2014-03-22 / Front Page

Partnership plans to attack ‘brain drain’

A partnership to stem the region’s “brain drain” was spelled out to the Cameron County Board of Education at this month’s meeting.

Community Education Council (CEC) of Cameron and Elk Counties is spearheading the Discover Partnership. It seeks to keep young people from leaving the region by preparing them for local employment.

CEC is connecting businesses, schools and community organizations through on-the-job training, job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, new degree programs and non-credit training courses.

“Developing talent and human capital are imperative in a rural area facing severe population losses and limited resources,” CEC Executive Director Kate Lomax Brock said. “This partnership will show our young people that we have goodpaying jobs available and that they don’t need to leave the area to find a career.”

Lomax said that Embassy Metals has agreed to sponsor a partnership that will teach interested students the skills needed to become machinists and diesetters.

Guy and Mary Felt Manor, a personal care home in Emporium, has also joined the initiative. Felt Manor hopes to start a job shadowing program for students and young adults interested in becoming nurse’s aides or filling other open positions.

Beginning in early May, CEC will operate a computer lab next to the Pa. CareerLink offices at the Pro America Premium Tools facility in Emporium. Classes and workshops are planned dealing with social media, computer operating systems and other areas of technology.

Between 2000 and 2010, Cameron and Elk counties led the state in population decline. Cameron’s population fell by about 15 percent, while Elk’s dropped by close to 10 percent.

A large number of those residents left during the economic downturn that began in 2008. Many of the industries adversely affected by that recession have now rebounded, but the workers who left haven’t returned.

For more information on Discover Partnership, contact Jackie Lundy at 814-781-3437 or visit the website, discoverpartnership.org.

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