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Our members serve over 100,000 Pennsylvanians in need of job training, skill development and employment on an annual basis; additionally, Pennsylvania businesses serve as a core partner – addressing the competitive talent needs of thousands of small to large-size employers, Pennsylvania’s workforce development system lifts up our Commonwealth.
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The PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA) serves as the voice of the Pennsylvania workforce development system and a clearinghouse for workforce development information statewide. PWDA develops and provides professional training to local workforce development boards, while continuing proactive advocacy efforts on behalf of the workforce development system.


PA@Work Spotlight

Successfully Navigating Incarceration to Gainful Employment »

PA Workforce Development Association hosts panel on reentry and workforce development

“No job, I rob.”

This is how Executive Deputy Secretary of Corrections for Community Corrections and Reentry George M. Little summed up the importance of a living wage job for reentrants from incarceration at a Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association PA@Work virtual panel this week.

Hosted by PWDA Executive Director Carrie Anne Amann, other panelists included Peggy Kershner, Co-Executive Director, Berks Connections / Pretrial Services, and Associate Professor Jordan Hyatt, J.D., Ph.D., from the Drexel University Department of Criminality and Justice Studies.

Amann pointed out that one out of every 25 Pennsylvanians has some involvement in the criminal justice system, and that research shows that implicit bias about incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color.

The panelists agreed that one thing is certain – in today’s economy, all Pennsylvanians are needed to fill the growing number of open jobs.

“Their success is our success,” Executive Secretary Little said. He added that his agency has focused on creating programs inside the correctional system that provide essential job and soft skills training. In addition, Little said, the Department of Corrections works with incarcerated people to address barriers to employment, which are often as simple as a valid ID and social security papers.

Kershner agreed, adding that her organization is in the “life improvement business.”

Hyatt, who conducts research into the public policies informing incarceration, said that Obama-era changes in federal law now allow funding for in-prison classes. “People who receive education while behind bars are 28% less likely to reoffend,” he said. […]

PA Workforce Development Association