PGT Innovations Hosts Ribbon Cutting for Onsite Training Center

Left to right: John Kunz, senior vice president and chief financial officer of PGT Innovations; Eric Kowalewski, executive vice president of Florida operations for PGT Innovations; Christy Sackett, vice president of marketing for PGT Innovations; Jeff Jackson, President and CEO of PGT Innovations; Debbie LaPinska, Director of Human Resources for PGT Innovations; Dave McCutcheon, senior vice president of business integration for PGT Innovations; Bob Keller, senior vice president of strategy and innovation for PGT Innovations.

PGT Innovations recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Coopey World, its on-site training center for new hires and local students.

The Venice, Fla.-based company named the center after the late George Coopey, a longtime executive and team member who started the organization’s first hands-on training program in the 1990s. .

“We named Coopey World after George because training was his passion,” said Jeff Jackson, president and CEO of PGT Innovations. “The primary purpose of the space is to provide a controlled learning environment for new members of the production team at our Venice campus. In Coopey World, they can experience their new manufacturing roles in a no-pressure setting and have the opportunity to undergo hands-on training before entering the production floor. »

Coopey’s wife, Mary, who has worked at PGTI for 40 years in various roles, was present at the ceremony and received a plaque honoring her husband.

“George was a fun-loving, people-loving person, loved teaching and loved working at PGT,” says Mary Coopey. “For the company to do something like this on his behalf – to remember one of their own and have something like this – is just brilliant, and I’m sure he would be thrilled.”

The Coopey World training center is 1,971 square feet and includes 24 desks, presentation equipment, a scroll saw, a die-cutting/making machine, and frame assembly tables.

All new members of PGTI’s production team based at the Venice campus will complete their orientation and spend three days of training at Coopey World before heading to the fabrication shop in various roles.

“We have always believed in investing in our team members, but especially with our production team members, it is imperative that we provide them with the skills and training necessary to be safe and effective in their roles. says Debbie LaPinska, Chief Human Resources Officer of PGT Innovations. resource manager. “George Coopey knew this and demonstrated his commitment to this idea with team members on his own manufacturing lines. He was an incredible example of our company’s culture of care and innovation, and he is a legacy We are proud to be able to honor that legacy with this facility.

Coopey World is also where local high school students begin their mentorship program through the Pathway to PGTI program. Three students from Venice High School are currently following the program.

“The talent shortage, especially in manufacturing, is a real concern,” says Jackson. “To keep up with the growth and demand for our products, we knew we had to find a way to generate interest in manufacturing roles and help people gain the necessary skills. Through our partnership with the school system, we were able to establish a program focused on the skilled trades, and Pathway to PGTI was born.

The program includes initial classroom training at PGTI’s Coopey World, then students spend 75 minutes of their school day, Monday through Friday, at PGTI’s Venice campus working alongside a qualified mentor.

“The goal of Pathway to PGTI is for high school juniors and seniors to gain experience in a skilled trade while still in school,” says LaPinska. “These students can receive a technical education path, guided training, and a feasible job opportunity upon graduation. If they decide to join our team, they are also encouraged to further their education or their education through our tuition reimbursement program.

Jackson hosted local government officials, representatives from the local education sector, businesses and commercial organizations, and members of the PGT Innovations team at the Coopey World ribbon-cutting ceremony. Guests heard from Jackson, LaPinska, Congressman Greg Steube and Eric Kowalewski, and were offered a tour of the facilities and a demonstration of the training equipment afterwards.

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