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The Armstrong County Industrial Development Council (ACIDC) has signed a joint venture agreement with The Energy Innovation Center Institute (EICI) to improve the critical infrastructure workforce.

ACIDC and EICI will design, develop and operate the Critical Infrastructure Workforce Academy (CIWA), located at Northpointe, an 800-acre business park in Freeport, PA.

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The aim is to improve critical infrastructure skills for the water, gas, electricity, sewerage and telecommunications industry.

The project is supported by the utility construction industry to improve private and public safety and training of a new workforce, as well as the retraining and upskilling of both displaced and incumbent workers, and the advancement of energy sector research.

The project is expected to address the current and future utility sector workforce needs.

CIWA will include state-of-the-art classroom and online training, virtual and live simulation with over 20 acres to mock rural, suburban, urban and industrial streets and building settings.

Additionally, the site is expected to function as a living laboratory for the main users of the facility: utility providers, upstream and midstream energy sectors and the construction industry.

The Project's facilities, programming, and training are expected to be a new model of collaboration between employers, innovators, regulators, trade unions, and training organisations.

The training facility is expected to be operational by spring 2020.

“The Marcellus Shale Coalition is pleased to be partnering with the Energy Innovation Center Institute's first national Critical Infrastructure Workforce Academy. The MSC and our membership believe that CIWA's unique training platform will assist in preparing our regional workforce to secure employment opportunities associated with the safe and responsible development of new natural gas infrastructure,” said David J Spigelmyer, President, Marcellus Shale Coalition

“This is an exciting project and timely given the utility sector’s current workforce needs. There is also a tremendous upside for our local and regional economy. The Armstrong County Board of Commissioners has consistently asked us to identify opportunities that can make a real difference. I believe this project fits the bill.” – Dennis Smail, Chairman ACIDC