Community College of Beaver County received its first National Science Foundation Grant, a three-year award of nearly $200,000, for the project proposal, “SySTEMatic Change through Process Technology.” The project will launch the College’s new Process Technology program with the goal of increasing the number of highly-skilled, well-educated and diverse process technicians in the region. 

     “An NSF grant award is nationally distinctive and a spectacular achievement for CCBC,” said CCBC President Dr. Chris Reber. “Moreover, this grant and project will help position CCBC to become the leading training provider for a new and emerging workforce in Beaver County and beyond.”

     CCBC will offer certified curricula in process technology, develop career pathways for middle and high school students and teachers, and offer stackable credentials that can lead to job opportunities in new and growing industries.  

     “In order to revitalize our local economy, we need to change the mindset that STEM education requires a four-year degree,” said Pradeep Kumar, STEM instructor at CCBC and Principal Investigator (PI) for the grant proposal. “Students can receive our associate degree in process technology and find a career with sustainable wages then continue their education if they choose to do so.”

     The new program will be developed in collaboration with local K-12 educators and the Beaver County Career and Technology Center in order to spark an early interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education in their students.  

     “Through working with K-12 and other higher education institutions, we are able to build those pathways to meet the growing demand in STEM career fields,” said Hugh Gallagher, Career Coach and Co-PI for the grant proposal.  “We can create dual enrollment opportunities in our STEM-related courses for high school students and partner with 4-year institutions to offer our future program graduates the opportunity to continue their education and build upon their career options.”

     Curriculum development will be led by industry partners such as NOVA Chemicals, BASF, and ARDEX to meet the needs of their companies. Through this collaboration, the program will be designed to meet the needs of a variety of industries including chemical, petrochemical, wastewater, energy, and nuclear. Graduates will be able to find jobs not only in the local region but also across the country and the world.

     “We are forming these partnerships in order to build the capacity of future workers for these industries,” said Dr. Melissa Denardo, Vice President of Learning and Student Success/Provost. “This is also an opportunity that will allow the College to apply for larger grants in order to educate K-12 students and beyond in the future.”

     The process technology program could possibly start as early as spring 2015 and will be offered as a 2-year associate in science degree and a certificate program. For more information about program opportunities for students and industries, contact Hugh Gallagher at 724-480-3567 or


Pictured left to right

Melissa Denardo, Vice President of Learning and Student Success/Provost; Pradeep Kumar, STEM instructor and grant PI; Hugh Gallagher, Career Coach and grant Co-PI; John Goberish, Dean of Workforce Development & Continuing Education; and Nancy Dickson, Vice President of Community Relations and Development, worked together for 18 months to write and prepare the grant. The team also visited four community colleges in Houston, TX that assisted with curriculum development.