PENNSYLVANIA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION CONVENES 800 PROFESSIONALS AT 38th ANNUAL CONFERENCE

PENNSYLVANIA WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION CONVENES 800 PROFESSIONALS AT 38th ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Welcomes Gov. Wolf, Launches Local Workforce System Award

  

Camp Hill, Pa.  –  After a two year run as a virtual conference, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) kicked off its 38th annual conference earlier this week at the Hershey Lodge.

PWDA represents the state’s 22 local workforce development boards and the associated, extensive statewide workforce development system. Its annual conference welcomes hundreds of leaders in workforce development across Pennsylvania, and is an interactive event providing up to the minute research and training, inspiring front-line staff to change job seekers’ lives, and fostering the essential statewide workforce network.

The theme of this year’s conference is “workforce redesigned,” reflecting the many changes in the workforce system as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and other notable factors affecting employment, including the snowballing retirements of the Baby Boomer generation, the “baby bust” that the United States is currently experiencing, as well as the so-called “Great Resignation.”

Governor Tom Wolf and the Leadership Panel

On Friday May 6th, PWDA hosted Governor Tom Wolf as part of its Leadership & Policy Panel, also featured Jennifer Berrier, Secretary, PA Department of Labor & Industry, Meg Snead, Acting Secretary, PA Department of Human Services, and Tanya I. Garcia, Deputy Secretary and Commissioner for Postsecondary and Higher Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education.

 

New Award Recognizes Montgomery County Workforce Professional

Also this year, in recognition of the hard work and commitment shown by workforce staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PWDA is launching a third award category — the Workforce Phoenix Award, which was celebrated on Thursday, May 5th. The award, made by the PWDA on a nomination from a member, recognizes a workforce development professional who demonstrates innovation and leadership, act as a change-maker, and provide excellent service to customers and colleagues.

The inaugural winner of the Workforce Phoenix Award is Roe Falcone, Regional Director of Operations at Educational Data Systems Inc., a Dearborn, Michigan-based, national workforce development, talent solutions and consulting company.  

“The Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association is a big part of professional development for workforce professionals, and we are delighted to be back in person,” said PWDA Executive Director Carrie Anne Amann, MPA.

“This year, we are particularly excited about our new Workforce Phoenix award, which recognizes the often unseen contributions of our professionals, critical work that lifts up Pennsylvanians in need of a job, new skills, or a different career and puts them on a path to success and the only base solid enough to ensure true and lasting economic stability: a family-sustaining job,” Amann continued.

Governor’s Achievement Employer Awards Winners

PWDA also presented its prestigious Governor’s Achievement Employers Awards together 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. These awards were presented at a luncheon on May 4th.

This year’s winners of the Governor’s Employers Awards are:

 

The Lancaster County Workforce Development Board jointly nominated Advanced Food Products (AFP) and CNH Industrial ( CNH) CNH) for their contributions to Career Ready Lancaster!, a business-education partnership launched in 2019.

“We salute Peter [Caddick] and Jodi [Pace] for their time commitment, for that of CNH Industrial and Advanced Food Products, for allowing them company time to be committed to such an important initiative, and for their relentless effort to champion and grow Career Ready Lancaster! Into a model career pathways initiative for the state,” said Anna Ramos, Lancaster County Workforce Development Board chief operating officer and PWDA member.

Governor’s Achievement Awards for Individuals

The final category of PWDA awards, the Governor’s Awards for Individual Job Seekers, which are also presented jointly with L & I, OVR, and DHS, presented to winners at a ticketed luncheon on Thursday, May 5th.  These awards celebrate individual jobseekers who used “extraordinary personal effort” to take advantage of the resources provided through the workforce development system to achieve an employment and/or education goal. This award is presented in both adult, student, and youth categories. This year’s winners are:

  • Priscila Sepulveda, Reading
  • Theresa O’Donnell, Hatfield
  • Cara Valentine, Susquehanna
  • John J. Gallo, Valley View
  • David R. Margic, Johnstown
  • Raymol “Sammy” Rodriguez, Williamsport
  • Tina Garrido, Camp Hill
  • Nathaniel Hite, McKeesport
  • Temple Carter, Whitehall
  • Aaron Bucher, Altoona
  • Cameron Piper, Hollidaysburg

Priscila Sepulveda, a single mother of two, was nominated by the Berks County Workforce Development Board for her tenacity in completing a commercial driver’s training program and obtaining her CDL license, despite the many obstacles she faced, which included the pandemic, poverty and risk of homelessness, language barriers, and mental health challenges. She entered the EARN program in October 2020, and today is making $26 per hour in a permanent position driving 25 – 30 hours a week for Atlas Transportation.

“Priscila demonstrates the positive outcomes behind an optimistic and resilient attitude accompanied by a consistent work ethic and open communication ,” said Dan Fogarty, Executive Director of the Berks County Workforce Development Board, who submitted the nomination. “PA CareerLin® continues celebrating Priscila and her success.”

In addition to its three awards programs, PWDA offers two days of professional development and training to its members and conference registrants. You can explore the conference program on the PWDA website at https://pwda.memberclicks.net/annual-conference.

 

Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association represents the state’s 22 local workforce development boards, and through them hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians looking for living wage and community-strengthening jobs.  PWDA members operate the state’s 60+ PA CareerLink® centers.

 

Pennsylvanians Face a Growing Risk of Homelessness, Need Affordable Housing

PA Workforce Development Association hosts panel on homelessness and workforce development

Camp Hill, Pa. (Dec 9, 2021)  –  The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) will hosted a virtual panel on the growing risk of eviction and foreclosure in the Commonwealth and how the workforce development system can help address it.

Guests on the panel are Robert Cherry, Chief Executive Officer at Partner4Work, the leader of the public workforce system for Pittsburgh and Allegheny County; Robert Henry, Administrator of the Chester County Partnership to End Homelessness at the Chester County Department of Community Development; and Mike McKenna, Chief Executive Officer of Tenfold, a nonprofit organization providing solutions to housing challenges in Lancaster County and Southcentral Pennsylvania region.

PWDA Executive Director Carrie Anne Amann will host the one-hour webinar that is part of the PA@Work series connecting leaders to collaborate, strategize, build capacity, and identify innovative solutions that lift up Pennsylvania workers, employers and communities.

“The PA@Work series focuses on the intersection of workforce development and the social determinants of health, including access to care, food, insurance coverage, income, housing, and transportation,” Amann said. “Our association represents the entire workforce system across the Commonwealth, and there is perhaps no more pressing challenge for so many working families as access to safe and affordable housing.”

Mike McKenna says that his agency, which works to ensure quality, fair and affordable housing that is inclusive to  all people through proactive coaching, education, lending, and advocacy, says in Lancaster County alone there are over 5,000 applications in the Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

“Many people experiencing homelessness are working, but homelessness is just one symptom of a much broader set of challenges, which include systemic racism, a shortage of affordable housing, and the zoning obstacles faced when trying to build housing closer to where the jobs are outside of Lancaster City,” McKenna said.

Robert Henry agrees, and said that this year his agency has funneled more than $34.5 million in Emergency Rental Assistance Program money to Chester County families still recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic.

“We have to get more creative in finding solutions,” Henry said, pointing as an example to the Promise Program at West Chester University, which provides year-round campus housing and wrap around services to students experiencing homelessness.

Robert Cherry, who took over the leadership role at Partner4Work in July, pointed out the many obstacles people face in securing and keeping affordable housing.

“We see people hit a “benefits cliff,” when they start to make too much money to qualify for housing subsidies and other supports,” he said. He said he hopes to bring programs like the one he participated in Milwaukee that allows people to retain their housing benefits if they save, rather than spend, the money that would otherwise have disqualified them from public assistance.

“Right now, we all see that employers across the Commonwealth need employees, but many communities refuse to allow new, affordable housing to be built,” Cherry said. He added that the workforce system is a key ally on this critical issue.

For more information and to watch a replay of the webinar, please visit the PWDA’s website at https://pwda.memberclicks.net/learningseries.

 

Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association represents the state’s 22 local workforce development boards, and through them hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians looking for living wage and community-strengthening jobs.  PWDA members operate the state’s 60+ PA CareerLink® centers.

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PA Workforce Development Association Launches Policy & Advocacy Fellowship Program

Inaugural fellows begin intensive program in government relations best practices

Camp Hill, Pa. –  The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA) today inaugurated its Policy and Advocacy Fellowship Program, welcoming 16 participants from public, private, and nonprofit workforce organizations throughout the Commonwealth to its virtual certificate course.

PWDA Executive Director Carrie Anne Amann greeted the workforce professionals, all chosen from through an application-only process, in an online session this morning.

“This new program has two goals,” Amann said. “To raise the collective capacity of our workforce system members to engage in workforce development advocacy at the federal, state, county, and local level and to provide selected fellows with intensive training on the federal and state legislative, administrative, and appropriations processes, as well as tangible experiences in developing and utilizing advocacy strategies.”

The members of the PWDA Policy and Advocacy Institute Fellows Inaugural Class are:

  • Angelic Hardy, Lock Haven University 
  • Anna Ramos, Lancaster County Workforce Development Board 
  • Dillon Moore, Partner4Work 
  • Gwen Ross, PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development 
  • Hillary Lyle, SCPA Works 
  • Jamece Joyner, PhilaWorks 
  • Jennifer Diaz, Goodwill Keystone Area 
  • Judd R. Pittman, PA Dept. of Education 
  • Kim Bell, Rosedale Technical College
  • Lauren Holubec, Harrisburg University 
  • Markese Long, Partner4Work 
  • Marlyn Barbosa, Tec Centro SACA
  • Mary Turner, Reading Area Community College 
  • Pam Streich, Workforce Solutions for North Central PA 
  • Shuana Davis, PA Dept. of Labor & Industry 
  • Tara Dwyer, PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning

The program is virtual this year out of an abundance of caution about the COVID-19 risks, Amann said. She hopes it will be in person in 2022.

The first order of business for the fellows today will be to meet the members of their small working groups, which will be assigned a collaborative public policy project. They will work on this project for the duration of the course, until their graduation on January 26. They will be recognized with certificates at a ceremony held during the 38th Annual PWDA Conference from May 4th through 6th.

Tomorrow, a panel of distinguished public policy experts will provide the fellows with advice on effective lobbying and messaging. The panelists are Kathy Manderino, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Distillers Guild and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry; Doug Hill, former Executive Director, County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania; and Bill Bova, a lobbyist with Long Nyquist & Associates.

“The workforce system plays a critical role in Pennsylvania – helping people find jobs or acquire new skills, supporting local employers and strengthening regional economies, and fighting poverty with the only base solid enough to anchor economic stability: a good job for everyone who needs one, “ Amann said. “In this program, the fellows can expect to have fun and learn, and at the same time become more effective advocates for the workforce system and the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who rely on it.”

For more information on the PWDA Policy and Advocacy Fellowship Program, please visit the PWDA website at https://www.pawork.org/

Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association represents the state’s 22 local workforce development boards, and through them hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians looking for living wage and community-strengthening jobs. PWDA members operate the state’s 60+ PA CareerLink® centers.

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Penn State seeks Director of Adult Education

Penn State seeks Director of Adult Education

The Pennsylvania State University Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy invites applications for the Director of the Adult Education Direct Services Program. This position is responsible for overseeing all operations of federal and state funded adult education programs currently operating in three Central Pennsylvania counties (Centre, Clinton, and Lycoming). For more information and to apply..….

$10.8 million in STEM Advancing Grants released

Continuing the rollout of his groundbreaking PAsmart initiative, Governor Tom Wolf announced $10.8 million in PAsmart Advancing Grants to expand access to computer science and STEM education for Pennsylvania learners. Combined with PAsmart Targeted Grants announced in 2020, the Wolf administration has awarded nearly $20 million to bolster STEM and computer science (CS) in schools during the 2020-21 school year. Read more on the awards here

Procurement Alert! One-Stop Operator in Southern Alleghenies

Procurement Alert! Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board in search of a One-Stop-Operator. 

The Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission (SAPDC), on behalf of the Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board (SAWDB), issues a request for proposals for a One-Stop Operator for the PA CareerLink® sites located in the Southern Alleghenies region.

Deadline to Submit Application is April 16, 2021. All Bidders’ Questions are to be sent via email to whisler@sapdc.org by Friday March 26, 2021. Contract Award estimated on May 11, 2021 for an award start of July 1, 2021. 

You can read the SoAlleghenies_RFP 21 One Stop Operator_ here.

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….

 

Biden picks Pa.’s Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant health secretary

WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has picked Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

A pediatrician and former Pennsylvania physician general, Levine was appointed to her current post by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf in 2017, making her one of the few transgender people serving in elected or appointed positions nationwide. She won past confirmation by the Republican-majority Pennsylvania Senate and has emerged as the public face of the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Governor Wolf Announces $4.7 Million for Job Training by Businesses Seeking Skilled Workers

Governor Tom Wolf today announced nearly $4.7 million in PAsmart Next Generation Industry Partnership grants were awarded to bolster workforce development across Pennsylvania.

“Employers need skilled workers now more than ever,” said Governor Wolf. “My administration created PAsmart to help close the skills gap and allow more people to get the education and training they need to get better paying jobs. Strengthening job and skills training continues to be a priority and the 28 grants announced today further enhances that goal.”

The Next Generation Industry Partnership grants bring together multiple employers in the same industry to collectively provide targeted job training so that students, workers, and job seekers get the skills for good jobs in those industries.

“Programs like the Next Generation Industry Partnership are helping Pennsylvania be at the forefront of the economic changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Department of Labor & Industry Acting Secretary Jennifer Berrier. “By aligning businesses in the same industry to create training programs, we can provide Pennsylvania workers with the skills they need for today’s job opportunities while helping multiple businesses develop a strong candidate pool.”

The Wolf Administration has invested $88 million through the PAsmart since 2018. The initiative provided $28 million to expand job training through registered apprenticeships and industry partnerships and $60 million to support STEM and computer science education in hundreds of schools across Pennsylvania.

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Gov. Wolf, Sec. of Health Announce New Protective Mitigation Efforts to Put Pennsylvania on Pause through Early January

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today implored Pennsylvanians to take the next three weeks and stand united against the virus by adhering to existing mitigation orders and stricter efforts announced today.

“Today I am announcing additional, temporary COVID-19 protective mitigation measures in the commonwealth,” said Gov. Wolf. “With these measures in place, we hope to accomplish three goals: First, stop the devastating spread of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. Second, keep our hospitals and health care workers from becoming overwhelmed. And third, help Pennsylvanians get through the holiday season – and closer to a widely available vaccine – as safely as possible. This is a bridge to a better future in Pennsylvania.”

The new, limited-time mitigation orders take effect at 12:01 a.m. on December 12, and remain in effect until 8 a.m. on January 4, 2021.

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