River Valley School District participates in opening celebration with Secretary Cardona

River Valley School District  |  Posted on

River Valley STEAM Academy students talk with Secretary Cardona and Acting Secretary Su while they demo equipment they’ll use in their new Automation Engineering program.

River Valley School District students and staff joined U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona at the Community College of Allegheny County’s (CCAC) Center for Education, Innovation, and Training grand opening on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

River Valley School District, a valued partner of CCAC, participated in this trailblazing event for their collaborative efforts to establish a new Automation Engineering program at the district’s STEAM Academy. This program, set to launch in the 2024-25 school year, aligns closely with CCAC’s Mechatronics Technology program and offers students an unparalleled opportunity for dual enrollment and industry certifications through NC3.

The event showcased how K-12 schools and higher education are working together with government, industry and trade partners to prepare students for highly technical, in-demand jobs. “The Community College of Allegheny County has been instrumental in the development of the River Valley STEAM Academy Automation Engineering Program,” said River Valley Superintendent Mr. Philip Martell. “The partnership between River Valley School District and CCAC brings exciting opportunities for students to develop skills in advanced industries while utilizing technology that will prepare them for workforce development.”

The opening of CCAC’s Center for Education, Innovation, and Training marks a significant milestone in the college’s commitment to advancing education and workforce development in the field of Automation Engineering and Mechatronics. Secretary Cardona, Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, and Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Tom Perez joined the event, reflecting the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to workforce development in advanced manufacturing.

Automation Engineering and Mechatronics play a pivotal role in today’s advanced manufacturing landscape, and both disciplines are in high demand. Automation Engineering involves designing, developing and implementing automated systems and technologies that streamline industrial processes. Mechatronics uses the principles of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer science and control engineering to create intelligent systems and products. At the heart of this pioneering collaboration is the state-of-the-art Automation Engineering lab at the STEAM Academy that will feature top-of-the-line Festo equipment. Festo is a renowned global leader in Automation Technology, providing River Valley students access to innovative resources that mirror CCAC’s advanced facilities.

River Valley’s future Automation Engineering students had the unique opportunity to preview the equipment they will be using in their home lab. They also had the chance to meet with CCAC professors who will be supporting them on their educational journey. In addition to Secretary Cardona, Rachel Mauer, President of the German American Chamber of Commerce, Pittsburgh Chapter, was in attendance. River Valley School District is working closely with the German American Chamber of Commerce to establish pre-apprenticeships in the field of Automation Engineering, providing students with invaluable career-related learning and industry connections.

The River Valley STEAM Academy is currently open to any high school student in the region who would like to attend the following programs: Biomedical Technology, Cybersecurity, Electrical Occupations and Powerline, Esports, Pathways to Health Professions, Rising Educators, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitative Therapy, and Welding Technology. Automation Engineering will be the newest addition to the STEAM Academy in the 2024-25 school year, helping to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in manufacturing, engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence.