CCAC receives $100,000 PNC Charitable Trust grant to fund “Cracker Ready” project

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH-The Community College of Allegheny County has received a grant totaling $100,000 from the PNC Charitable Trust to train workers from Washington County for jobs created by the construction of Shell Chemical's $6 billion ethane cracker plant in Beaver County.

Project Cracker Ready will prepare students for the burgeoning number of technicians and commercial drivers that will be needed for the 2020 completion of the plant, which will employ 600 individuals and will take 6,000 people to build. The enormous project will require crews of technicians skilled in process technology, building construction and facilities management and will provide many offshoot employment opportunities. CCAC will train students in mechatronics and commercial truck driving to help meet these workforce needs. Classes will begin in the fall semester.

The grant pays for all tuition, books and certification costs that are not covered by financial aid, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

"CCAC is excited to offer this incredible training and employment opportunity," said Dr. Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, president, CCAC North Campus and West Hills Center. "By joining CCAC's Mechatronics certificate program, students will learn programming, process controls, electrical and mechanical systems, robotics and additive manufacturing-all the skills needed to be cracker plant-ready!"

Students in the 30-credit Mechatronics certificate program will earn industry-recognized certifications and receive technology training that is relevant to several industries including the Marcellus Shale natural gas industry and the energy, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics sectors. Job titles in the field include production worker; expediting clerk; maintenance worker; inspector; sorter; weigher; and process, electro-mechanical, industrial maintenance and supply chain technician.

Students in the Commercial Driver's License program will complete 8-10 weeks of training that will prepare them to pass the PennDOT CDL exam. Graduates will then be placed with regional companies as tractor trailer truck drivers.

The goal of the project is to recruit a minimum of 10 students in the Mechatronics certificate program and six students in the CDL program. All students must reside in Washington County and will be required to complete a FAFSA application to determine if they are eligible for financial aid. If additional funds are available once financial aid is applied, more students will enter the program.

For more information on the Mechatronics certificate program, contact Patricia Lee at For more information on the CDL program, contact Theresa Bryant at

Related Stories