- Rep. Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana) and Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41) today confirmed Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) and its acclaimed Academy of Culinary Arts will receive a second $1 million grant from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for a major Jefferson County construction project to replace a 32-year-old learning facility.
“IUP’s Academy of Culinary Arts has a solid, well established track record for offering numerous career and trade programs that many local high school graduates take advantage of to prepare for future occupations in the hospitality industry,” said Smith. “Our region is always in need of more highly-skilled professionals and this second round of state funding will allow for the completion of this culinary trend-setting, state-of-the-art facility to properly train students for the well-paying, family-sustaining jobs that are waiting to be filled right now.”
The grant funding will help complete the construction of a new, 45,000-square foot education and multipurpose commercial site anchored in downtown Punxsutawney, with the facility to serve as the main educational, retail and experimental hub for students and the surrounding community.
“The new technology-focused culinary kitchens and laboratories will provide critical spaces for optimal learning of students. Exceptional lab spaces and classrooms will meet workforce needs for highly skilled culinary arts chefs and bakers,” said Pittman. “This brings the total funding commitment for this project to $2.75 million. I commend Rep. Smith and Congressman GT Thompson for their partnership in bringing these funds to this project as a united legislative team. It will be transformative to IUP and the borough of Punxsutawney.”
Smith and Pittman previously worked with IUP officials to secure an initial $1 million RACP grant last December. The RACP funds will be specifically used for capital costs, including part of the demolition, construction, renovation of property and buildings where classes will be held, as well as the permits and equipment necessary to move forward with all aspects of the project.
Since its founding in 1989, more than 4,200 IUP students have studied in Punxsutawney at the Academy of Culinary Arts. The 16-month Academy program, nationally recognized and accredited by the American Culinary Federation, includes a paid externship placement for students, many at four-star restaurants and resorts throughout the nation.
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 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.
Representative Brian Smith
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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