Governor Wolf Unveils Workforce and Economic Development Plan to Get Pennsylvania Back to Work

The COVID-19 global pandemic has significantly affected Pennsylvania workers, businesses and communities. To bolster economic recovery efforts and position Pennsylvania for economic growth, Governor Tom Wolf today unveiled his “Back to Work PA” plan

“Pennsylvania needs a comprehensive, forward-thinking plan to jumpstart our economy and support our workforce,” Gov. Wolf said. “Back to Work PA will make strategic and comprehensive investments to build a stronger and more diverse workforce, support Pennsylvania businesses while attracting businesses to the commonwealth, and assist communities with economic recovery efforts – all of which will help us get back on track and build a brighter future for Pennsylvania.”

Back to Work PA builds on recommendations from the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center’s annual report, published in January 2020. Refocusing Restore PA, Back to Work PA would be funded by a commonsense extraction tax on the natural gas industry, which would allow for an injection of $3 billion to enhance existing initiatives and create new, innovative programs to address barriers that are holding back our workforce. Read more here….


Department of Labor & Industry: Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate at 4.2 percent

Text of Nov. 15 press release.

Total nonfarm jobs reach new record high.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) released its employment situation report for October 2019.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was up two-tenths of a percentage point from September to 4.2 percent. The national rate was up one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 3.6 percent. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate matched last October’s rate while the national rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point over the year.

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – was up 23,000 over the month to 6,516,000, the fourth straight gain. Employment was up by 13,000 and unemployment rose by 11,000.

The estimated number of jobs in Pennsylvania, referred to as total nonfarm jobs, increased 8,400 over the month to a record high of 6,065,000 in October. Jobs were up in 10 of the 11 industry supersectors. The largest supersector movement from September was a gain of 2,500 professional & business services jobs. Trade, transportation & utilities, education & health services all rose to record high levels in October.

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were up 34,300 with gains in nine of the 11 supersectors. The largest volume change from last October among supersectors was an increase of 11,300 government jobs, buoyed by gains in all three component sectors (federal, state, and local).

Additional information is available on the L&I website at or by following us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Note: The above data are seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted data provide the most valid month-to-month comparison.

Media contacts: Penny Ickes or Theresa Elliott, 717-787-7530 or

Department of Labor & Industry: Wolf administration to invest $3.5 million in job training for students

Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration to invest $3.5 million in students and young adults to provide job training and work experiences that will increase their skills and strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce, Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak announced today.

“Pennsylvania employers need skilled workers to help them succeed and thrive,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “The State/Local Internship Program creates a diverse and job-ready talent pool for employers, while providing students with career experience as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

L&I will provide $3.5 million in grants from State/Local Internship Program (SLIP) funds is to local workforce development boards (LWDBs). These programs provide eight-week, full-time, paid work experiences to young adults between the age of 16 and 24 in a variety of industries including manufacturing, health care, logistics/ transportation, information technology and business services. The 2020 SLIP will operate for eight-weeks between May 1 and August 28, 2020.

“Last year the commonwealth funded SLIP, which helped place more than 1,128 youth and young adults in summer internships at 657 worksites across Pennsylvania,” Oleksiak added. “These partnerships provide participating interns with the crucial first work experience that helps develop the job skills they need for future employment success.”

The grant funding to encourage job training opportunities supports Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative to create the strongest workforce in the nation. The governor secured $70 million for PAsmart over two years, including $40 million for science and technology education and $30 million for apprenticeships and job training programs.

The 2020 SLIP is funded 100 percent through federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. LWDBs are encouraged to apply for SLIP funding. Businesses or other entities interested in in applying must submit applications through their LWDBs.

Additional details and the grant application can be found on L&I’s website. The deadline to apply is January 3, 2020.

For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.

Additional information is available on the L&I website at or by following us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Media contacts: Penny Ickes or Theresa Elliott, 717-787-7530 or

Rep. Craig Staats: Governor signs Staats bill to overhaul career and technical education, promote workforce development

HARRISBURG – This week, Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law a bill sponsored by Rep. Craig Staats (R-Bucks), which represents the most significant reform of Pennsylvania’s career and technical (CTE) education laws in more than 30 years.

Act 76 – 2019 is an omnibus bill aimed at enhancing career and technical education, job training and workforce development that will help to prepare Pennsylvania students for the workforce and attract employers and economic development to the Commonwealth,” said Staats.

“I am particularly proud of a provision in the bill that I advanced, which will provide high school and college students with access to information regarding the transfer policies of other educational institutions,” Staats said. “Act 76 expands an existing searchable online database at the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to provide students with information on the transfer policies between public schools and institutions of higher education, helping them to avoid spending thousands of dollars on coursework and materials only to learn that credits will not transfer to certain institutions.”

The new law requires school districts, intermediate units, vocational-technical schools, charter schools and cyber charter schools – as well as Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, state-related institutions, and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, to submit their transfer agreements, known as articulation agreements, to PDE for inclusion in the database.

Act 76 also establishes an online career resource center; surveys existing workforce development programs that emphasize business-education partnerships and develops best practices to enhance these efforts. It also requires occupational advisory committees to be established at Intermediate Units (IU) to ensure that industry standards are properly integrated into career and technical instructional programming; and creates a grant program for pre-apprenticeship programs for the purpose of establishing or enhancing workforce development partnerships between schools, employers, organizations, or associations to create pathways to learn a trade and ultimately provide employers with a trained workforce.

In addition, it requires a school entity to treat career presenters equally and requires the Commission for Agriculture Education Excellence to develop guidelines identifying the circumstances when a student, who successfully completes an academic course, program or activity for credit, may apply the credit toward completion of an agriculture education program. It codifies PDE guidelines regarding Career and Technology Education Equipment Grants and includes that grant awards can be used to purchase an entire set of tools. It also requires PDE to issue guidelines and update the guidelines every five years identifying the circumstances when a student, who successfully completes a course, program, or activity in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) for credit may apply the credit toward the completion of a course, program, or activity offered by any career and technical school, technical institute, or vocational school or department.

Media contact: Donna Pinkham, 717.260.6452,

Over 850 Workforce Development Leaders Gather in Hershey – Honoring Top Employers and Customers

HERSHEY, PA — Over 850 local, state, and national workforce development professionals from the public and private sectors concluded today one of the nation’s largest statewide workforce development conferences. Hosted by the PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA), the conference was held from May 8-10 and brought together the state-wide system of 22 workforce development boards, PA CareerLink®, government agencies, business and industry, and educational institutions for a three-day training and policy session.  Governor Tom Wolf provided opening remarks, highlighted his Statewide, Workforce, Education and Accountability Program, and  addressed the system’s role for Pennsylvania to build the strongest workforce.   

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