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Penn College teams with Paulson Training on plastics apprenticeship program

By: Bill Bregar

March 26, 2013

WILLIAMSPORT, PA. — Pennsylvania College of Technology is now teaming with Paulson Training Programs Inc. to become the sole North American distributor of the Global Services for Plastics Certification.

GSPC is an apprenticeship program for the plastics industry. The certification process combines face-to-face instruction, interactive training, process simulation and focused, on-the-job exercises. The training is customized to each company's specific procedures and operations.

"It's an employee certification program where the employee actually gets a credential. And he can take that credential from company to company. So rather than a degree, he has a certification program," said Hank White, director of the Plastics Innovation and Resource Center at Penn College in Williamsport.

Paulson Training, in Chester, Conn., creates the interactive coursework of GSPC.

GSPC originally was developed in the United Kingdom. The global center for administration of the certification program is Wolverhampton College in Wolverhampton, England.

Indiana adopted GSPC, and about 30 companies have participated from that state. Pennsylvania was the second state to use GSPC, when Penn College launched a pilot program five years ago. Since then, about 23 Pennsylvania plastics companies have participated. The companies have an average of 30 employees, White said.

Penn College's Plastics Innovation and Resource Center handles all administrative activities to support the training in North America, and also provides train-the-trainer workshops. The school tracks the results of training by conducting pre- and post-training assessments. White said college officials have found significant improvements in employee morale and communications from the training.