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:
- Advanced Food Products, New Holland and CNH Industrial, a global company with a location in New Holland
- Christ the King Manor, DuBois
- Washington Health System, Washington
- Fellowship Community, Whitehall
- Pita Chip Restaurant, Philadelphia
- Community Interactions, Inc., Swarthmore
- Ann Kids Child Day Care Center, Philadelphia
- InspiriTec, Philadelphia and Wyomissing
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.