• Senior Volunteers Honored at Second Annual Foster Grandparent Recognition Luncheon

    Private Industry Council’s (PIC) second annual Foster Grandparent Program Recognition Event and was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe, PA on Friday, May 20, 2016.  The event recognized, honored, and expressed gratitude to the many Foster Grandparent Volunteers for their effort, loyalty, and dedication to the Foster Grandparent program (FGP).  The theme this year was “A Helping Hand Volunteers Make the Difference.

    The recognition luncheon played background music from the 60’s & 70’s while a PowerPoint presentation showed photos of the Foster Grandparent volunteers serving the children they foster. A testimonial by volunteers on the impact the children have on them was highlighted. A performance from Pittsburgh’s Family Magician, Al Mazing took place prior to the awards ceremony. Awards were given to Foster Grandparent Volunteers in 4 categories:

    The Apple Award was given to the volunteer who has accrued the most volunteer hours for the 2015-2016 year.  Lexi McLeod was presented this award having volunteered a total of 1,146 hours at Clairton Elementary School. 

    The Community Advisory Group Award was presented to Angela Greco based on the teacher testimonials of the volunteer’s effort and dedication in the Foster Grandparent Program. Mrs. Kimberly A. Long a teacher at Ringgold Elementary School said: “She (Angela Greco) is not only a valuable asset to our classroom academically, she is a ‘Grandma’ to our kids who have none and a caring ear when a child needs someone to listen and hear!”

    The Keep Moving Award was inspired by Ms. Virginia McLaurin, who is a 107 year old volunteer serving in Virginia.  The recipient of this award is the oldest serving volunteer in the Foster Grandparent Program of Southwestern PA, Susan Hunter. She volunteers at Ringgold Elementary School South.
    The Senior Corps of Southwestern PA Legacy Award was presented to Jayce Catt. Catt was nominated by her volunteer station, Children’s Creative Learning Center at Butler County Community College for her passion for public service, helping others and a demonstrated commitment toward enhancing the community and others. Judy Zuzack, her supervisor was quoted:  “Joyce has been our Foster Grandparent for 6 years now.  When she enters the classroom, all the children stop what they are doing and greet her in unison, “Good morning, Grandma Catt”! She often wears cat jewelry or wears cats on her clothing, which shows her sense of humor.”  Zuzack observes Catt encouraging the children to try new food and to be healthy eaters and engages them in conversation about their families and interests. Catt has been seen laughing at their jokes and lets each child know that they are very special.

    Certificates of appreciation were also presented by local elected officials. Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey Vaughn presented certificates of appreciation to the volunteers who reside in Washington County. Certificates were presented to volunteers who reside in the city of Butler from the Office of Mayor Thomas P. Donaldson. On behalf of Mayor Dwan Walker, the Aliquippa City Manager, Sam Gill presented “One Aliquippa” certificates to the volunteers who reside in Aliquippa.

    The event ended with an array of door prizes.             


  • Partners – PA CareerLink, WCIDC and EGC

    Partners – PA CareerLink, WCIDC and EGC

    We have been associated with the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) and Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland (EGC) for years, but recently developed a true partnership.  As a result of Jason Rigone, Director of Planning & Development, Executive Director of WCIDC and Janice Albright, Administrator PA CareerLink Westmoreland, being on the same radio program with Chad Amond, Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce President the seed was planted.  Their dialogue led to a connection between Kim Donnelly, Business Development Director of WCIDC and Awanda Pritts, a PIC Account Representative at the PA CareerLink Westmoreland.

    Awanda and Kim are coordinating efforts to develop working relationships that provide resources for Westmoreland County employers.   These efforts began with R.E. Uptegraff, a Scottdale based company that Awanda has been involved with for the past 3 years.  This started with an introduction of Kim to the new owners, Shenda Electric of China.  This company retained the Operations Manager, Awanda’s primary contact, that allowed her relationship with R.E. Uptegraff to not only continue, but to grow with the new company’s future plans.   Awanda organized an introduction for Kim with the new owners as well as a guided tour of the facility with discussion of their expansion plans in Westmoreland County.  This discussion led to a second meeting where Donna Bates, Director of Finance, Marketing, and Programs  for the EGC was included to provide information on assistance with the purchase of new equipment for this expansion project.  Resources like this allow us to help our local employers maintain and/ or expand their operations by providing them with job candidates, financial assistance and referrals.  We are a source for them to access for information and referral services to assist them reach their goals.  They also visited The ExOne Company in North Huntingdon where they reviewed the resources available to them in the future.

    This partnership works both ways.  After the merger of Pittsburgh Electric Engine and Watt Fuel Cell, leadership roles in the business changed.  When you are getting a project like this off the ground you are working 25 hours a day.  The PA CareerLink was very interested in establishing a working relationship with Watt Fuel Cell, but wanted to wait until the time was right.   Kim had the opportunity to meet with the Director of Corporate Services when the company was getting established in Mt. Pleasant.  This time it was Kim who set up the meeting to introduce Awanda to inform Watt about the services that the PA CareerLink can provide to them.

    This open line of communication that Kim and Awanda have developed keeps moving forward with the sharing of information and services available to the businesses in Westmoreland County.

    Next stop is Equipment and Controls Inc. in Monessen.  By the time you read this article I am sure there will have been more successful meetings to report on and more scheduled for the future as well, thanks to this community partnership.

    If you have any questions about the Employer services that are available in Westmoreland County you can contact Awanda at 724-755-2330 or Kim at 724-830-3606 or stop by a local Chamber Event where you may get a chance to meet both of them.

  • Third Annual Parent Training Event 2014-2015

    Third Annual Parent Training Event 2014-2015

    Seventy parents gathered at Westmoreland County Community College on May 14th for an event hosted  in collaboration with the following agencies: the Private Industry Council, Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County, Center of Excellence: SEEDS,  Head Start of Beaver County, Westmoreland County Community Action, and Community Action Southwest.

    The parent engagement event featured four speakers: Lois Malmgren from Westmoreland County Community Action; Headda Sharapan from Fred Rogers; Gina Bowen from the Private Industry Council Center of Excellence: SEEDS; and Heidi Hess from the Autism Society of Pittsburgh.

    The workshops centered on what parents can do to help their families feel empowered, and address the same collective concerns and needs with their struggles. Parents were provided strategies and support to resolve and overcome family/child challenges with autism and developmental delays, nutrition and health, communication, and behaviors. The workshops enabled parents to share ideas and experiences and reinforce how influential they are in their child’s development.

    Parents were also able to gather information and network with representatives from our local community partners, which included: Southwest Immunization Coalition; Women, Infants, and Children [WIC]; A Childs Place at Mercy Hospital; Parent to Parent; Highmark Caring Place; Father’s Initiative of Beaver County; Fayette County Assistance Office; Westmoreland County Drug & Alcohol; Private Industry Council – Adult Education; Aetna; and PA CareerLink Westmoreland County.

    In addition, parents enjoyed a catered luncheon, and gift baskets were also raffled to encourage family activities. 

    parent train1

    parent train2


     parent train3


  • Private Industry Council Cuts Ribbon

    Private Industry Council Cuts Ribbon

    For new State-of-the-Art Learning and Workforce Development Center

    On Thurs., June 4, the Private Industry Council and guests joined together to celebrate the ribbon cutting and grand opening of its new state-of-the-art learning and workforce development center in Lemont Furnace, Pa.

    The 23,500 sq. ft. utilitarian structure, which is situated on a 5.56 acre property, includes five Head Start classrooms, an Early Head Start socialization area, an indoor children’s physical activity center, adult learner classrooms and a computer lab, PA CareerLink Fayette, and office space.

    PIC President & CEO Tim Yurcisin welcomed the guests and talked about the exciting features of the building. He stressed that among the many advantages of the new building, the best one of all is that a parent can drop their child off at Head Start, walk upstairs and learn job skills that will make them competitive in the jobs market. Then, a number of special guests and federal, state and local politicians spoke including: Erin Molchany, Director, Southwest Office of Pennsylvania Governor Wolf; Gary Reed, Rural Development Coordinator, USDA Rural Development Agency; John Frick, Jr., Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey; Louis Lazzaro, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy; Pennsylvania State Sen. Patrick Stefano, 32nd Legislative District; Pennsylvania State Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney, 51st Legislative District; Pennsylvania State Rep. Ryan Warner, 52nd Legislative District; Pennsylvania State Rep. and PIC board member R. Ted Harhai, 58th Legislative District; Fayette County Commissioners Vince Zapotosky and Angela Zimmerlink; Bill Thompson, Executive Director, Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board; and Rose Ziglear, Head Start/Early Head Start parent.

    There was also a rose planting ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Head Start. This was at the suggestion of the national Office of Head Start since on May 18, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced Project Head Start from the White House Rose Garden. On that historic day he made a commitment to open a window of opportunity for our nation’s most at-risk children and their families.  

     Ribbon Cutting 2

    Gary Reed, Rural Development Coordinator, USDA Rural Development Agency; John Frick, Jr., Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey; Stephanie Miller, PIC Board Chair and Nemacolin Woodlands Vice President of Human Resources; Louis Lazzaro, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy; and Tim Yurcisin, PIC President & CEO


     Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy; and Tim Yurcisin, PIC President & CEO


     Tim Yurcisin, PIC President & CEO


     Representative Tim Mahoney, PA 51st District


     Dave Serafini, PNC; Bill Thompson, Executive Director, Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board; Gary Yarbrough, PIC Board member; Terri Campbell, Vice President of Operations at PIC; Pat Stefano, PA 32nd District; Jordan Ball, Senator Robert P. Casey's office; John Frick Jr, Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey; John Malone, PIC Past Chair/Somerset Trust Company Senior Vice President; Lou Lazzaro, Ted Harhai, PA 58th District; Rose Ziglear, HS/EHS Parent; Erin Molchany,Southwest Director, PA Governor Tom Wolf; Tim Yurcusin, Representative Tim Mahoney, PA 51st District; Ryan Warner, PA 52nd District; Stephanie Miller, PIC Board Chair and Nemacolin Woodlands Vice President of Human Resources; Charmaine Sampson, The Eberly Foundation; Angela Zimmerlink, Vice Chair, Fayette County Board of Commissioners; Joan Tracy, PIC Board member; Vince Zapotosky, Chair, Fayette County Board of Commissioners; Pat Leach and Jayden Leach


  • Ribbon Cutting



    The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of its new state-of-the-art learning and workforce development center in Lemont Furnace, Pa.  (3 miles northeast of Uniontown).

    The 23,500 sq. ft. utilitarian structure, which is situated on a 5.56 acre property, includes five Head Start classrooms, an Early Head Start socialization area, an indoor children’s physical activity center, adult learner classrooms and a computer lab, PA CareerLink Fayette, and office space.

    The design allows for future growth and meets the special needs of its preschool students. PIC worked with a Fayette County architect to design the facility. Layout of the rooms, parking lot, and playground were carefully planned to meet current needs, with an eye toward potential future development.

    What:                  Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with guest speakers:

    Erin Molchany, Director, Southwest Office of Pennsylvania Governor Wolf; 

    Gary Reed, Rural Development Coordinator, USDA Rural Development Agency; 

    John Frick, Jr., Regional Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Pat Toomey;

    Louis Lazzaro, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy;

    Pennsylvania State Sen. Patrick Stefano, 52nd Legislative District;

    Pennsylvania State Rep. Timothy S. Mahoney, 51st Legislative District;

    Pennsylvania State Rep. Ryan Warner, 52nd Legislative District;

    Pennsylvania State Rep. and PIC board member R. Ted Harhai, 58th Legislative District;

    Fayette County Commissioners Vince Zapotosky, Angela Zimmerlink and Al Ambrosini; and,

    Bill Thompson, Executive Director, Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board.

                                   Tours of the new building will also be available after the ceremony.

    When:                 Thursday, June 4 at 11:00 a.m.

    Where:                  112 Commonwealth Drive, Lemont Furnace, Pa.

  • Summer Programs Can Help Curb Learning Loss

    Summer is traditionally a time for kids to forget about the stresses of the school year. But in the process of decompressing, a lot of important knowledge is lost.

  • New YACHT Program Class Coming Soon

    The Young Adult Careers with Hands-On Training (YACHT) program continues to offer free employment and training services to young adults ages 18-24. Participants have the opportunity to earn money during training and to build their skills and knowledge.

  • Independence Day

    By Stacy Culler,
    Head Start of Beaver County
    CDE Supervisor

    It started with a temper tantrum. He was tired. He didn't like the limitations that were placed upon him. He wanted to make his own choices, but he didn't quite know how to make his voice heard. So he chose action.

  • Shannon Kossar Named Director of Education and Workforce Development at PIC

    GREENSBURG, Pa. – The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC), is pleased to announce that Shannon Kossar has been named Director of Education and Workforce Development.

  • She’Cholle Winmon Honored for Hard Work, Enthusiasm, and Commitment

    She'Cholle Winmon was one of three honorees who received an award from the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board on June 9, 2014, in acknowledgment of her "hard work, enthusiasm, and commitment."

  • PIC Receives $9,000 Grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to Support Family Literacy Initiative

    GREENSBURG, Pa. – The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) a $9,000 grant to support a new family literacy initiative in Westmoreland County.

  • Fun Summer Adventures for Youth

    PIC's Summer Enrichment Program will be holding free summer camps throughout the area June 23-July 17. Click here for additional details.

  • Got Boredom? Get Involved with PIC Summer Youth Programs

    The PIC Youth Staff is offering some exciting opportunities to youth in Allegheny, Fayette, and Westmoreland counties this summer.  And, it's not too late to join in the fun!

  • Budget Cuts

    The government has been cutting costs, which can mean cutting benefits for many that need them.  Times are tough, and there is always the chance of things getting worse. However, there are still many funds available to individuals. Now is the time to take advantage of that help and secure a better future for you and your family.

  • Summer Adventures Await Local Elementary and Middle School Students

    This summer students from local elementary and middle schools won't be planted in front of a television watching other people go on amazing races and face survival challenges. They'll be too busy having summer adventures of their own.


    Outdoor Safety pic1Outdoor Safety pic1

    Whether you're relaxing in the yard or exploring the great outdoors, keep yourself and your family safe by using these tips as a guide to prevent overexposure to the sun.

  • PA Pre-K Counts Partnership of Fayette: Helping Build a Brighter Future

    The Private Industry Council's PA Pre-K Counts Partnership of Fayette provides an exceptional learning opportunity for preschoolers.

  • Adult Education Prepares for the 2014 GED®

    In 2014, the GED® Testing Service will release a new computer-based assessment for test takers. The new assessment will measure career-and college- readiness skills needed for success in both workforce and college programs. Four content areas will measure a foundation of skills and knowledge necessary for success in college and careers. The four areas are: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning, Science, and Social Studies.

    In addition to the change to computer-based testing, there will also be a variety of answer types. Tests will feature multiple choice, brief short answers, technology-enhanced, cloze embedded in passages, extended response, and fill-in-the-blank. Some of these item types are already featured in the 2002 test; however, many are new to the 2014 assessment.

    The current cost for taking the GED® ranges from $0 to $300. The cost of the new assessment will be a minimum of $120.00 through 2014.

    The Private Industry Council's Adult Education program is currently offering classes to assist adults prepare for the 2002 as well as the 2014 assessment. Classes are open to the public and provided with funding by the Pennsylvania Department of Education-Post Secondary and Adult Education.

    For more information call 724-836-2600.

  • Center of Excellence: Social Emotional Early Developmental Success (COE: SEEDS)

    For the most part children learn in two ways. Children learn by the attention they receive and by watching others. So how can we as parents and educators promote positive social and emotional skills? We can meet our child's needs by attending the Incredible Years (IY) Workshops. As of June 25, 2012, there have been 133 parents and 29 teachers who have completed the IY Workshops and we are currently sending out 3075 newsletters. Workshops are starting all the time and in different locations. Call: 724-430-4818 ext. 329 or visit our Facebook page: for more information.

    Center of Excellence: Social Emotional Early Developmental Success (COE: SEEDS)

    Have you ever been frustrated and used the following phrases with your children?

    Stop it! * Leave your brother/sister alone! * Why don't you listen? * Just follow the rules! * You need to share! * I said no!

    If so, The Incredible Years Parenting Series Workshops will provide you with the tools needed to make that valuable time with your children less stressful and more meaningful. FREE for all parents with no income guidelines. Call: 724-430-4818 ext. 329 or visit our Facebook page: for more information.

    For more information on how the COE: SEEDS Project got started, read below.

    Head Start/Early Head Start: Serving expectant mothers and children up to age 5

    This is a Federally Funded Child Development Program for Low Income Families. Head Start prepares children entering school to be healthy, confident, and ready to succeed. Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants and toddlers in their homes. Both programs assist families in achieving the goals they set for themselves as parents, providers for their families and contributors to the community. Call: 724-430-4818, e-mail: or visit our websites at or for more information.

    Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County a Center of Excellence! 1 of 10 across the Nation!

    The Centers of Excellence program was established by the National Office of Head Start in the 'Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007'. In 2009, Governor Ed Rendell selected Head Start/Early Head Start (HS/EHS) of Fayette County to compete at the national level for the National Center of Excellence recognition. Only ten Centers of Excellence were selected to receive grant funds for the implementation of a five-year project.

    As a center of excellence, HS/EHS is focused on improving children's social-emotional development, using the COE: SEEDS Project (Social Emotional Early Developmental Success).

  • Regaining Pride

    The most valuable thing an individual can possess is a strong sense of pride. Unfortunately, in today's world, times are tough and life is not always fair. These situations have a definite counter-effect on building or maintaining that sense of pride. But no matter where you stand now, help is available.

    Private Industry Council provides opportunities for individuals to gain back their ability of becoming a productive force in society. There are programs available to help educate those who had earlier difficulties in learning experiences. Adult Basic Education encourages adults to pick up from the basics, improve their reading, math, language and problem solving skills. This gets their feet on a sturdy foundation with the only way to move is up. GED Testing is available with classes to provide them with the tools to assist in preparing for and ultimately achieving passing scores. With these strengths under their belt, success in the employment field becomes increased.

    Programs are also available for training in specific fields. Private Industry Council has training available in Green Energy, a field for the future. The Education and Technology Institute provides classes for Medical Coding and Billing and Computerized Office Technology. There are many directions an individual may go and the choice is theirs.

    There is no need to stay buried in depression and feel inadequate and helpless. Call the Private Industry Council today. Build your employment skills, become marketable, and regain your sense of pride.

  • Spring Has Sprung

    New PIC AdditionThe cold bitter air has turned into a gentle warm breeze. The heaters are off and the windows are open. The trees have grown their leaves back, the grass is growing and the flowers are all blooming with the warm air and spring rain showers.

    That's not all that is growing at the Private Industry Council's Corporate headquarters in Greensburg. The building is growing, another 3650 square feet is being added. The new construction will provide additional 4 classrooms and 3 offices. The construction began mid-April and should be finished by the first week in August.

    The addition started with an architect who drew a set of blueprints so that the construction workers would have a clear path to follow. Then the masons poured the footer and laid the foundation for the future building. Just like the architect, the students that will be using the new classrooms will come up with an idea for their future. The dedicated staff at the Private Industry Council will help them lay the foundation to a bright future just like the masons.

    "When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us".
    - Alexander Graham Bell

  • PIC Promotes “Growth” in Monessen

    The seed started with the Private Industry Council’s proposal to the Pittsburgh based Sprout Fund in the winter of 2010.  The Sprout program set out with hopes to catalyze community-based projects in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities that would inspire greater stewardship of our region’s natural resources.

    PIC received $5,000 to support a week-long biodiversity camp for youth.  The Private Industry Council’s Youth Specialist Julie Sefcheck teamed up with Robert (D.J.) Dojonovic and his wife, Angela DiBart to provide the perfect location for this garden.  DJ offered the use of the land that many people in Monessen fondly know as, “DJ’s Pumpkin Patch.”  The space in and of itself boasts fun with the giant pirate ship that sits off to the side of what is now a community garden.  But the fun really started when the youth arrived!  The Monessen Salvation Army Day camp served as the catalyst bringing the children to the program.

    For one week, the PIC Youth Specialist along with Salvation Army staff worked with the children to teach them all about gardening and sustainability, rainwater collection, and recycling.  Later in the week 4H Master Gardeners taught the youth all about pollination and introduced them to hissing cockroaches.  Additionally, the group had a wonderful time with hands on activities that included making life-sized scarecrows and mobiles; and they even made and enjoyed salsa!  Things got a little squirmy when Waste Management taught all about composting and even brought along some worms!  If all of that wasn’t enough excitement, the children had the chance to actually plant their own seeds and over the course of the week, see things start to sprout.

    The week of fun concluded with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 11th, 2011 which was attended by Representative Ted Harhai, Commissioner Charles Anderson, Monessen Mayor Mary Jo Smith, and Private Industry Council President and C.E.O. Tim Yurcisin.  The Salvation Army program will continue to tend to the garden with the children throughout the summer and come harvest time, PIC will be back to help.  The vegetables grown will be donated throughout the community, and the summer project will end with a culminating farmers market.

    The Private Industry Council’s proposal for a Community Garden Project in Monessen, was one of 20 biodiversity projects selected for Sprout funding. PIC would like to extend a thank-you to Teresa Seh and all of the community members that have helped see this project through, and hopes that this years’ garden will be a seed for future community gardens to grow.

    For additional photos click here.


  • 2010-2011 PIC Divisional Employees of the Year

    Congratulations to John Chedister, Helen Gilpin, and Sue Polojac who are being recognized as Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. Divisional Employees of the Year.  In June each was awarded a $500 check and an engraved personalized pen. 

    PIC Early Childhood Development Divisional Employee of the Year – Sue Polojac
    Sue Polojac is the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Manager for Head Start/Early Head Start.  In this role, she supervises ECD staff and manages the ECD area.  Sue’s nomination noted that she has a strong understanding of early childhood programs and best practices.  She promotes team work and uses the leadership techniques learned through trainings conducted at Head Start.  In addition, Sue has an extensive knowledge of the Keystone STARS system and has provided extra staff support while supervisor job positions were unfilled.  Sue assisted in the writing and implementation of the Center of Excellence grant, the implementation of the PNC Grow Up Great with Science grant, and the collaborations with Carlow College and Westmoreland County Community College as they offered onsite college courses the past two years.  She is a Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) Board member for which she will serve as Vice-Chair in the coming year. 

    PIC Education Divisional Employee of the Year – Helen Gilpin
    Helen Gilpin is an Instructor in the Adult Education Department and currently works in the Greensburg office.  Due to her knowledge in education theory, Helen has been successful with a wide variety of students as they work to obtain their GED and nurse aide certification.  Her nomination noted that she incorporates authentic teaching materials into her lessons and helped to write the curriculum for the pre-Nurse Aide Training program as well as the Technical Math and Professional Development courses.  She also enhanced the Job Readiness curriculum.  In addition to going above and beyond for her students, Helen’s co-workers can count on her to share materials and ideas and she is always willing to cover classes for them when they are not at work.  An example of her willingness to do whatever is needed occurred this year when a co-worker required medical attention at work and Helen helped the co-worker and PIC during and after the situation.

    PIC Workforce Development Divisional Employee of the Year – John Chedister
    John Chedister is an Employment Specialist at the Westmoreland CareerLink in Youngwood.  He goes out of his way to help his clients and co-workers.  If he does not know the answer to a particular situation, he takes the time to identify other resources for a solution. He is described by his nominators as very hard working, dedicated, personable, and optimistic.  He is a tireless advocate for his clients, particularly those with disabilities.  He patiently listens to understand an individual’s needs and then helps them identify training or employment to meet their goals.  In addition to his Employment Specialist job duties, John has supported a regional manufacturing grant by managing the client services associated with the grant.  John is a member of the PIC Safety Committee and is the leader of the Westmoreland CareerLink Safety Team.  In order to promote healthy habits among his co-workers, John has coordinated a “Get Fit” program at the CareerLink.  

    Congratulations Helen, John, and Sue!  Keep up the great work!


  • A Day in the Sun!

    May 25, 2011, was a highly anticipated day at Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County. This was the day that the program went to Idlewild Park! After weeks of preparation, nineteen buses rolled up the mountain that morning with families aboard. And even more families transported themselves! After registering at the park, all were free to enjoy the day; returning to the pavilion for breakfast, lunch, and snacks provided by Nutrition, Inc.

    The day was packed with learning, too. The annual nutrition and physical activity event, Munch, Mingle, Move, was held this year in an adjoining pavilion at Idlewild. Susan Mongell, Nutrition Supervisor, coordinated the event along with the MMM committee. The activities focused on the dress, music, and culture of several African countries. Children were able to decorate rain sticks and maracas and practice using them in time to the African music. A slideshow documented some of the classroom learning events from this program year, a result of a General Mills grant.

    The day seemed to pass so quickly, and soon it was time to load the buses and head back down the mountain. It was a day when staff wasn’t idle and children didn’t get too wild, and a nice time was had by all.

    For more information on Head Start or Early Head Start and our program options, call the main office at 724-430-4818, extension 100.

  • Summer Fun for YOUth in Fayette County!

    The Fayette Enrichment Program is gearing up for the 2011 summer session. For six weeks, starting on June 20, youth will have an opportunity to participate in a variety of exciting activities.

    During this time, the Fayette Enrichment Program will partner with the Penn State Eberly Campus to bring some of the Penn State “Kids In College” sessions to the program, as well as offer some fun fitness activities, thanks to training from the Uniontown YMCA.

    The excitement doesn’t stop there, because the Private Industry Council and the Education and Technology Institute have also put together a lot of appealing science, technology, arts, and cultural activities for the students to engage in. In addition, lunch is served each day.

    This program is free to attend, and transportation is provided to and from the school. Youth in Fayette County that attend Albert Gallatin South Middle School, Brownsville Area Middle School and High School, Connellsville Jr. High Schools, and Uniontown Jr. High Schools are invited to participate.

    For more information, or to register your student, contact Andreia Sands by email at or by phone at 724-437-2590.


  • Team Head Start at the March of Dimes


    On Saturday, April 30, 2011, the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc., was represented by three of their programs at the March of Dimes’ “March for Babies” event, held at Mount Saint Macrina. The programs represented were Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County, Pre-K, and Dads Matter.  The weather was beautiful for the walk, which was a great success.  The Private Industry Council would like to extend a “thank you” to all who participated in and/or donated to the March of Dimes’ “March for Babies.”  Collectively, $1,729.45 was raised.


  • Head Start Museum of Art at the Mall

    The Uniontown Mall recently played host to many of the county’s youngest artists. On April 20, 2011, Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County presented a “Museum of Art” in the walkways of the mall, using elaborately decorated tables to showcase artwork from each classroom and home-based area.

    As in most museums, artwork was tastefully and carefully mounted and displayed. In addition, the experience for children was enhanced through the presence of artists who provided face painting, balloon animals, caricature sketches of people, and fantasy sketches.

    Staff and management members were on hand to greet the public, as well as the many Head Start/Early Head Start families who came to view their children’s artwork. Children beamed proudly as they pointed out their creations to their parents. Parents enjoyed the opportunity to view the creativity of the program as a whole, as well as a chance to talk with other parents, and their children’s teachers.

    The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc., hopes to make the “Museum of Art” an annual event at the Uniontown Mall. For more information about Head Start (ages three to five) or Early Head Start (pregnant moms and children ages birth to three), call 724-430-4818, ext. 100. Also, check out their Facebook page at


  • Annual YouCube Project Demonstration Event

    YouCube YouthThe annual YouCube Project Demonstration Event will take place Wednesday, June 30, 2010 from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the Private Industry Council's corporate headquarters at 219 Donohoe Road, Greensburg.

    The Youth Careers Utilizing Basic Engineering Program (YouCUBE), is a cooperative venture between the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC), Westmoreland County school districts, career and technology centers, and local manufacturing companies. The YouCUBE Program is a year-round career-exploration program that engages participating youth in grades 9-12 in activities that demonstrate the diversity and technological skills necessary to enter careers in the advanced manufacturing industry and provide them with the opportunity to develop personal skills in communication, teamwork, and problem solving. The program focuses on the need to augment Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in Westmoreland County and enlarge the pipeline of students prepared to enter careers in STEM fields. A summer component of the program includes additional exposure to manufacturing through company tours, hands-on activities and group projects.

    Demonstrations to take place on June 30th include:

    • Which bridge built out of pasta can withstand the most weight (The current record stands at 22lbs!)
    • A fashion show with articles of clothing made entirely of duck tape
    • Launching of hot-air balloons constructed out of tissue paper
    • Lego Mindstorm robot battles


    Pasta ProjectThe YouCUBE program, formerly known as the "Manufacturing Career Exploration Program" (MCEP) has operated successfully in Westmoreland County since 2001. The original focus of the program was to educate youth on the careers available in manufacturing. Over the past few years, this focus has changed to incorporate an increase in STEM-related activities and career exploration of the Advanced Materials and Diversified Manufacturing (AMDM) industry cluster. The program is funded each year by the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board.

    Manufacturing ProjectManufacturing contributes greatly to the economy of the region, and remains the top industry in Pennsylvania. Examples of industries in the AMDM cluster include plastics, chemical and metal manufacturing, commercial printing, textile, iron and steel mills, and machine shops. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, the AMDM industry includes 39,000 manufacturers who employ a workforce of 130,000, with over $5.6 billion in total annual payroll, and provide an average annual wage of over $43,000, (20% above the statewide average wage). The YouCUBE program provides an opportunity to educate and train the potential future workforce of these companies in Westmoreland and Fayette Counties.

  • 2010 YouCUBE Summer Programming

    The Youth Careers Utilizing Basic Engineering (YouCUBE) summer programming will begin on Wednesday June 11, 2010. Twenty high school students from Westmoreland County schools will be touring ten schools and companies over the 11-day program. This year's scheduled tours include PDS, Firestone, WCCC, Wyotech, California University of Pennsylvania, Solar Power Industries, Irwin Automation, BAE Systems, Columbia Northwest and Paradigm Aerospace. In addition, a representative of the Westmoreland CareerLink® will walk the youth through a job search presentation.

    The youth will also build, program and battle LEGO Mindstorm robots. Additional activities include a pasta bridge building contest, a duck tape design project, and a hot air balloon project. All youth participants will receive a stipend for their participation in this event.

  • Southwestern PA Manufacturing Boot Camp

    The Southwestern Pennsylvania Manufacturing Boot Camp (MBC) was developed to get workers trained and employed as quickly as possible in family sustaining, high-priority manufacturing occupations within the region. The target population for the MBC project are dislocated and low-wage workers, veterans, unemployed or underemployed older youth, and incumbent workers in need of additional training. The MBC also addresses employers' need for skilled, motivated and drug-free job candidates by certifying graduates who meet the program's high standards.

    In response to employer needs, program participants enter a rigorous intake process which involves an assessment battery, drug screening and background check, and a structured competency-based interview.

    Trainees then attend 200 hours of Manufacturing Specific Skills Training over a five week period. All training participants are required to pass a Content Acquisition Test in order to successfully graduate from the program. Participants will earn 20 continuing education units (CEUs) suitable for application towards certain specialized degree and certificate programs at community colleges and universities. In addition to their transcript of training, participants will receive a Certification of Completion.

    Graduates of the MBC program will have access to multiple pathways to employment. Upon graduation, job search and placement assistance will be provided to place program participants into permanent, self-sustaining, unsubsidized positions.

    Anyone interested in participating in the Southwester PA's Manufacturing Boot Camp, endorsed by some of the regions leading manufacturing firms, contact PA CareerLink-Westmoreland,151 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697.

    MBC Flyer