Rosedale Technical College will celebrate 70 years on Sept. 28 at its Blue Jean Ball, honoring its reputation as the center of training for the skilled trades in Western Pennsylvania.
Food and live music will be a part of the festivities. Dressy jeans or other denim attire is welcome at this relaxed event.
Founded as a for-profit institution in 1949 near Verona, PA, it originally had a goal of training returning veterans in the trade of automotive mechanics. There was only one educational program at Rosedale, until 2001, when the diesel technology and electrical technology programs were added. Since then, programs in HVAC technology, truck driving and industrial technician programs were launched, and in 2015, welding, applied business management and collision repair technology were added.
In 1969, the center was acquired by the nonprofit Electronics Institute and in 2006, moved to its current location in Kennedy Township off Interstate 79 at Route 60. It became a free-standing independent nonprofit college in 2014.
Dennis Wilke of South Fayette Township has been the president since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy from Carnegie Mellon University and had a 14-year career with the May Company’s corporate divisions in Pittsburgh and Houston before returning to Pittsburgh, joining Rosedale in 2005 as its vice president.
“The biggest change since its founding 70 years ago, in my opinion, has been our conversion to a 501c3 nonprofit educational institution,” said Wilke. “The model of a small private nonprofit technical college allows Rosedale to have both the nimble flexibility of a private entity while the nonprofit nature allows us to keep our focus fully on the best interests of our students.”
One of the school’s newest initiatives is looking into how many employers are contributing to the cost of education. Dozens of Rosedale’s employer partners have tuition reimbursement or student loan repayment, and some even participate in bonus programs that help support the students and graduates.
Students have been providing charitable organizations like Kamp Konokwee, the TC House for adults with Down Syndrome in Imperial, PA, and various local churches with free labor and repair services.