Marriage of plastics industry and Penn College flourishing


There is a giant growing in Beaver County in western Pennsylvania.

It’s Shell’s Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex that will process ethane from shale gas.

There is a giant that already exists in Williamsport.

It’s the Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics program that has graduated nearly 500 students in the past 25 years. The program has a national reputation for preparing students to work in the plastics industry. Penn College is one of only six institutions nationwide offering plastics degrees accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.

The plastics industry employs 50,000 people in the state with a payroll of $2.5 billion. And many more will be needed when Shell completes its complex.

So call this the perfect intersection between business needs and educational offerings. The plastics industry has a need. Penn College has the unique means to fill that need.

And that marriage gave birth to the Shell Polymers Rotational Molding Center of Excellence that was recently dedicated at Penn College. The project was made possible by a $250,000 commitment from Shell Polymers.

The money allowed the purchase of machinery necessary for training at the center and paid for updates to the plastics lab at the school.

Given the track record of Penn College, Shell has made a sound investment. And it’s an investment that only bolsters the school’s strong point — educational offerings that are relevant to existing work force needs.

Two giants just got stronger.