One encouraging symptom of the Weatherization Assistance Program’s stimulus-funded expansion is the recently upgraded Weatherization Training Center at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, in Williamsport.
The $100,000 improvement project – which, a recent Associated Press story points out, took about five months to complete and will be paid for through state-administered federal funding programs – includes two dedicated, multimedia-equipped classrooms; two similarly equipped classrooms that can be used for weatherization training; a weatherization tactics lab; a weatherization diagnostics and energy conservation lab; and office space for instructors and support staff.
The enhancements have almost doubled the 24-year-old center’s floor space, to 16,000 sq. ft., and will help significantly increase the number of trainees the facility can accommodate each year, from about 300 to more than 1,000, PCT’s president, Davie Jane Gilmour, told the AP.
Added training center director John Manz: “It’s an outstanding facility. It’s arguably the best in the U.S.”
The demand for well-trained weatherization workers is there, notes Gilmour. Largely as a result of increased federal funding – and mandates – for programs that improve energy efficiency in residential buildings, more than 29,000 housing units in Pennsylvania alone are expected to be weatherized over the next three years.