The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Johnstown Area Regional Industries, and the Greater Johnstown Keystone Innovation Zone have joined forces to launch a new initiative to enhance the viability of our region. The new program, “AIM@Johnstown,” is designed to more effectively link the campus, the community, and UPJ alumni by featuring UPJ graduates as liaisons between UPJ academia and Johnstown industry. A January 14 reception is planned to introduce the project and solicit alumni support.
In announcing the project kickoff, Bob Knipple, UPJ’s director of Alumni and Community Relations, said “The University is excited about introducing this new approach for our alumni to interact with our campus in ways that benefit everybody. While we create a more enhanced, experiential learning opportunity here, the community can more easily tap into UPJ talent and resources to help meet their needs.”
The new project, which is intended to eventually serve as an example for other colleges and universities in the Greater Johnstown region, is being modeled after similar programs in other cities across the U.S., including Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Portland, Maine.
AIM@Johnstown intends to utilize alumni in a variety of roles including speakers, advisers, and intern and project sponsors. Opportunities exist in the areas of information technology, engineering technology, the physical sciences, and business. Knipple explained that “The primary goals of AIM (Amplify, Integrate, and Mentor) are to enhance student learning, to integrate student groups with community members and our alumni, and to mentor students in various fields of interest.”
JARI Vice President for Procurement and Technology Bob Shark, a UPJ graduate, said “Surveys and studies have shown that the main reason students stay where they went to school is that they can find a job they want -- something not only in their field of expertise that they like, but also with good pay. After that, the feeling that they belong in a place, that it’s become home to them, is a powerful anchor. AIM@Johnstown is all about creating that belonging by breaking traditional boundaries and expanding a college campus across an entire region. We’re asking UPJ grads for their help to help kick start the effort here.”
The kick off reception will feature a presentation that provides details about the project, an introduction of a local group that has already started to work on connecting students in Johnstown with the local arts scene, and a networking Q & A session. For more information about the reception or to RSVP, call UPJ at 814.269.2080. For more information about AIM@Johnstown, call JARI at 814.535.8675.