Kids try out trades during technology center road show stop in Greensburg

Six-year-old Levi DiCola put hammer to nail Wednesday as he started a construction project.

“I was building a house,” the Greensburg boy said. “It was just a basic house, but I didn’t finish it.”

That’s because it was time for him to rotate to the next station of the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center Road Show, where he got to pilot a forklift in a virtual simulation.

That exercise also ended abruptly, though no actual damage was done. “I drove it off a cliff,” he said.

Levi was among 20 Greensburg Recreation Summer Camp participants ages 5-11 who came to check out the road show during its afternoon stop at the town’s St. Clair Park amphitheater. The exhibit features hands-on activities that provide a taste of some of the various trades area high school students can pursue at the technology center.

Greensburg Hempfield Area Library sponsored the CWCTC exhibit as part of its beanstack program that offers prize drawings for patrons of all ages who meet goals for reading books or taking part in activities.

For the camp kids, “It’s a great partnership between three entities to make something cool happen on a summer afternoon,” said Jessica Kiefer, head children’s librarian.

Other road show simulators allowed kids to try their hands at welding, running an excavator or operating a spray paint booth.

Other children from the community also found plenty to do at the road show.

Chrisanay Johnson, 13, of Greensburg was eager to try on a self-contained breathing apparatus like those used when firefighters enter a burning building.

When she’s older, she indicated, she might want to try out for a fire department dive team, helping at the scene of a water emergency.
“They’re firefighters first, but they’re also divers,” she said.

Mallory DeNobile, 18, of Hempfield, a 2022 graduate of the CWCTC protective services program, helped kids experience what it’s like to view the world from inside a firefighter’s air mask.

She learned to use the equipment when she completed the firefighting component of the program, which also introduces students to police and emergency medical work.

Juniors in that program attend a firefighting exercise at the Westmoreland County Community College Public Safety Training Center near Smithton, according to Alexander Novickoff, assistant director of workforce education at CWCTC. “They go to a live burn wearing their gear,” he said.

Novickoff noted CWCTC’s forklift simulator is “something industry actually uses before you put somebody behind the wheel.”

CWCTC high school programs are available to students who attend the Greensburg Salem, Hempfield Area, Jeannette City, Mt. Pleasant Area, Norwin, Penn-Trafford, Southmoreland, Yough, Belle Vernon Area and Frazier districts. It also offers adult education and night classes.

He said the center programs employ “incredible 21st century technology, and no one knows about it because we’re tucked away in New Stanton. So, we built something we could take on the road to schools, to parks, to libraries, to our community — to engage them and show off what we have to offer.”

In addition to Greensburg, the CWCTC Road Show made stops at Yough Middle School and Scottdale Library this month. Locations scheduled later this summer include: Ligonier Valley Library, Aug. 9; Norwin Library, Aug. 10; and Murrysville Community Library, Aug. 12.

“We have a workforce that’s dying for workers,” Novickoff said. “We know we’ve got to start engaging students at the youngest age.”

Visit cwctc.org for more information about the technology center and its programs. Log on to ghal.org to learn more about the offerings at Greensburg Hempfield Area Library.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@triblive.com or via Twitter .





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