Begin Main Content Area

Hiram G. Andrews Center


Located in suburban Johnstown, the HGAC campus covers more than 45 acres. It is the world's first and largest rehabilitation facility specifically designed to provide comprehensive rehabilitation services under one roof.
From its opening in April 1959, HGAC has achieved worldwide recognition, attracted distinguished visitors from many countries and provided individualized educational and rehabilitation programs for resident and commuter students. An individual's program may include vocational evaluation, educational programming and physical restoration.
HGAC also houses the Commonwealth Technical Institute, a postsecondary school that offers six associate degree programs and nine diploma programs.


Hiram G. Andrews Center conducts a comprehensive program of services featuring the integration of education, counseling, evaluation and physical restoration in a barrier-free environment.
At the Hiram G. Andrews Center, education is not confined to the classroom. While the majority of a student's time and attention is focused on education and training, job skills are only part of the learning experience. A continuum of support services, ranging from vocational evaluation and career exploration to independent living skills, combine to offer students the skills they will need to live, work and contribute in the community.


Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling

This counseling component helps students reach their educational goals while guiding them in problem-solving and decision-making processes. Individual and group counseling sessions are available to meet students' needs.

Center for Assistive and Rehabilitative Technology or CART

In the CART department, highly trained specialists evaluate students' abilities and match them with appropriate assistive technology to maximize independence in the home, school and/or work environments. Assistive technology assessment is provided in the areas of positioning and mobility, computer access, environmental controls, driver assessment and vehicle modification, devices for activities of daily living, devices for visual and/or auditory impairments, and home/school/work modifications specific to architectural barriers and ergonomics. Assessment, equipment recommendations, and training needs are addressed by CART staff.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services

The deaf/hard of hearing services unit includes a rehabilitation counselor and certified interpreters, all of whom are fluent in American Sign Language and are knowledgeable about the use of assistive listening devices. Vocational evaluation and remediation services are customized to meet the needs of the students. Day and evening services are available for students.

Cognitive Skills Enhancement Program (CSEP)

CSEP focuses on preparing individuals with cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, stroke and traumatic brain injury for vocational training and placement. We work to improve skills in self-knowledge, communication, self-advocacy, problem solving and organization, and the effective use of accommodations and assistive technology.
CSEP, tier one is a one-term, stand-alone program. A customer does not have to attend a vocational training program at HGAC in order to participate in CSEP. OVR customers can be referred for CSEP and return home for vocational training or placement. Program components include cognitive enhancement, assistive technology, social cognition, night support program, vocational cognition, vocational planning and mentorship in the community.
CSEP, tier two is a follow-up program for students who participated in the tier one program. Tier two staff followup with students who participated in the tier one program to see how they are progressing. Services and counseling are provided if needed.
CSEP, tier three provides consultation for students currently enrolled in HGAC training programs, and who have not participated in the CSEP tier one or two programs.

Transit Program

All customers and students receive training in the use of city bus services. In addition, persons with disabilities are able to ride city buses at reduced fares during daytime non-peak hours.


A spacious recreation hall with daily programs offers activities such as ceramics, bingo, dances, movies and table and video game tournaments. Intramural volleyball and basketball leagues comprise the bulk of gymnasium activities. A safe and well-equipped weight room with exercise equipment are also available. Supervised, off-campus trips include concerts, bicycling trips, sporting events and special events in the Johnstown area.

Student Advisory Committee

Students have the opportunity and responsibility of self-government. Dormitory and commuter students elect representatives to the student advisory committee, which has the responsibility to conduct and coordinate its activities with HGAC managers and supervisors on issues of interest and concern. All students are eligible to take part in the election of officers and to attend meetings.

Student Enrichment Program

The Student Enrichment Program implements individualized programming to help improve personal hygiene, self-esteem, social relationships, cultural diversity, social skills and adjusting to the school setting. Guidance is provided in group sessions that emphasize social issues and students participate in off-campus social events to practice their social skills.


Student Health Clinic

The health clinic provides a comprehensive, caring atmosphere that encourages students to maintain a healthy lifestyle and helps them succeed in their vocational training. The clinic maintains a medical file on all students. The following services, and more, are offered: treatment for acute/chronic conditions, emergency and non-emergency situations, first aid, medication administration and monitoring, individual health teaching, outside referrals and scheduling of diagnostic testing. Registered nurses staff the health clinic from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Occupational Therapy (OT)

OT provides therapeutic intervention for students with disabilities. OT is used to meet educational goals and to maximize independence in activities of daily living (ADLs). Available services include work tolerance and physical capacity testing, perceptual motor evaluations, upper extremity activities, perceptual and cognitive retraining and ADL treatment.

Physical Therapy (PT)

PT provides individualized treatment programs for students with disabilities or physical limitations affecting their vocational objectives. Work-hardening therapy includes lifting techniques, body mechanics, posture training, fitness and conditioning with the goal of achieving maximum physical potential. Other therapies, such as prosthetic and orthotic training and massage are also provided. A staff physiatrist is available four days a week to conduct evaluations of a person's physical capacity and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Speech Therapy

Individuals admitted to HGAC receive a speech and hearing test. If results show speech therapy is needed, it will be scheduled. Speech therapy services include speech and language evaluations, speech and hearing screenings and augmentative communication evaluations, follow-ups and training.

Vocational Evaluation

Vocational evaluation is an empowering process that provides the potential student with information necessary for sound vocational planning. By participating in the evaluation process, individuals learn how to identify their vocational strengths and weaknesses, and how to locate and use vocational reference materials. They receive information about various job requirements and about matching their abilities to those specific occupations.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to students who qualify on the basis of demonstrated financial need and who are enrolled in eligible programs. On-site work study opportunities are available. Financial aid personnel are available during regular business hours to answer questions.

Pennsylvania's Assistive Technology Lending Library

The lending library provides the opportunity for Pennsylvanians to borrow and assess assistive technology devices prior to purchase. The library is located on the Hiram G. Andrews Center's campus, and the services are free to all Pennsylvanians with disabilities. For more information call toll-free 800-204-7428 or visit


Prior to graduation, students take job preparedness classes with a focus on completing applications, résumé writing, interviewing skills, videotaped mock job interviews and employer contacts.

Career Guidance Center (CGC)

The CGC provides occupational information materials for career exploration. Supervised and independent research at the CGC provides students with an opportunity to make important career decisions. Job duties, occupational outlooks, salaries, chances for advancement, qualifications and type and length of training are all important factors to consider when choosing a career or an educational facility.

Therapeutic Services

Individual therapeutic services are provided by psychological services associates. Through this service, students have the opportunity to maximize their potential by addressing social and emotional issues that may hinder the vocational process.

HGAC Security

The security office provides a safe and secure environment for HGAC. The center has 24-hour coverage, card access entrances and security cameras located throughout the building that record and monitor activity. Security makes frequent rounds inside the building, and is available for reporting and dealing with inappropriate or illegal behavior. In addition, the security office works closely with the local police department.


Programs of Study incorporate secondary education and postsecondary education elements and include coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant career and technical content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary and postsecondary education to adequately prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education. Programs of study may include the opportunity for secondary students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs or acquire college level credit or equivalent clock hours in other ways, leading to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
Articulation for advanced credit transfer is made possible when Perkins-Allocated Postsecondary Institutions and Pennsylvania Secondary Schools offering SOAR Programs of Study agree to the terms and conditions stated in the Perkins Statewide Articulation Agreement. This agreement outlines the general agreement conditions between secondary and postsecondary institutions and student qualification measures allowing the student to acquire postsecondary education credits leading to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level or an associate or baccalaureate degree.


ASB Medical Office Assistant (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 4 terms – 71 credits
Program Description: Develops a high degree of competency in the essentials of a medical office assistant. The program emphasizes office responsibilities, not clinical skills.

AST Architectural Drafting (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 4 terms – 70 credits
Program Description: Offers comprehensive coverage of design drafting for the construction industry through detailed study of construction practices and building technology plus the technical capacity to reason, plan and design in terms of sound engineering methods, modern materials and cost factors.

AST Culinary Arts (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 4 terms – 66 credits
Program Description: Instruction in basic and advanced skills in the food service continuum. Students are taught the skills essential for independent preparation of appetizers, entrees and desserts in the commercial and institutional kitchen. Electives and a practicum round out the student's professional growth and experience.

AST Dental Laboratory Technology (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 4 terms – 63 credits
Program Description: Instruction in removable prosthodontics and fixed restorative techniques. Students develop skills in various specialties within the dental laboratory industry. Related and elective courses enable the student to round out professional growth and development.

AST Mechanical Drafting (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 4 terms – 70 credits
Program Description: Instruction in comprehensive coverage of design drafting for industries involved in mass manufacturing and tool and machine design.

AST Networking and Telecommunications Technology (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 5 terms – 73 credits
Program Description: Instruction in basic and advanced training in diagnosing and solving network and telecommunication problems.

Automotive Technology (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 3 terms – 50 credits
Program Description: Entry-level skills instruction in parts replacement, troubleshooting, minor repairs, general engine tune-up and preparation for state inspection of motor vehicles. Students will be eligible to take the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle State Inspection Examination as part of their training. Proper tool handling, equipment and safety procedures are emphasized throughout the program.

Building Maintenance (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 3 terms – 48 credits
Program Description: Instruction in basic, entry-level skills and knowledge to help maintenance personnel keep buildings and grounds clean and in a good state of repair. Hands-on training follows classroom instruction.

Business Retail Sales (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 3 terms – 45 credits
Program Description: Instruction in entry-level skills and a working knowledge of various types of wholesale and retail operations. Students utilize these skills through their work experience in Notions, the gift shop at HGAC.

Culinary Arts – Kitchen Helper

Program length & credits: 2 terms – 28 credits
Program Description: Instruction in entry-level skills essential in kitchen maintenance, sanitation, production and safety necessary for employment in food service operations.

Materials Management and Distribution

Program length & credits: 2 terms – 36 credits
Program Description: Prepares students for a variety of positions in business and industry including skills instruction in receiving, storing, sorting, packing, shipping, freight handling and controlling of products and materials using computers and electronic devices. In addition, students are introduced to a variety of industrial lift trucks and materials-handling equipment.

Nursing Assistant (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 1 term – 17 credits
Program Description: Instruction in basic nursing assistant skills and principles of restorative care. The overall objective is to provide the training necessary to deliver caring service and respect to residents of a care facility. Students participate in a clinical experience.

Office Technology (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 3 terms – 43 credits
Program Description: Instruction in basic, entry-level skills and knowledge of clerical and recordkeeping office work.

Printing Technology (Program of Study Participant)

Program length & credits: 3 terms – 45 credits
Program Description: Instruction in basic entry-level skills in operating duplicators, plate makers, paper cutters, collators and binders.

Small Engine and Equipment Repair

Program length & credits: 3 terms – 47 credits
Program Description: Instruction in entry-level skills in the service and repair of a wide variety of small engines, repair and adjustment of related equipment, and basic skills in sharpening a variety of household and industrial cutting tools and blades.


Learning Services

Three programs provide academic support services to students: Act 101 Learning Assistance, TRIO Student Support Services and the Learning Support Program. These programs are designed to assist eligible students in achieving their academic goals. Learning Support Services staff works closely with disability support services to provide appropriate accommodations.

Disability Support Services

Disability Support Services assist students with accommodations that may be needed during their training program. Services may include providing materials in alternate formats, note-taking assistance, testing accommodations, strategies in using assistive technology and in time management. A peer counselor is also available.

Driver Education

No credits or hours earned.
Program Description: Offers the opportunity to acquire a valid Pennsylvania driver's license. Classroom instruction consists of thirty hours, and behind-the-wheel training consists of a minimum of six hours. In addition to learning how to drive, students learn the risks associated with driving and how to manage them. The goal of the Driver Education program is to provide students with the skills, confidence and attitude to safely participate in the highway transportation system. Having a valid Pennsylvania driver's license will enable students to participate in activities such as education, recreation, employment and social activities.

Center for Occupational Readiness (COR)

No credits or hours are earned. Open entry/Open exit.
Program Description: COR provides instruction in basic academic and occupational skills necessary for success in a pre-determined training area and in the workforce. Remediation in math, English, reading and life skills is self-paced, highly individualized and provides a preoccupational environment integrated into students' occupational training via a team teaching approach with the occupational instructor. Emphasis is placed on preparing students to meet employer expectations and to be successful in the workforce. Student achievement is monitored by progress review meetings involving the student, counselors, instructors and other appropriate staff.

Personal Growth and Development

The Personal Growth and Development program provides students with the opportunity to acquire independent skills needed to function in daily living and the world of work. The program identifies and addresses a variety of individual needs. Experiential and structured learning activities are offered, including meal preparation, financial literacy, clothing selection and care, environment care and the use of public transportation.


Tours are available for individuals and groups, and are offered Monday - Friday. Call 800-762-4211, ext. 0645 or 814-254-0645 to arrange a tour.
Contact Information
Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Stephen H. Suroviec, Executive Director
Hiram G. Andrews Center
727 Goucher Street, Johnstown, PA 15905
Toll Free: 800-762-4211
Voice: 814-255-8200
Fax: 814-255-3406
Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
OVR prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, ancestry, HIV/AIDS status and age. Any applicant or customer of OVR who believes he or she is being discriminated against may contact OVR at the following address:

Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Hiram G. Andrews Center
727 Goucher Street
Johnstown, PA 15905
Telephone 814-255-8200
Toll Free 800-762-4211