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CareerLink Alle-Kiski, Penn State praised for successes

May 9, 2018 GMT

Things were looking pretty rough for Darrel Diehl after he lost his job.

Diehl, 61, an Army veteran from Cheswick, has a college degree and a history working in tech, but he said he was jobless when he went to CareerLink and working against a job market that didn’t see him as an asset.

“I was in my last month of unemployment, and it was getting kind of dicey. I’m obviously older, and you find out there is some age discrimination that goes on,” he said. “They said that they know what I’m up against.”

Diehl is one of the people who shared their stories Tuesday when state Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak visited CareerLink Alle-Kiski in New Kensington.

Oleksiak said visiting New Kensington’s CareerLink, a state program that helps people find work, gives him the chance to witness firsthand the progress he said the city is making toward revitalization.

“Every time I visit, I’m just more impressed with the stories I hear,” he said. “The partnership with Penn State and the Corner LaunchBox, it’s great to see.”

Penn State’s The Corner LaunchBox, which opened in December, is an entrepreneur training center and co-working space that anchors one end of the city’s revitalization efforts, called the Corridor of Innovation.

Westmoreland County Community College, where CareerLink is located, anchors the other end of the corridor. The two programs will provide job training that will be useful for the city, Mayor Tom Guzzo said.

Training provided by places like the Corner and CareerLink will be especially important as the city takes over the Schreiber Industrial Park and develops it into a center for advanced manufacturing, according to Guzzo.

“This is the perfect opportunity to partner with CareerLink,” Guzzo said.

The reason is that the city hopes to channel as much energy into training as possible to ensure the skills needed for its planned manufacturing center are available when the time comes, he said.

“We have (The Corner), where innovative entrepreneurs will work on their ideas in an environment made just for them,” Guzzo said. “Once these ideas are formed and found to be workable, we will be able to manufacture those ideas right here in New Kensington. That’s where we can partner with CareerLink to have them help us by matching people to needs.”

That’s exactly what CareerLink does, according to Oleksiak.

“We’re getting people ready for the jobs of the future,” he said.

Penn State New Kensington Chancellor Kevin Snider said job training provided by CareerLink is an excellent match for the programs offered by The Corner.

“We’re focused on the future. One of the great things I love about our partnership with CareerLink is that they are focused on trying to help people’s lives right now,” he said.

Diehl is one of those people. He is working full time now for a medical device manufacturer in O’Hara Township, a job that, according to him, he wouldn’t have been able to find without the help of programs like CareerLink.

“I just can’t thank CareerLink enough,” he said.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4675, mmedsger@tribweb.com or via Twitter @matthew_medsger.