said the partnership with Case began a couple years ago with the help of local construction equipment dealer, Bellefonte’s Groff Tractor & Equipment.
When Case was looking for a new regional training facility, representatives at Groff suggested checking out CPI.
“In a shale-impacted area like Pennsylvania, it’s the prefect location to train students and implement this Case-sponsored program,” said Greg Grimes, Groff operations manager. “It’s a nice partnership and gives the ability to educate students with the mechanics of things and get them ready, and feed the gas industry with services.”
“We want to get the attention of the gas companies that we have workers ready for them as its a business that continues to grow,” Taylor said.
Eric Cowden, community outreach manager for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, said the biggest thing for the shale and natural gas industry is having well-educated workers.
“Train here, work here. That’s the mission,” Cowden said.