Marano Fellows Class of 2014
Name: Bill Padnos

Executive Director, SWPA BotsIQ


New Century Careers

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Industry Sector: Manufacturing

Organizational Background & Mission: Mission Statement (established in 1999): “New Century Careers contributes to the economic health of Southwestern Pennsylvania through meeting manufacturing workforce needs by working to deliver a capable workforce to employers of the region. New Century Careers seeks to improve the lives of individuals through the development of skills that lead to good quality family wage jobs and careers.”

In 1997, Southwestern Pennsylvania manufacturers identified a critical shortage of entry-level machinists and other manufacturing workers. A group consisting of representatives from vocational schools, local university and executives representing seventeen manufacturers partnered to create the MANUFACTURING 2000 (M2K) training program to fill these entry level positions.

In 1999, New Century Careers was established as a non-profit organization to run the M2K training program in order to grow the skills of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Manufacturing workforce. New Century Careers collaborates with local manufacturers, four local Workforce Investment Boards in nine counties, state agencies and many supportive organizations to shed light on the opportunities that manufacturing provides for the people of our communities. We support pre-employment and incumbent manufacturing workers as well as their current or future employers to help each set of clients advance economically through continuous workforce education and training.

In 2005, New Century Careers work with its partners to bring the BotsIQ high school robotics competition to Southwestern Pennsylvania. The first competition was held in 2006 with five vocational schools participating in the program. Now in its 9th year, the program has grown. 51 area high schools, 800 students and over 100 companies, academic institutions and workforce development organizations are involved in the SWPA BotsIQ program.

Interest in Sector Work: I am a new comer to the field of manufacturing workforce development . Actually, the first time that I toured a manufacturing facility was last year during the interview process for my current position as executive director of the SWPA BotsIQ program. During this visit, my eyes opened wide to what manufacturing is today. I could not believe how high tech the industry has become and how much innovation is celebrated.

I left that tour with the desire to make a difference and help to connect people to these in-demand and good paying jobs. There are so many opportunities available to individuals who have the aptitude to learn the skills needed for a career in manufacturing. I wish that I possessed the talent to work as an engineer or machinist. Instead, I want to be the person that shows them the pathways to that career option.

I look forward to learning how to be a better workforce development professional from the Academy’s faculty and my fellow students. I have passion for this, I just want to know all of the tricks of the trade so I can serve my organization and community better.