The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 17, 2013

SUN Tech lands $24,000 grant

By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item

NEW BERLIN — There is a new lathe in the future of SUN Area Career and Technology Center, to be bought with nearly $24,000 received through the Career and Technical Education Equipment Grant program, the New Berlin school has learned.

SUN Tech is one of 25 vocational education schools in the state sharing a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced Tuesday.

Students studying precision machining will use the lathe, which will replace an obsolete one in the machine shop, Administrative Director Dennis Hain said.

The school learned about a week ago it would get the money.

“We feel fortunate to have received the money,” he said. “At the same time, we were hoping we’d get more.”

The grant was highly competitive; the state Department of Education received 63 applications requesting almost $3 million in grants.

The equipment grant aims to help schools buy state-of-the-art equipment that students would use in the workplace. Each school must match the grant dollar-for-dollar to purchase equipment that meets industry standards.

“Training students to be prepared to enter the workforce after high school requires advanced, hands-on training with the materials and equipment they are likely to face their first day on the job,” Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis said in a statement, noting Gov. Tom Corbett’s support for career and technical education as an option for students.

SUN Tech is a likely candidate for such funds. In 2011, it outscored all 86 vocational schools in Pennsylvania on a national performance test, and showed 100 percent student proficiency in six subjects.

“Denny is a wonderful person, and it’s really gratifying to see things continue and do good things for the community and youth,” said John Bohn, the school’s former administrative director and a member of the SUN Area Career & Technology Education Foundation, a charitable organization that raises money for the school and helps students in need with expenses such as uniforms, equipment of testing fees. “We see a lot of adults there now, too.”

SUN Tech’s welding program is getting ready to come back online, he said, having remodeled and renovated a heavy equipment area to accommodate the always-growing welding program.