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CCAC North Campus to launch Innovation Lab in January

Article by: CCAC public Relations

Space will foster collaboration with industry, enabling students to become workforce ready

PITTSBURGH-The Community College of Allegheny County's North Campus will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Thursday, January 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. to celebrate the launch of the college's first-ever Innovation Lab. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will be among those in attendance to officially open the Innovation Lab, which will connect industry representatives with faculty and students in project-based and interdisciplinary learning opportunities. Businesses and companies will be able to tap into the creative talents of CCAC students and faculty who will assist with solution-driven project development, benefitting area businesses and students, alike.

"Workforce development remains one of the most important needs in our community. Connecting a skilled workforce to the jobs available is an integral piece of our continued economic development," said Fitzgerald. "The Innovation Lab allows us to do exactly that, while also meeting immediate needs of our business community and giving students hands-on experience that enhances their education and experiences at CCAC. We look forward to seeing the projects that come out of the Innovation Lab, and the opportunities that they create for our students.

"IT companies and nonprofits that join the Innovation Lab Network will be invited to present their business needs to faculty and students and receive recommendations and solutions. The lab will house high-demand, high-earning programs in order to develop a pipeline of skilled professionals prepared to meet the region's workforce needs. Service subject areas include cybersecurity analysis, data analytics, programming, digital video production, multi-media/social media, marketing, virtual reality and augmented reality. The space will include Mac and PC environments and will also be used to foster collaborative interaction with the CCAC Honors Program and Student Life.

According to Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki, president of CCAC North Campus, the idea for the Innovation Lab came about as a response to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development's Inflection Point report, which identified various workforce training needs in the region. The lab also directly responds to a new report issued by the Brookings Institution, which concludes that a university-led collaborative effort to boost the city's innovation ecosystem could help ensure Pittsburgh's role as a world-class hub linking research, technology, entrepreneurship and job growth.

"I'm very excited about it," said Mullin-Sawicki. "The Innovation Lab will present a new way of learning and a new way of collaborating with our industry partners to help meet future workforce demands."

Membership in the Innovation Lab Network is free and will include an annual project competition fair. To join, members are required to participate in one project and attend one membership meeting.

For more information, or to RSVP to the ribbon cutting and open house, email

CCAC North Campus is located at 8701 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

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