Students, county blindsided by sudden closure of Wyotech vocational school

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Sprawling across 27 acres, with hundreds of students, Wyotech announced it is closing its Blairsville campus on Route 22 for good. 

"I was just going to come get certifications and keep moving on with the field and now I don't know, really,” said student Jackson Gaines.

Students just found out Wednesday. They told Channel 11 they were blindsided by the announcement and don't know what they're going to do next. 


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"Kinda angry about it, but can't really do anything,” Gaines said. “Just gotta take it one step at a time." 

"And was like, ‘We got bad news for you,’” said student Nate Zelie. “’After you guys are done’ – they they called it ‘teaching us out’ – after we're done they're not accepting any more students."

Zelie just started classes a little over a month ago. He's from Maine and said he was considering other trade schools until a recruiter convinced him on Wyotech.

"It was a little frustrating,” he said. “It definitely would have impacted my choice on where I went to school, if I knew that was gonna happen." 

Blairsville is one of Wyotech’s three campuses, and the only one in the Northeast.

Zenith Education Group, the nonprofit that bought Wyotech three years ago, said in a statement, "Over the past few years, it has become evident to us that many of our campuses are located in areas that are geographically inconvenient for underserved students or not built to accommodate the programs that we want and need to offer." 

"I cannot imagine the effect it will have on the economy and everything,” Zelie said. “I bet this brings a lot of business to the town."

Channel 11 spoke to Indiana County commissioners who said they are saddened by the closing, both for the students and the staff, but also for the economy. They said their area is in need of the kind of workplace training Wyotech provides.

They said they’ll be sending a representative with the county’s CareerLink to help people displaced by the closure.


 

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