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Industry Partnerships Advocacy


Pennsylvania is known nationally for its leadership in connecting workforce training to the skill needs of key industries, creating workers with the capabilities needed for high productivity, healthy profits, and good wages.

Our state’s Industry Partnership (IP) training program has become a model for other states. By bringing businesses within an industry together, over 125,000 participants have been trained in the commonwealth since 2005.

IPs are a win-win-win for our state. They grow regional economies, boost the bottom lines of businesses, and help workers find jobs or take their careers to the next level. But Pennsylvania risks losing ground if we allow this successful economic development strategy to wither on the vine. That’s why restoring adequate funding for IPs is a vital step to building IPs into a critical competitive advantage for the state. 

IPs can help solve a major economic challenge facing Pennsylvania—the middle-skill gap. Middle-skill jobs, which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree, account for 55 percent of Pennsylvania employment. However, only 44 percent of Pennsylvania workers are trained to the middle-skill level. Currently, industries with good jobs in our state are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers to fill these jobs.

Pennsylvania needs to invest in what works in order to close the skills gap, and IPs provide a proven, bipartisan path forward. Participating businesses report that networking and training through IPs helped them significantly increase their productivity. IPs also give our career and technical educators, community colleges, and other trainers real intelligence on industry needs.

Unfortunately, state funding for IPs has slipped below $2 million in recent years, and we are in very real danger of losing out on many of the gains we’ve made. With less money available, the number of IPs has dramatically declined, and fewer workers are able to be trained through IPs and – even more importantly – less networking, peer learning, and coordination can take place among the commonwealth’s industries.

PWDA is encouraging state lawmakers to strengthen Pennsylvania’s Industry Partnership program as a sustainable, competitive economic development strategy. With the state FY 17-18 budget and appropriations process underway, NOW is the time to urge members of the General Assembly to support this smart, high-return investment in public-private cooperation by robustly funding the Industry Partnership program to benefit workers and businesses alike.

Pennsylvania’s Industry Partnerships (IPs) bring together companies in the same industry sector (such as healthcare, manufacturing and energy) to identify and invest in core and cutting-edge skills needed to make industries more competitive nationally and globally. The partnerships themselves include industry, education, workforce and other community partners who meet formally and work together to align training to industry needs.  For Pennsylvania’s $600 billion economy, industry partnerships are a bipartisan, business-labor, and public-private approach that works effectively.

IPs leverage funding from multiple sources, including state funding, private industry contributions, private and public grants, and other sources.  Besides worker training, IPs provide forums for companies to address a variety of issues common to their particular industry. Wage gains, career advancement, entry-level employment, and increased productivity are just a few ways that IPs provide a return on investment.

Learn more about IPs.

PA Workforce Development Association