HARRISBURG – Three Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grants, with a combined total of nearly $5 million, have been awarded to projects in Jefferson and McKean counties, according to Sen. Cris Dush (R-25) and Reps. Brian Smith (R-66) and Martin Causer (R-67).
In Jefferson County, a $1.1 million grant was awarded to the Jefferson County Dubois Area Vocational Technical School (Jeff Tech), located in Winslow Township, for a project to construct, equip and furnish a new facility to house Jeff Tech’s Farm-to-Refrigerator training program, which is intended to address a shortage of skilled meat processing manpower in our region. The new facility will serve both secondary and adult students seeking to acquire skills for employment in the meat processing industry.
“The Jeff Tech project will help reduce an identified bottleneck in the local meat supply chain as well as provide area secondary and adult students with new, marketable skills in a resilient industry within the region,” Dush said. “Increasing employment opportunities and helping address challenges faced by our region’s meat processing industry will benefit our local communities as well as enhance the economic sustainability of family farms in the region.”
“Congratulations to everyone at Jeff Tech on qualifying for this highly competitive grant funding for the 66th Legislative District, throughout northwestern Pennsylvania, and most importantly; the high demand, family-sustaining jobs of both today and tomorrow,” said Smith. “If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it highlighted the need to stabilize food sources across the United States. For the first time in many of our lifetimes, all Pennsylvanians grappled with food insecurity. With this funding, we are investing in the production piece between ‘farm to table’ and stabilizing our food supplies, particularly in the meat processing industry.”
“Jeff Tech would like to thank state Rep. Brian Smith and state Sen. Cris Dush for coming through in support of Jeff Tech’s RACP Grant for $1,100,000 for its Farm-to-Refrigerator training facility,” Jeff Tech Director Barry Fillman said. “This contribution will pair with the federal appropriations received due to the support of U.S. Congressman Glen Thompson totaling $1,125,000 to allow us to begin construction.”
“This state-of-the-art facility will be used to train butchers and meat cutters for the entire region,” said Fillman, later adding, “The long-term vision of this project is for people in our community to grow, butcher, sell, purchase and eat regionally sourced meat products and grow the economy of our entire region while providing long term, family sustaining career opportunities for adult and secondary students in our area.”
In McKean County, the Lutheran Home at Kane, located in Kane Borough, was awarded a $2.44 million grant for the addition of an Alzheimer’s/Dementia unit to the facility as well as redesign access to the facility to account for varying degrees of patient acuity, creating separate entrance routes for air ambulance (helicopter), ground emergency transport vehicles (EMS) and private vehicle traffic.
“The Lutheran Home at Kane provides high-level care across a broad spectrum of programs including independent living, personal care and long-term care, all of which benefit the community,” Dush said. “Not only will these upgrade all the facility to improve the care, safety and quality of life for those residing in the facility, it will also allow The Lutheran Home to increase its number of employees from the 138 current employees to 148 during the next three years.”
Also in McKean County, the Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC) in Bradford City was awarded a $1,071,250 grant to begin to improve the facility’s roof, emergency drop off area lots, HVAC system, two elevators and wi-fi capabilities.
“Every small, rural town can benefit from a fully functioning hospital, and Bradford is fortunate enough to have one that not only provides quality, needed care, but also serves as one of the area’s largest employers and a positive factor in attracting other employers to the region,” said Dush. “With the planned upgrades, BRMC will enhance its ability to both serve the Bradford area and be an integral part of McKean County’s future.”
Added Causer: “It is important we continue to invest in our health care and long-term care facilities to meet the needs of our residents. I was pleased to support this much-needed funding for our communities.”
“All three projects are focused on improving the lives of those living in Jefferson and McKean counties, whether by increasing employment opportunities and the availability of skilled meat processors, or through the expansion of health care facilities to ensure accessible quality health care for our rural communities,” Dush said. “I’m happy to have supported these important investments in the 25th District.”
RACP is administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational, and historical improvement projects. RACP projects are authorized in the Redevelopment Assistance section of a Capital Budget Itemization Act. They must have a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases or maintain current levels of employment, tax revenues, or other measures of economic activity.
CONTACT: Zack Ankeny