TITUSVILLE — After years of preparation, the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering’s Manufacturing Assistance Center will begin offering its first basic machining course in August at the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville’s Education and Training Hub.

The eight-week course is set to begin Aug. 31 at the MAC’s temporary location in Titusville’s Opportunity Park. The initial class will offer trainees daily opportunities to advance their skills and understanding of the machinery found in most manufacturing environments, such as lathes, mills, drill presses, grinders, and saws.

Within the past four years, 94 percent of eligible students have completed the program at no cost to themselves. The MAC’s recruiters work with each student prior to enrolling to determine funding eligibility and what, if any, cost can be expected to be paid out-of-pocket.

The Manufacturing Assistance Center program is made possible through federal, state, local and scholarship funding including the Titusville Promise, a local funding source for graduates of Titusville High School.

“This has been no small feat,” said Rob Beatty, the MAC’s interim director, “but with the assistance of the Titusville Redevelopment Authority as well as the great work from the Pitt-Titusville staff and administration, I’m confident in our ability to help restore workforce opportunities to the region.”

David Fitz, the hub’s interim executive director, added, “It’s a testament to the commitment of the entire Pitt family. Pitt-Titusville has shown for years that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, we won’t be deterred from delivering on our promise to our students and to our community.”

A major factor in the MAC’s expansion to the Titusville area required the relocation of resources and personnel, both of which were made possible by a federal Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant, awarded to the college by the Department of Labor in 2020. Several costs associated with the expansion of the MAC and renovations to the Titusville campus were offset by the grant’s additional funding.

Nathan Lucas, the MAC’s administrative assistant, and Roberto Rincon, the MAC’s instructor, have both relocated from Pittsburgh to Crawford County, where they will provide first-hand instruction and support to trainees.

While setup and recruitment continue at its temporary location, a permanent home for the MAC is currently in the design phase on Pitt-Titusville’s campus. Once an architect has been selected, the process to transform the J. Curtis McKinney II Student Union will move ahead, allowing for the MAC to travel the remaining few blocks to the Titusville campus.

Renovations are planned to conclude by the end of 2022. In the meanwhile, additional updates designed to accommodate the hub are nearing completion, despite delays attributed to supply chain interruptions.

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