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The Erie Center for Arts and Technology gains momentum with a $1 million grant from Hamot Health Foundation.

Ecat 1 million check

A local nonprofit, ECAT is a community-based educational arts and career training program. Adults and at-risk youth are inspired, educated, and empowered through no-cost job training and creative programming that emphasizes the arts. The priceless byproduct? Light and hope poking through the darkness of impoverished neighborhoods.

In major ECAT news, Hamot Health Foundation presented $1 million to ECAT Executive Director Daria Devlin. The check presentation took place at a recent ECAT special event, during which the organization’s building plans were unveiled to community leaders.

The money will be used to build capital for necessary renovations at the organization’s former Wayne School location as well as to create an endowment fund toward sustainability.

“We are incredibly grateful to Hamot Health Foundation for their commitment and vision in making this significant gift, which will support our immediate capital needs as well as build a foundation for the organization’s future” said Daria Devlin.

Guests at the event heard an inspirational address from Bill Strickland of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh. Strickland is the originator of the National Center for Arts and Technology model upon which ECAT is based and whose mission it is to “champion an educational philosophy steeped in a powerful fusion of mentorship, education, beauty, and hope.” As this model catches on in 13 national and international locations, Strickland travels the globe in a leadership capacity. At the ECAT event, he expressed great confidence in Erie’s local launch of his vision.

Falling Waters

Devlin recently chaperoned 11 photojournalism students from ECAT as they traveled to Fallingwater in Mills Run, Pennsylvania. Designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the property provided an unmatched training ground for capturing images of light and nature. This field experience typifies the creative classroom approach of ECAT.

The students were invigorated by a full day of hands-on learning, flashing bright and wide smiles as evidence.

Other classes available at ECAT include health care career curriculum. An important feature of the ECAT model is the narrowing of employment gaps in the business community. ECAT acts as a specialized pipeline in training individuals to match current and projected needs of local employers. To demonstrate this point, UPMC Hamot looks forward to filling medical assistant openings with ECAT graduates.

As ECAT continues to gain momentum, Hamot Health Foundation is cheering in the stands and providing significant financial support. Truly, what is good for neighbors in need is good for our entire community.

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