ActivePaper Archive NCC branch opens in McKeesport - Mon Valley Independent, 6/14/2019

NCC branch opens in McKeesport

The nonprofit offers free training in job skills.


Jeff Stitt / Mon Valley Independent Cutting the ribbon Thursday at New Century Careers’ new McKeesport location in the Tube City Center, from left, are NCC board members Charles Hancock and Carol Wooten, NCC president and CEO Paul Anselmo, state Rep. Austin Davis, D-McKeesport, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, state Sen. Jim Brewster, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and NCC board member Terri Campbell.

There is officially a new career training program in McKeesport, and its board members say people who sign-up will “rapidly” learn a trade and be able to compete in the skilled-labor workforce.

Leaders of New Century Careers were joined Thursday by Mon Valley residents, area elected officials and prospective students for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Tube City Center for Business and Innovation.

NCC is a South Side-based nonprofit workforce development organization with a dual client mission to support pre-employment and incumbent manufacturing workers as well as their current or future employers. NCC aims to help each set of clients advance economically through continuous education and training, according to NCC president Paul Anselmo.

At its McKeesport location, located on the second floor of the former Daily News Building, NCC will host the MANUFACTURING 2000 (M2K) Machinist Training Program.

Anselmo describes it as a “hybrid quick-train program” that prepares people, at no charge, to become machine operators or entry-level CNC manual machinists. There are three levels of training in the program, requiring students to complete between 250 and 600 hours of training.

Students who sign up for M2K will be exposed to “hands-on experience sessions,” as well as workshops focused on professional development and resume writing.

The program is funded through partnerships with area manufacturers and local foundations.

“Upon graduation, students are assisted in being placed at one of our many manufacturing programs,” Anselmo said.

John Twele of McKeesport attended the open house to learn what NCC has to offer. He is fresh out of high school and works for a local dollar store, but wants to do more with his life.

He said he was impressed with the NCC open house, which allowed guests to tour the classroom space and workshop, which is fitted with several different types of drills, presses and computers.

“I am here because I am hopeful that I can learn about some new opportunities and get training to be able to get a good-paying job that will help me take care of my family,” Twele said.

NCC instructor Paul Urvan spent time showing prospective students some things they might learn about if they attend NCC. He has worked with the program for many years, adding that “it’s a great program.” “It doesn’t cost you anything,” he said, “and you end up with great skills and the ability to get a good job when you’re done.”

Shane Shaffer, an NCC alumnus, said he has “become obsessed with learning new things about machining.”

Shaffer began studying at NCC’s South Side facility in December, and completed the program in less than six months. He is scheduling interviews with several companies, including a surgical robotics firm. Shaffer talked to prospective students at Thursday’s event, encouraging them to sign up for an NCC program.

“Someone told me about this program and I was hesitant at first because I kept saying I wanted to be a welder,” Shaffer said. “But, I decided to come check the South Side program out and when I learned it was free I signed up.”

He said he is glad he did.

“The more I learn, the more I get into it all,” he said. “I love it. It’s like I have become completely obsessed with it. I talk about machining all the time now, and you’ll even catch me looking up machining videos on YouTube.”

At the ribbon-cutting, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said there is a need in the city and across the Mon Valley for programs that teach aspiring workers and young people skilled trades.

“Just a week ago I was at a community meeting and one of the things that came up was that we need to start preparing our young adults for careers,” he said. “The people in the meeting said we need to create opportunities for young people from McKeesport and the Mon Valley who aren’t going on to college, and I said it just so happens that next week we have New Century Careers opening up.

“... There is such a need for programs like this, not just in McKeesport and in the Mon Valley, but all across the whole country, so we are excited to have NCC here and we welcome them.”

State Sen. Jim Brewster, D-McKeesport, agreed that the program is necessary in the Valley.

“We are a tough region,” he said. “We know that we need to have facilities for people who want to work with their hands because not everybody wants to got to college.

“We need to support people who want to do good work with their hands and to make good money, and they can learn how to do it here at New Century Careers for no charge.”

State Rep. Austin Davis, D-McKeesport, said he, Brewster and some of their Democratic colleagues in the state House and Senate regularly push for funding and support for programs that provide training for people looking to become skilled workers.

“Thank you to New Century Careers for making an investment, not just in McKeesport, but in the whole Mon Valley,” Davis said. “Workforce development is something we talk about a lot in Harrisburg and we talk a lot about creating lively, new opportunities for folks. That is something I firmly believe we should be doing.

“We should be making sure every person has the opportunity to succeed, earn a good living and have a good job. When people do, they take pride in their communities and they do good things.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he has worked with the NCC team in the past and has toured its facility in the South Side on multiple occasions. He said he can confirm that NCC “trains good workers.”

“The amount of individuals that they train and place into very good paying jobs is tremendous,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re giving people the skills and tools that they need to succeed. ... I can tell you that there is a need in this region and a demand for machinists and people with skills.

“People who take the time to build these skills are going to have a job that is in demand and can help build a future for their families. This is a great day for McKeesport and the whole Valley. This means there are opportunities to be had here.”

To learn more about NCC, visit, email or stop by NCC’s information booth at McKeesport’s Good Neighbor Day celebration, which is being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today on Fifth Avenue in downtown McKeesport.