PTI’s New Energy Tech Center Features Equipment and Technology Donated From Local Employers

Pennsylvania experiencing a high demand for professionals with welding, HVAC and electronics skills for the Oil and Gas energy industry

Pittsburgh Technical Institute (PTI) hosted the grand opening and official ribbon cutting of its new Energy Technology Center, a 15,392-square-foot steel structure that serves as headquarters for the college’s programs in Welding Technology, HVAC Technology, and Oil & Gas Electronics.

Pittsburgh Technical Institute Energy Tech CenterPTI’s new Energy Technology Center, located in the eastern quadrant of the college’s 180-acre campus, features dedicated labs equipped with state-of-the-industry equipment, general classrooms, faculty offices, meeting rooms, a two-story plaza lobby, a walkway linking the building to the campus’ main building and on-campus residence halls, and a rain garden located on the building’s west side.

PTI students will experience hands-on learning designed to meet employer needs in each of three dedicated labs equipped with nearly $1.25 million in industry-specific equipment. Employers who partnered with PTI have donated $750,000 worth of the equipment and software installed in the Center’s labs for student preparation for the welding, HVAC and Oil and Gas industries.

Earlier this year, PTI announced a new certificate in Welding Technology program and an Oil and Gas Electronics concentration to its Electronics Engineering Technology associate in science degree program. PTI’s Oil and Gas program is the first associate degree program in the region that concentrates on electronics for the energy sector.

The new electronics program is designed to prepare students to meet the demand for midstream industrial and commercial automation technicians created by the exponential growth of the exploration and development of Marcellus and Utica Shale.
Students with LabVolt equipment
According to Greg DeFeo, PTI’s President, industry demand for many types of electronics, pipeline, field service and well site technicians, as well as welders, soldering and brazing workers, machinists, sheet metal workers, structural metal fabricators, boilermakers and pipe and steam fitters led to the creation of these responsive new programs.

“Our conversations with the region’s employers indicate a high demand in Western Pennsylvania for professionals skilled in electronics engineering, welding, and HVAC,” said Greg DeFeo, president of PTI. “A lot of resources are coming out of the ground in this region including natural gas, methane, propane, butane, both liquid and gas. These need to be measured, processed, and transported and electronics technicians such as those prepared by PTI’s Oil and Gas Electronics program are needed for every phase of these processes.”

“Additionally, the facilities, infrastructures, and supporting industries needed to sustain the energy industry further increase the need for skilled technicians including welding and HVAC professionals, plus CAD drafters, IT professionals, security officers, even hospitality and business professionals.”

Welding studentPTI’s fall session started October 15, 2013, and the college welcomed students to the hands-on labs and classrooms for the three programs that are housed in the new Energy Technology Center. Student interest and employer reaction for the new programs have been strong.  

As students begin their career training, the college’s Career Services Department, which coordinates industry internships and works with graduates during their job search, has been receiving requests from regional employers for both interns and graduates.

“The region’s employers are supportive of these new programs and have both guided curriculum development and contributed significantly to our facilities, especially with donations of equipment,” said George Pry, PTI’s executive vice president. “Companies such as Emerson and Lincoln Electronic have helped us outfit our labs with some of the latest equipment and technologies for training. Their involvement insures that our curriculum provides PTI students with state-of-the-industry knowledge and practical career preparation. More important is the fact that we know our graduates will have the skills our employers need and practice on some of the same equipment that our employers use.”

Partnering companies have contributed nearly $750,000 in equipment and supplies to the Energy Technology Center teaching labs. Contributors include:

A-Air Company Lennox
Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania
Lincoln Electric
Emerson Process Management
Metro Heating & Cooling
Equipment and Controls Inc.
Precision Laser & Instrument Inc.
Premier Heating and Cooling
Fluke Corporation
Rockwell Automation
Forberg Scientific
Johnstone Supply
Universal Flow Monitors Inc.

“We're doing everything we can to help accelerate PTI programs. Our company and the entire shale gas industry needs instrument technicians trained on today’s technology. Having access to PTI grads will enable us to deliver more and differentiated value to our customers,” said Jim Neville, vice president, Equipment and Controls Inc.

The Energy Technology Center at PTI was designed by Felix A. Cardella, III, of TKA Architects. The general contractor for the $3.5 million project was Franjo Construction. The building construction project is made possible in part by a $750,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) designed for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects.


Learn more about the HVAC Technology program, the Welding Technology program, and the Oil and Gas Electronics program.



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