Hershey, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association announced that seven local employers and organizations were recipients of the Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement, to be honored at the Association’s 39th Annual Conference on May 3-5, 2023, in Hershey.
“Congratulations to all of the employers and organizations who have earned recognition for their partnerships that have brought more skilled workers into the workforce,” said Carrie Amann, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association. “Across Pennsylvania, employers and other organizations are helping to train workers and grow our economy. We’re proud to work with these organizations and recognize their contributions.”
PWDA presents its prestigious Governor’s Achievement Employers Awards with its partners, the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Workforce Deputate (L & I), and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. This award recognizes Pennsylvania employers that are exemplary supporters of workforce, community, and economic development in the commonwealth and which have created jobs and partnered to hire skilled workers through Pennsylvania’s workforce development system.
2020 Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement:
- Goodwill Industries of North Central Pennsylvania (Falls Creek, PA)
- Flowline (New Castle,PA)
- Filterbuy (New Kensington, PA)
- Alpek Polyster (also known as DAK Americas, LCC, Reading, PA)
- County of Greene (Waynesburg, PA)
- Project Destiny (Pittsburgh, PA)
- PeopleShare (Philadelphian, PA)
|Falls Creek, PA – Goodwill Industries of North Central Pennsylvania, Inc. (Goodwill) is a non-profit organization that has been serving the community since 1966. While the organization is well-known for its 25 retail stores across 15 counties, covering Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Venango, and Warren, Goodwill’s mission extends beyond the retail space.|
Goodwill has a long-standing commitment to creating job opportunities for people in the community, turning donations into employment for 700 people in the 15 counties they serve. Their Mission Services Department is made up of 43 dedicated employees who provide over 78,000 hours of training to over 3,000 people each year. Goodwill offers 10 Mission Services Programs designed to meet the specific needs of the community, including Driver’s Education, the Goodwill Greenhouse, Job Training Programs, Supported Employment, and the School Program. Goodwill partners with organizations like the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Service Access and Management to provide these programs, ensuring that everyone in the community has access to the support they need.
In addition to their focus on job creation and training, Goodwill partners with the PA CareerLink® to provide hands-on experience to youth and adults facing barriers. They understand the value of Work Experience (WEX) programs and provide retail and processing opportunities to Out-of-School and TANF Youth in their stores and distribution centers. Goodwill also supports in-school initiatives, partnering with Workforce Solutions for North Central PA Business Education Partnership for Clearfield and Jefferson Counties (BEP) and Jeff Tech to evaluate students for driver’s license readiness. They also participate in career fairs and provide staff for mock interviews in local schools.
Goodwill’s commitment to sustainability is also evident through their promotion of responsible and safe recycling practices. The second-hand nature of many of their goods promotes sustainable jobs while keeping items out of landfills. Goodwill’s Dell Reconnect electronic recycling program highlights their dedication to the local environment. Goodwill is also committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and plans to expand their DEI programming.
Goodwill understands the importance of community and resources, and they are dedicated to recruiting local graduating youth. The organization aims to meet life challenges through opportunity, education, training, and work. It is because of Goodwill’s unwavering commitment to the community that they have been awarded the Governor’s Achievement Award.
New Castle, PA – Over the last decade, Flowline has shared a strong working relationship with West Central Job Partnership (WCJP) and the PA Careerlink® Lawrence County. This relationship exemplifies the kind of partnership needed to reach out to local job seekers and connect them to an employer who is willing to work with them to provide a self-sufficient wage and great working environment so that success can be shared by all.
Flowline’s Human Resource Director, Helmut Kraus, routinely posts jobs on the PA Careerlink® Lawrence County’s website, participates in hiring events, and is knowledgeable of local labor market information. Helmut frequently utilizes the WIOA Title I On-The-Job-Training (OJT) program. He actively works with WCJP, BWPO, and other partner staff to share job openings at Flowline. He is always willing to offer those job opportunities to PA Careerlink® participants with significant barriers, including those struggling with disabilities, limited transportation, long-term unemployment, and homelessness. If Helmut needs something workforce-related, he turns to the PA Careerlink® Lawrence County and vice versa.
Flowline can be considered a role model for other employers having experienced the destabilization of the workforce during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Being faced with the possibility of shutting down, employee turnover, and ballooning payroll costs, Flowline found that utilizing the OJT program would help blunt the spike in onboarding costs and open additional positions to candidates who would otherwise be overlooked.
A working relationship with Flowline and the opportunities created by Flowline’s utilization of OJT funding has allowed the PA Careerlink® Lawrence County to become a talent pipeline for them. Title I (WCJP) and BWPO staff are able to directly refer clients to Flowline with a high probability of them being hired and retained. Flowline, in turn, can refer job seekers to the PA Careerlink® Lawrence County where they can receive and be referred to any services that they may need to secure employment. Having access to Supportive Services can mean the difference between a hire with barriers starting work and missing a job opportunity over something as simple as the inability to afford work boots. Having an employer in the community who understands the need for continuous development of the workforce is priceless.
New Kensington, PA – Filterbuy LLC PA is a prime example of a company that is not only invested in the success of its business but also the well-being of its local community. As a manufacturer of air filters, Filterbuy has become a beacon of hope for countless local residents seeking new opportunities in the workforce.
The company’s partnership with PA CareerLink® Alle-Kiski has been invaluable in creating new job opportunities for local job seekers with entry-level skills. As soon as the news broke that Filterbuy would be bringing dozens of new jobs to the area, calls flooded into the PA CareerLink® Alle-Kiski office with questions about the jobs and how to apply. Filterbuy’s commitment to the community did not stop there; the company also utilized resources available through the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Veterans Services, and a Youth GED program to ensure that all job seekers had access to the support they needed to secure employment.
Filterbuy’s dedication to its employees is equally impressive. The company’s On the Job Training opportunities and labor exchange placements resulted in several successful placements, with some employees advancing into supervisory roles with higher wages. Filterbuy is also proud to be a second-chance employer, offering opportunities to those looking to make a change and break cycles of lengthy unemployment.
In 2022, Filterbuy’s workforce grew by an impressive 161 percent and currently employs an average roster of 140 full-time employees. The company’s diverse employee population includes a majority who walk to work, those with learning disabilities, and individuals who have struggled to find reliable employment due to a lack of transportation or a valid driver’s license.
Filterbuy’s commitment to its employees goes beyond just offering a competitive starting wage. The company also provides opportunities for advancement and benefits after just 60 days of employment, enabling more residents of the Alle-Kiski Valley to break cycles of unemployment and secure stable employment.
Looking ahead, Filterbuy is projecting to add between 60 and 80 full-time employees by the end of 2023. The company’s growth is a testament to its commitment to the community and its partnership with PA CareerLink® Alle-Kiski and its partner agencies.
Reading, PA – Alpek Polyester, also known as DAK Americas LLC, is a leading producer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resins in the Western Hemisphere. PET is a commonly used material for plastic bottles and containers for packaging food, beverages, and other similar products. In Reading, Pennsylvania, Alpek operates a bottle-to-bottle recycling facility, where they break down old recycled plastic bottles and create rPET for making new plastic bottles. Despite being a relatively new company in the area, Alpek has made great efforts to collaborate with the community, workforce, and economic entities to create job and growth opportunities for workers in the region.
Alpek is committed to providing family-sustaining job opportunities to members of the Limited English Proficiency community, specifically Spanish-speaking individuals. The company is proud to offer work-related documents and materials in both English and Spanish and has a team of bilingual supervisors and managers to support Spanish-speaking-only staff. In 2022, Alpek hired 72 employees, with a high percentage being predominantly Spanish-speaking. Knowing that the language barrier would be a critical factor in employing locals and working with the community, Alpek collaborated closely with the Literacy Council of Reading/Berks to develop an in-house ESL program to bridge the language gap for non-English speaking incumbent workers. The company believes that increasing the language skills of their incumbent worker staff adds value to each employee, both professionally and personally. The rollout of their ESL classes began in 2022, and so far, they have seen excellent participation and interest from their employees. Alpek’s efforts to benefit the lives of their staff have not gone unnoticed and have helped a great deal in attracting future talent through community and incumbent worker referrals.
Additionally, Alpek works with Berks Connections and Pretrial Services (BCPS), a nonprofit organization that provides both pretrial services and reentry programming for inmates and returning citizens. The company provides employment opportunities to ex-offenders in the Berks County Region and has participated in recruitment events and job fairs with the agency. They also participate in graduation events for programs such as the Rebuilding Reentrants and Reading Program (R3). Alpek is an active member of the Great Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) and collaborates with this entity on various workforce development initiatives, including the Next Generation Industry Partnership, presenting during their Women in Manufacturing Seminars, serving as a panelist for a discussion on Talent and Attraction during the GRCA’s annual Manufacturing Summit, serving as a committee member to the “Mujer a Mujer” group to represent and assist in visibility for the Latino population, and collaborating with the GRCA to conduct incumbent worker training for their staff. Alpek’s HR Manager has been a board member of the Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation since its inception, assisting with the hiring process. The mission of the BLWDC is to move Latinos out of poverty and to create economic wealth and opportunities in the County of Berks.
Waynesburg PA – The County of Greene, has shown exceptional dedication to providing employment opportunities for individuals in their community. The County of Greene has long been involved with the Southwest Corner Employment and Advanced Retention Network (EARN) program, with Cara Montgomery, Director of Human Resources for the County of Greene, maintaining communication with EARN when searching for qualified candidates to fill their open positions.
During the pandemic, the County of Greene reached out to the Southwest Corner EARN program for assistance in filling a temporary position in the Elections Office. EARN’s Case Manager recommended one of their clients for the role, and the EARN Job Developer met with Cara Montgomery to discuss a subsidized employment contract for the position. The client began working in the Elections Office under the joint supervision of the Elections Director and Cara Montgomery, with the Job Developer periodically checking on their progress. They were praised for their excellent work, and the County expressed hopes of hiring them on permanently.
In July 2022, the County of Greene again contacted the Southwest Corner EARN program, this time through the CDBG/HOME Program, to request assistance in filling an office administration position. The EARN client was interviewed and ultimately hired. They worked in this role under an apprenticeship through the County of Greene until being hired on directly. The client remains employed by the County of Greene, and their hourly wage has increased from $10.00 to $16.15.
The Board of Commissioners in Greene County has been consistently supportive of the Southwest Corner EARN program, always available to work with and assist them in any way possible. Commissioner Mike Belding even provides presentations for the benefit of EARN clients upon request. The County of Greene and the Southwest Corner EARN program have established a great working relationship and candidate referral system, continuing to utilize EARN as their main resource for client referrals when job openings arise.
Pittsburgh, PA – EDSI’s Reemployment Transition Center has established a close partnership with Project Destiny, a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh’s North Side, which aims to provide programming and resources to help underprivileged youth and their families. Project Destiny is committed to serving families in the Pittsburgh area through various programs, including THRIVE18, Youth and Family Engagement, Early Learning Centers for children aged 6 weeks to 6 years old, and an Arts Academy for youth.
EDSI’s Business Services Representative contacted Pastor Brenda Gregg, the founder of Project Destiny, to assist the organization in meeting their hiring needs. The representative discussed the possibilities available through an On-the-Job Training (OJT) agreement, and the two organizations have had successful OJT placements this program year. They are currently working on finalizing additional placements for EARN participants with the agency. In June 2022, Project Destiny hired an EARN participant to serve as their Cultural Consultant. Moreover, the organization regularly shares information about its services and programs with EDSI’s EARN and Work Ready program clients.
EDSI is excited about the relationship they have built with Project Destiny and will continue to build on this partnership to connect participants to employment and on-the-job training opportunities.
Philadelphia, PA – PeopleShare is being recognized for its partnership with OVR to hire and retain individuals with disabilities. There are many examples of PeopleShare’s commitment to this partnership, including their regular participation in Philadelphia OVR’s annual job fair. In addition, the Business Service Team at Philadelphia OVR collaborated with PeopleShare in the past year to develop On-the-Job Training (OJT) contracts for their temporary positions.
Since August 2021, PeopleShare has hired thirteen of OVR’s customers for various positions, and they continue to accept resumes and recruit for OVR customers to their many employer clients. Furthermore, when PeopleShare has a large number of positions to fill, they reach out to OVR to assist in filling those jobs.
The success of the OVR and PeopleShare partnership can be seen in their recent collaboration with Zachary Rogers, PeopleShare’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. Together, they supported one of OVR’s customers in obtaining a temporary position under an OJT contract. During this collaboration, Zachary and his team promptly submitted required documents and communicated any issues that would arise. PeopleShare also worked with OVR to ensure that accommodations were met for this customer. Thanks to this successful partnership and the customer’s hard work and dedication, the individual was able to succeed and was offered a full-time, permanent position at PeopleShare when the OJT ended.
During the past six months, PA OVR has connected PeopleShare with other state VR agencies, helping people with disabilities in other states access employment opportunities. PeopleShare is also pursuing the approval of a Registered Apprenticeship Program for a sourcing recruiter. When the registered apprenticeship is approved, OVR hopes to refer even more of their customers for this position.
Congratulations to PeopleShare, and great job to the Philadelphia Business Services Team – Sally Belli and Tasha Carter.