In Berks County, a grassroots effort is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers who can’t stay home during the
In Berks County, a grassroots effort is providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to workers who can’t stay home during the COVID19 pandemic. The Berks PPE Resource Network is a consortium of people at area organizations including hobbyists and engineers working to 3D print face shields. Reading Area Community College (RACC) is one of the organizations participating.
Working closely with the PPE Resource Network and American Polarizers, a Reading-based precision engineered optics company, the Schmidt Training and Technology Center (STTC) on the RACC campus, has been transformed into a temporary face shield manufacturing and assembly hub. Led by STTC Director Bonnie Spayed, the facility has been producing full face protective shields and 3D printed face shield brackets as quickly as they can. “We will shortly have produced close to 3,000 face shields that will immediately be used in the field by police and emergency responders. I am so proud to be a part of this group of people who have come together to get this done for our community. Our STTC staff has been very creative and resourceful in pulling all the pieces together and producing and assembling this gear for our local heroes who are working hard to keep us safe during this pandemic,” says Spayd.
According to PPE Resource Network organizer Ellen Albright, director of talent and workforce development at Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, the partners were wondering how to harness existing 3D-printing resources to produce PPE for front-line workers.
“Instead of getting stuck in those questions — ‘How do we do that?’ or ‘What happens next?’ — we kept tapping this ad hoc committee that we had,” says Albright. “Take your piece of this and let’s run. Build the plane while you’re flying, because it’s not anything any of us had done before.”
It’s not only hospital workers who need the shields, though their PPE needs have understandably gotten the spotlight. According to Adelle Schade, a Network organizer and founder of the nonprofit Albright Science Research Institute, people like police officers, firefighters, Game Commission staffers, postal workers, grocery-store clerks, and even private-practice physicians have been going without face-shields while doing their essential jobs. The PPE Resource Network is fixing that.
Reading, PA – Reading Area Community College hosted over 130 Berks County middle school students, teachers and
Reading, PA – Reading Area Community College hosted over 130 Berks County middle school students, teachers and administrators for their third annual STEM Day on Friday, November 8th.
Students from Tulpehocken, Reading, Wilson, Kutztown, Brandywine, Oley Valley, Conrad Weiser, Antietam and Daniel Boone School Districts conducted hands-on experiments using techniques and procedures in the areas of geocaching, chemistry, robotics, physics, medical lab technology, respiratory therapy and even simulated crime scene investigations using forensics technology. The experiments were designed to help get students excited about how fun science can be as a career path and encourage them to make positive future life and career choices.
“We’re focused on developing strategies and fun programming for young people that encourage a passion for STEM. This is our third annual STEM Day and it’s a wonderful chance to show the students from Berks County school districts and the Berks community what is happening in STEM at RACC; and how our young people can prepare to take these areas to an exciting new level in the future,” says RACC President Dr. Susan Looney.
After extensive renovations in the spring and summer of 2017, RACC’s labs are dedicated to every segment of the STEM division, incorporating applied engineering and technology, physical and life sciences, and health sciences. The chemistry and physics labs were relocated into the Schmidt Training and Technology Center to better integrate both areas into the workforce development and applied engineering programs.
“In just three years, STEM Day has become a beloved RACC tradition for our K12 partners’ middle school students and teachers. Our faculty and staff have as much fun as the kids, and I’m especially proud of RACC colleagues who share their talents and time on STEM Day. A truly remarkable day for STEM education in Berks County,” says RACC Director of Academic Partnerships, Jodi Corbett.
To learn more about the STEM programs at RACC please call 610.607.6224 or visit RACC STEM programs.
Technology, Talent and Cyber Security Featured at the SMART Automation Summit at Reading Area Community College
Reading, PA – On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Schmidt Training and Technology Center on the Reading Area Com
Reading, PA – On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Schmidt Training and Technology Center on the Reading Area Community College campus hosted over 125 local and regional manufacturing leaders and vendors for a SMART Automation Summit. Working with the business strategy and consulting firm Nimble Leader, the summit featured keynote speakers Craig McAtee, executive director at the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers, Nimble Leader Managing Directors, Steve Van Valin, founder and CEO of Culturology and T. Brett Wilmotte, director of cyber security for Enterprise Ventures Corporation.
“Smart Manufacturing is the 4th Industrial Revolution that uses the internet of things to create interconnected manufacturing systems that communicate, analyze and use this information to drive intelligent decisions/ actions back to physical equipment and processes. As an educational institution, our goal is to provide learning and resources for both employers and students to improve manufacturing technology and talent readiness as we transition into a SMART Automation era,” says Bonnie Spayd the Reading Area Community College executive director of workforce & economic development.
The event also highlighted state-of-the-art technology demonstrations on electronic sensors, cloud and robot integration, networking and cloud-based manufacturing.
“The Automation Summit serves as a great platform to exchange ideas around the impact of technology in the manufacturing markets, and explore new technologies for current and future manufacturing,” says Mike Salute, Reading Area Community College director of workforce development.
In additional to guest speakers and demonstrations, breakout workshops were held during the afternoon. Workshops ranged in topic from sales lead generation, optimization and conversion, to corporate branding and robotics automation.
For more information about programs at the Schmidt Training and Technology Center, call 610.372.4721 or visit sttc.racc.edu.
The Schmidt Training and Technology Center will host the SMART Automation Summit on Thursday, October 3, 2019.
The Schmidt Training and Technology Center will host the SMART Automation Summit on Thursday, October 3, 2019. Networking and coffee will begin at 7:30 am at the Miller Center for the Arts.
The summit will feature three keynote speakers:
- Craig McAtee from the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers will help us demystify SMART Automation
- Nimble Leader’s Steve Van Valin will bring to life extensive research on employee engagement.
- EVC’s Brett Wilmotte will share solutions for addressing cyber threats in manufacturing
In addition to the keynotes there will be SMART Technology demonstrations and multiple Industry 4.0 Workshops.
Learn more and register
Reading Area Community College, Kutztown University, and Career & Technology Centers Launch Teacher Education Pathway
Reading, PA – On August 20, 2019, Reading Area Community College (RACC) President Dr.
Reading, PA – On August 20, 2019, Reading Area Community College (RACC) President Dr. Susan Looney and Kutztown University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson signed an agreement for Kutztown University (KU) to teach a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSED) with Prek-4 Teacher Certification program at Reading Area Community College’s (RACC) campus starting fall 2020.
The agreement frames a teacher certification pathway through leveraging Berks County public institutions, Reading Area Community College, Kutztown University, Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Centers, and Berks Career and Technology Center and addresses workforce projections for qualified early childhood teachers in the region.
Students will be able to begin taking college courses this fall at the Career Technology Centers (CTC) through the Teacher Academy, a college-credit bearing career pathway in CTC Early Childhood Education taught at both CTC’s. Students will be able to complete their AAS in Early Childhood Teaching in a year after graduating from high school before transitioning to Kutztown University’s BSED (PreK-4 Certification) program offered at RACC’s campus. At the center of these agreements, which creates a seamless pathway from the CTC’s to Kutztown University, are the students who graduate from RACC’s AAS Early Childhood Teaching program and need an accessible and affordable pathway to better employment opportunities through earning a Bachelor of Science in Education in the community where they live, work, and raise their families.
“The BSED at RACC’s campus will help our students achieve their career goals and help our community with well-trained early childhood teachers. These students want to stay in Berks County and teach our very youngest students in Berks County. To partner with the Career Technology Centers so high school students can begin their career programs with college credit helps accelerated the pathway to completion,” says Dr. Susan Looney.
For more information about KU – BSED Cohort starting fall 2020 at RACC’s campus, please contact Jim Garraway, KU’s Assistant Director of Transfer Admissions, 610.683.4787. For more information about the Teacher Academy contact Jodi Corbett, director of academic partnerships/special assistant to the president, 610.607.6219.