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Career Training Academy in Lower Burrell set to close next year

October 4, 2018

Career Training Academy Campus Director Mike Discello and President and CEO Kim Rassau on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, talk about the school’s new location in Hillcrest Shopping Center in Lower Burrell that will open in January 2016. Prior to that the academy had been in New Kensington for more than 30 years.

After nearly 50 years of preparing students for jobs in health-related fields, Career Training Academy (CTA) is shutting its doors.

The academy, which has locations in Lower Burrell and in West View, will cease operations next year, spokeswoman Carrie Butler said.

The reason for the closure wasn’t immediately clear. Butler said it hadn’t been disclosed by the academy’s ownership firm.

Butler said students at the West View location will be done Nov. 30, and all Lower Burrell students will be done by March 31. The school will then close permanently.

CTA offers programs in fields such as medical and dental assistant, phlebotomy technician and massage therapist, according to its website.

An automated message plays when the academy is called that says it is no longer enrolling new students.

In an August statement sent to the Tribune-Review, school President and CEO Kim Rassau said it has been a privilege to serve the greater Pittsburgh community for 46 years.

“We have helped our CTA graduates achieve meaningful work in nearly every aspect of health care -- from pediatric units and private practices to emergency rooms and disaster relief,” Rassau said. “The life-changing work that they continue to do will always be a positive reflection of the faculty and professional staff who have been personally invested in every student’s success.”

The school officially began “teach-out” mode in July and is focused on supporting students who plan to continue academic and professional endeavors, according to the statement.

Rassau said plans include the opportunity for every current CTA student to complete training and certifications and graduate on time. She said most students should be able to complete their current courses of study by the end of the year. Transition assistance for enrolled students also will be offered.

“While we will no longer accept new enrollments, our first priority is the opportunity to prepare our current students for successful career readiness and work together with the region’s employers to support their eligibility for field-related work upon completion,” Rassau said.

A phone message left for Rassau for further comment on Wednesday wasn’t returned.

The academy moved from New Kensington and became a tenant of Hillcrest Shopping Center in January 2016.

Lower Burrell Councilman Joe Grillo said it’s a shame the academy is closing. He said he saw the students frequenting other businesses in the shopping center, and he thinks it will be a major hit to one of the city’s business districts.

“I’m concerned that taking those students now out of that shopping center (is) probably going to take business out, too,” Grillo said. “Anytime stuff like that happens (is) not good. I would like to know the reason why they’re closing.”

Councilman Rob Hamilton said he found out about the academy’s impending closure in September.

“I don’t know why they’re closing; I just knew they were closing,” he said.

Hamilton would have liked to have seen the academy succeed, especially with the career training it offered.

“I think we live in a world where college degrees are kind of commercialized,” he said. “To see opportunity for people to get certificates or two-year programs ... so they can go straight into the workforce is always something I think we need in this country.”

Mayor Rich Callender was unavailable for comment Wednesday. Messages left for Councilmen Christopher Koziarski and Christopher Fabry weren’t immediately returned.

Lower Burrell CTA campus director Michael Discello said it’s sad the academy is closing, but he had no further comment when reached by phone Wednesday.

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