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What Is Success In Somerset County?

An education initiative developed by the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce, Success in Somerset County creates awareness of career, job and educational opportunities in Somerset County through panels, tours and specialized programs. A special emphasis is placed on high-demand jobs and industries in the area. In 2013, the Chamber applied for direct funding under the Routes Grant funded by the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies to launch Success in Somerset County as a pilot program. Click here to read more about this program.

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Practical Nursing Program Turns 50

The Somerset County Technology Center is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its practical nursing program. The program began in December 1966 under the administration of the Somerset Area School District. The program operated in the Scull Building, and students completed clinical experiences at Somerset Community Hospital. Fourteen students, under the direction of Josephine Knox, made up the first graduating class in 1967.

In 1968, the program admitted two classes of 24 and 30 students and appointed Mina Lucas as director of the program. She remained the program director until her retirement in 1986. She was then replaced by Sibyl McNelly.

In 1978, the Somerset Area School District transferred administration of the practical nursing program to the Somerset County Area Vocational Technical School. In 1986, the nursing school received accreditation from the National League for Nursing, which enabled students who were eligible to receive financial aid. In 1993, the program moved to a new location at the Somerset Education Center, where it remained until its closure in the fall of 1999.

In 2005, the Somerset County Technology Center conducted a feasibility study to determine if reopening the practical nursing program would be a viable option. Results indicated the need for practical nurses, and in the fall of 2006, the first group of students attended class at the Somerset County Technology Center.

Since 2005, the practical nursing program has continued to thrive and expand. Under the technology center’s current administration, a satellite center was opened in June 2015 at the Hess Business Center in Bedford. The second Bedford practical nursing class is scheduled to graduate this August.

Under the current direction of Aimee Younkin, the program has expanded operations and is revamping curriculum to stay abreast of the latest trends in nursing care. The addition of two simulation labs in Somerset and Bedford has enabled students to acquire additional clinical experience in a safe and supportive learning environment. The program boasts a rising NCLEX-PN Pass Rate with a 96% pass rate for 2015-16.

Since the program’s inception in December 1966, 74 classes of practical nursing students have completed the program. When the current classes graduate in August, the program will represent 1,407 graduate nurses spanning six decades.

In honor of 50 years of excellence in nursing education, the Somerset County Technology Center will host a celebration on Thursday, September 7 at 6 p.m. at the Technology Center. Alumni and the community are invited to attend the celebration.

SCTC is searching for past graduates of the program and encourages anyone interested in attending the celebration to contact the practical nursing department at (814) 443-3651, ext. 6170, or

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Big Idea Contest 2017

Have you been thinking about developing or commercializing a new innovative product, process, or software application? If you qualify, you could win one of four cash prizes! The first-place winner also receives priority access to a pre-seed investment (valued up to $10,000), a one-year pass to Ben Franklin eMarketing Learning Center seminars (valued at $3,000) and free consultation from the Innovation Partnership on accessing federal R&D grant money (valued at $3,000). You qualify to apply if you are planning or developing a new innovative product, process, or software application; you or your business has not previously received a Ben Franklin investment; your business is pre-revenue or did not have sales that exceeded $500,000 in 2016; and you are located in one of the 12 eligible counties: Cambria, Fulton, Indiana, Somerset, Jefferson, Blair, Bedford, Huntingdon, Centre, Juniata, Mifflin or Clearfield. The application deadline is Monday, October 2. Click here for more information.

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ACM Workforce Training Available

By Wayne Blue, Executive Director
Pennsylvania Campuses for Workforce Development and Continuing Education
Allegany College of Maryland

The Allegany College of Maryland’s Training Center for Workforce Development is still available and ready to meet your training needs. We are available to provide customized training to businesses in Somerset County as well as any of the six county regions served by the Southern Allegheny Commission. Click here to read more.

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Youth Development Conference

The Human Resources Association of the Alleghenies (HRAA) and JARI are pleased to host the 6th Annual Youth Professional Development Conference (YPDC) on October 19 at the Frank J. Pasquerilla Conference Center, Johnstown. Over the past five years, hundreds of high school students have participated in this engaging conference, which prepares them to enter the workforce. Students in grades 10-12 from multiple Cambria and Somerset county school districts will be in attendance. Event sponsors play a major role in the conference each year. Sponsorships allow students or school districts to attend the event at no cost. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor and supporting our area youth, click here.

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Is Your GED Diploma Valid?

Not all GED programs are legitimate. Here are some tips you need to know when acquiring about a secondary/GED diploma.

First, there should never be a charge for classes. Classes are offered in all states for FREE through federal and state monies, although the student does need to pay for the actual GED test themselves. There are four sections on the test: math, language arts, science and social studies. Each section is $30, or a total of $120. If a student shows initiative by attending classes regularly and making gains in his or her educational journey, the Literacy Council of Somerset County is very supportive with helping in the payment of the GED test.

Secondly, you cannot receive a GED diploma if you do not take an official GED test. If you are issued a GED by an institution but did not go to an approved Pearson Testing Center for the test, it is invalid. The test became an online test in 2014; before this time, it was given on paper.

There are scams that will charge you money for classes and will issue false tests or give you a diploma after you complete assigned work. Please be aware these centers are fraudulent. Your GED diploma should be issued by the state of Pennsylvania or it is invalid. The closest testing centers for Somerset County residents are Somerset County Technology Center and Penn Highlands Community College in Johnstown.

For more information on GED services please call the program manager of adult literacy, Michelle Yutzy, at (814) 443-3651, ext. 6133.

The Somerset County Literacy Council is always looking for tutors. If interested in being a tutor, please click here.

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On-The-Job Training Program

Pennsylvania Careerlink® offers on-the-job training (OJT) for area employers. Some requirements are:
- The maximum length of an OJT is six months.
- Employers are reimbursed for a minimum of 50% of the training wage for a maximum of 960 hours depending on the amount of training required and based on the availability of funding.
- The hire date and start date of OJT must be the same.
- OJT participants are treated in the same manner as all other employees (wage, opportunity for advancement etc.).
- The employer assumes payroll responsibility.
- The participant must attain a WorkKeys® Career Readiness Certificate.
- PA Careerlink® requires a minimum of 14 business days to process and secure final approval from Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission.
For more information, contact Vincent Rodriguez at or Deb Hoover at

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PHEAA & PASFAA Workshops

Guidance counselors, mark your calendars for upcoming PHEAA & PASFAA Financial Aid workshops. Explore the opportunities and application procedures for federal and state financial aid. Discuss changes and timely issues that affect you as you work with students pursing their postsecondary options. See the full list of available dates here.

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Get Involved, Get Connected

Want to showcase your business or organization on this page? Click here to learn how you can get involved.

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