PWDA Announces Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement for Local Employers and Organizations 

Hershey, PA—Today, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association announced that eight local employers and organizations were recipients of the Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement. The awardees will be honored at the Association’s 40th Annual Conference on May 1-3, 2024, in Hershey. The Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement recognizes Pennsylvania employers who support workforce development in our communities. These employers have created jobs and partnered to hire skilled workers through Pennsylvania’s workforce development system.

“Pennsylvania employers are leading the way for our workforce development system, helping to train workers and grow our economy,” said Carrie Amann, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association. “Businesses are partnering with the Department of Labor and Industry, as well as our local workforce organizations, to ensure that our workers have the right training for opportunities in their communities. These successful partnerships have made it easier for veterans and those with disabilities to join and succeed in our workforce. We applaud their efforts, and we want them to serve as an example so all Pennsylvanians can have the opportunity to work and prosper in our Commonwealth.

“The Shapiro Administration is committed to advancing real freedom in Pennsylvania and a future where everyone who wants to work – veterans, young people, re-entrants, parents, rural and urban Pennsylvanians, those with or without a college degree – all have the opportunity to earn their way into a good job where they are treated with dignity,” Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Nancy A. Walker said. “We invite every Pennsylvania employer to join us on that mission.”

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), the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, and new this year the Pennsylvania Department of Military & Veterans Affairs

2024 Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement: 

B. Braun Medical Inc. | Bethlehem, PA

Winter’s Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC | Lancaster, PA

S.P. McCarl & Company | Altoona, PA

Niagara Cutter, LLC. | Reynoldsville, PA

ELWYN | Elwyn, PA

2024 Recognizing Valor – Employers Hiring Veterans

Mission Critical Solutions | Alum Bank, PA

Ward Manufacturing | Blossburg, PA

UPMC Health Plan | Pittsburgh, PA

Ward Manufacturing, LLC | Blossburg, PA 

Ward is a leading manufacturer of piping components used in thousands of installations worldwide. Building on nearly a century of quality manufacturing, Ward has become a fixture in the global pipe fitting industry. They believe in investing in their employees and creating a supportive work environment. Their culture is built on employees feeling valued and knowing they have a direct line to a career path within the organization. Ward has worked closely with PA CareerLink® Tioga County for many years. They provide priority service to all veterans through their interview process.

Ward Manufacturing, LLC offers two Journeyman Apprenticeships, Pennsylvania State Certified Mechanic and Machinist. Both programs are highly sought after in the Northern Tier Region. Ward is always looking to fill these trainings with highly motivated veterans to utilize the experience and values veterans bring to the workforce.

Ward’s Human Resources worked with the PA CareerLink® Tioga County Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist to enroll a local Veteran into the Mechanic Apprenticeship program. The Veteran overcame his barriers and doubled his income for his growing family while learning a new trade.

UPMC Health Plan | Pittsburgh, PA 

“UPMC Health Plan recognizes the unique skills and values that military veterans offer and appreciate how their experiences can enrich our organization, our members, our patients and the communities we serve,” said Erik Orient, Director, Military Affairs, UPMC Health Plan.  “Our Pathways for Veterans program provides the support, coordination and assistance needed to help those transitioning from military service put their skills to civilian careers in health care.”

It is our honor to recognize UPMC Health Plan as an award winner for being one of the top employers in hiring veterans.

UPMC has received a top 10 ranking as a Military Friendly Employer while being recognized as a Military Spouse Friendly Employer. They have been able to utilize SkillBridge to obtain incredible success, having had 75 participants come through the program. Through the SkillBridge Program, UPMC has been able to help Veterans and their spouses with personalized job searches and application assistance. In addition, UPMC is one of the leading employers in holding military-specific career fairs while providing an employee resource group to help build a culture of camaraderie amongst its peers. UPMC has successfully hired Veterans, transitioning service members back to the keystone state from active-duty installations and facilitating discussions on Veterans and Service Members. 

Additionally, UPMC not only hires veterans but also assists small businesses and other companies in hiring Veterans. 

Mission Critical Solutions (MCS) | Alum Bank, PA 

MCS is recognized for hiring and retaining veterans. Their organization actively seeks out veterans and has a culture that fosters excellence in all they do. They are an ISO 9001-certified metal fabrication shop serving the defense, transportation, energy, mining, and rail industries. They currently employ 80 individuals in Bedford County in the careers of welding, fabricating, and machining, with 60 new hires coming in the last two years and still growing. They have been making significant investments in their equipment, making their company a desired employer for those in the welding and fabricating trades. MCS has also been making a remarkable impact on the local community and workforce by partnering with local schools to provide apprenticeship programs and the Southern Alleghenies OJT program. MCS’s collaboration is particularly noteworthy. MCS is a Five Star Program to Train & Retain employer.

B. Braun Medical Inc | Bethlehem, PA

We were proud to work with our partners to launch the Industrial Training and Education Consortium (iTEC) of the Lehigh Valley. As leaders in the Lehigh Valley, we understand the importance of workforce development and ensuring community members have the training and skills to step into key jobs with us and other local businesses. We knew we needed to simplify alternate career pathways and create a pipeline of skilled, diverse talent for the future workforce. We started this project to achieve this goal, and we already see the benefits of a coordinated approach. We are thankful for the Governor’s Employer Award for Achievement, and we look forward to continuing to build a strong talent pipeline in the Lehigh Valley. – Morten Rasmussen, Corporate Vice President of Operations and Human Resources at B. Braun Medical, and Chair of the iTEC Management Council 

Under the strategic leadership of B. Braun Medical Inc., a consortium of manufacturing-related employers, workforce development directed by the Workforce Board Lehigh Valley, economic development, education, and community partners launched the Industrial Training and Education Consortium of the Lehigh Valley (iTEC) in October 2023. 

The iTEC is a first-of-its-kind regional apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship program established to provide industrial skills training and talent development. Morten Rasmussen, Corporate Vice President, Operations Human Resources for B. Braun Medical Inc. and Workforce Board Lehigh Valley Board member, serves as Chair of the iTEC Management Council, states, “iTEC was envisioned as a way for local manufacturers and their training partners to simplify alternate career pathways and create a pipeline of skilled, diverse talent for the future workforce.”

As echoed by Gwen Ross, Director of Workforce Development Initiatives, PA Department of Community & Economic Development, “The iTEC program is fully aligned with Governor Shapiro’s focus on expanding apprenticeship opportunities to support Pennsylvania’s innovation economy….and is precisely the kind of public/private partnership we need to create more high- quality jobs with strong potential for upward mobility to drive economic growth in the Lehigh Valley and across the Commonwealth.”

Apprenticeship certifications, educational outreach, and training for company mentors are administered by the German American Chamber of Commerce, which, along with private-sector employers, sponsors registered apprenticeships. To galvanize this employer-driven non-profit initiative, the Workforce Board partnered with B. Braun Medical to accelerate and enhance the multi-employer iTEC model, thereby increasing the pipeline of registered apprentices and pre-apprentices in high-priority occupations, such as mechatronics, industrial manufacturing technicians, chemical lab technicians, and machinists, and more.

The closely aligned partnership between B. Braun Medical Inc. and Workforce Board Lehigh Valley has accelerated and enhanced iTEC’s goals by defraying business and industry costs of onboarding and on-the-job training, classroom training, and supportive services related to Registered Apprentices and Pre-Apprentices. 

Winter’s Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC | Lancaster, PA

Winter’s Heating and Air Conditioning, LLC has demonstrated excellence in partnering with the workforce development system and creating family-sustaining job opportunities for Pennsylvania workers. The Lancaster County Workforce Development Board nominated them for the award. The board found that the partnership with Mr. Melvin Winter was strong from day one. They worked together to create a Paid Work Experience (PWE) with our youth program and an On-the-Job Training (OJT) with the Re-Entry Program. Another OJT partnership is in progress with the Adult and Dislocated Worker Program. Winter’s Heating and Air Conditioning worked seamlessly with the PA CareerLink® team to process everything and forge ahead with a smile.

When one of the On-the-Job Training (OJT) participants could not complete the OJT, Mr. Winter gave him a fully equipped toolbelt to take with him on his next journey. Mr. Winter’s actions define excellence in demonstrating true support for an individual. He created the opportunity to transition and carry on. Mr. Winter also visits school districts and presents information on the trade of becoming an HVAC Technician. He is a second-chance employer and strongly supports our Veterans. 

S.P. McCarl & Co., | Altoona, PA

Over the past year, Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co. has emerged as an outstanding collaborator, consistently going above and beyond to engage with the workforce development system. The Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board nominated them for the award. Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. Mccarl & Co. has attended local job fairs, participated in tandem On-the-Job Training (OJT) programs, and showcased a deep commitment to employee success.

One of Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co.’s remarkable contributions is their active involvement in multiple workforce programs. Their participation in a unique trade-focused On-the-Job Training (OJT) initiative, a rarity in the region, has yielded tremendous success. By embracing this innovative approach, Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co. demonstrated a commitment to their workforce and addressed the shortage of trade programs in the area.

The impact of Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co. extends beyond conventional hiring practices. Their openness to diverse backgrounds and industries stands out. Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co. understands that success is not confined to specific experiences or qualifications. They have embraced individuals from varied backgrounds, fostering an inclusive workplace that thrives on diversity.

In addition to traditional engagement, Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co. has actively participated in video marketing initiatives. They provided recorded testimonials, speaking about their positive experiences with PA CareerLink® and sharing success stories. This collaborative effort has showcased the symbiotic partnership between Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co. and PA CareerLink® and highlighted the success stories of individuals who found meaningful employment through their programs.

Furthermore, Burke & Company, LLC dba S. P. McCarl & Co.’s commitment to the community extends beyond immediate hiring needs. Their presence at local job fairs has not only been a recruitment effort but a demonstration of a genuine commitment to the economic and workforce development of Blair County.

Niagara Cutter, LLC | Reynoldsville, PA

In the short time Niagara Cutter, LLC partnered with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), they have made a lasting impact.

Last March, the Reynoldsville, PA, cutting tools provider helped an individual with a disability access meaningful employment by creating a job for them, giving them a significant opportunity to succeed.

Last year, Niagara Cutter participated in its first On-the-Job Training (OJT) with a recently graduated high school student. The student succeeded in his OJT and is now employed full-time at Niagara Cutter. During his time with the company, he has been promoted. 

After these successes, Niagara Cutter wanted to invest more in the success of students with disabilities. To assist students in surrounding school districts in gaining hands-on experience in the field of manufacturing, Niagara Cutter partnered with OVR to offer students Paid Work Experiences (PWEs) and Community Work Instruction.

Looking to the future, Niagara Cutter has been in contact with the Hiram G. Andrews Center as a possible site for an externship. In the summer of 2024, they plan to assist eight students and include them in another Community Work Instruction. For the 2024-2025 school year, Niagara Cutter and OVR plan to offer a non-permanent OJT along with the local Vo-Tech program to allow students to gain experience in their field as well as provide them with a valuable reference that they will be able to use in their career exploration after high school graduation.

ELWYN | Elwyn, PA

Elwyn is a nonprofit human services organization based in Media, Pennsylvania. The Business Services Team at the Delco EARN Center in Chester, PA, nominated Elwyn for the award. They have partnered to place approximately 40 people in their respective career fields, and the number continues to grow. 

Established in 1852, Elwyn has a long history of providing support and services promoting inclusivity, independence, and quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By offering a continuum of care that spans education, housing, employment, and community engagement, Elwyn addresses the holistic needs of Its diverse clientele. The advocacy and support, community integration, and life skill development that Elwyn provides are why they play such a crucial role in our community. 

Elwyn is a great employer because it takes a chance on people whom other employers often overlook. Kolin Corbin, the Corporate Recruiter, is open-minded and willing to meet and speak with any individual, no matter the situation. Often, they have conversations about a person’s career and how Elwyn can help them get to where they want to be. Elwyn is looking for people passionate about work who want to improve their lives—often helping people with gaps in their employment and a lack of experience. They are always willing to meet with our clients on-site and attend our hiring events and job fairs. 

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