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Category Archives: News

Workforce development news from Pennsylvania and across the U.S.

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 […]

Department of Labor & Industry: Wolf administration announces $2.5 million to connect businesses and schools, boost job training opportunities across Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today urged local workforce development boards (LWBDs) to apply for $2.5 million in new Business-Education Partnership (BEP) grants that will connect businesses and school districts and expand career opportunities throughout Pennsylvania.

“This funding supports one of Governor Tom Wolf’s key workforce development objectives to provide students with the technical training they need to get good-paying jobs when entering the workforce,” Secretary Oleksiak said. “These business and education partnerships give students the skills to succeed in today’s economy, while simultaneously creating new generations of highly-skilled workers for Pennsylvania employers.”

A total of $2.5 million in funding is available through L&I to LWDBs to implement Business-Education Partnership programs. These programs help increase awareness of in-demand technical careers for students, parents, guardians, and school faculty. Each of the 22 statewide LWDBs are strongly encouraged to apply.

“Last year the commonwealth funded Business-Education Partnership grant activities to serve nearly 29,000 individuals across Pennsylvania,” Oleksiak added. “These partnerships benefit employers by educating tomorrow’s workforce about the career and technical education job opportunities that exist and provide students with a solid first-work experience that puts them squarely on the path to future success.”

The partnerships connect schools, employers, and students to provide career-related experiences and opportunities through soft-skills development, internships, workplace shadowing, and career mentoring, all with the goal of informing more students about the need to develop technical skills required by employers.

The Business-Education Partnership grants from L&I are funded at 100 percent through federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities […]

North Central Region Listening Session

The Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center was created earlier this year to expand the collaboration between government and the private sector to address the skills gap and worker shortages. Charged with identifying impediments to employment and creating strategies for addressing them, the command center is a true public-private partnership bringing together experts from business, industry, and the state – and committing dedicated resources – to ensure our collective economic future is bright.

North Central Region Listening Session
We want to hear from you! Come share your insights and public comments at our listening session to help us better identify the specific barriers job seekers, employers, and workforce professionals face in the North Central region.

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L&I announces $2.5m funding opportunity for Youth Reentry

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$438 grant extended for cybersecurity education at PCT

The Pennsylvania College of Technology announced a National Science Foundation grant totalling $438,391 aimed at cybersecurity workforce development has been extended for another year.

The grant, “Improving the Pipeline: After-School Model for preparing Cyber Defense and Information Assurance Professionals,” introduces high school students to career possibilities in cybersecurity through interaction with information technology faculty.

“The extension of the NSF grant will allow Penn College to further educate local students and teachers about information assurance and cybersecurity,” said Bradley M. Webb, assistant dean of the college’s Industrial, Computing and Engineering Technologies program.

“Careers are plentiful and we need to infuse the field with high-quality graduates dedicated to securing the data systems we rely on daily. This program, developed with NSF support, helps accomplish that goal,” he said.

During the past two years, students from Williamsport, Jersey Shore, Muncy and Hughesville high schools have visited Penn College each week to learn about the field.


Governor: Startup selects Northampton County as best location to establish first manufacturing site

Text of Aug. 8 press release.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that Continental Cup Company (CCC), a manufacturer of high-end graphic paper cups, will establish its first manufacturing operation in the City of Bethlehem, Northampton County. The project will support the creation of 71 jobs in the area.

“I’m proud to welcome Continental Cup Company to Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Manufacturing is thriving in the Lehigh Valley and the addition of this new facility helps to keep this momentum going.”

CCC will lease a 40,000-square-foot building in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park. The company has pledged to invest at least $9.5 million into the project, which is expected to create 71 new, full-time jobs over the next three years.

“We are extremely excited for our very first operation in Northampton County and proud of our contribution to the local economy providing family-sustaining jobs that will have a positive impact on Bethlehem and surrounding communities,” said Rick Timone, president of CCC. “The support from the Governor’s Action Team was a key component to making this project a reality. We appreciate Governor Wolf’s support and commitment.”

CCC received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a $155,000 Pennsylvania First grant, $142,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs, and up to $31,950 in grants for workforce training and development. The company was also encouraged to apply for a low-interest $400,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority to assist with equipment costs. The project was coordinated […]

AirBorn launches $3.7 million expansion in Lake City

LAKE CITY — Jon Nelson, director of operations for AirBorn Inc.’s Lake City plant, made a couple of things clear Wednesday afternoon as he addressed a sea of blue-shirted employees gathered outside for a company announcement.

First, the work they do is important, whether it’s building precision electrical connectors used in deep-water drilling, operating critical systems on F-35 fighter jets or in applications in outer space, Nelson said.

Secondly — and the reason for the gathering of company employees, state and local officials under a giant tent — was that there will soon be a lot more AirBorn employees doing that work.

In fact, the workforce won’t begin to fit under that tent a year from now if all goes as planned.

The employee-owned company announced in May that its Lake City plant, formed in 2002 by the merger of AirBorn and homegrown Caron Enterprises, would invest $3.7 million for new equipment and a 30,000-square-foot expansion, adding about 250 employees over the next three years.

Local employees and company leaders from around the country gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the expansion project, which Nelson expects will be completed by January.

The building is being built by McCormick Structural Systems of Erie. Structural steel was stacked to the east of the existing building Wednesday, waiting for work to begin.

Company officials praised the Governor’s Action Team and state Department of Community and Economic Development for its assistance with the project and for helping to make the decision to expand in Lake City an easier choice for a company that had other options.

Most of the […]

Governor: PAsmart makes Pennsylvania a leader in STEM education

Harrisburg, PA – After securing the vast majority of his bold budget plan to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce, Governor Tom Wolf today highlighted how his PAsmart initiative is preparing students and workers for good careers in emerging industries.

“Last year, I launched PAsmart as a new way to invest in education and job training so workers can get the skills to compete for the jobs of today and the future,” said Governor Wolf. “By expanding PAsmart this year, we’re signaling to businesses that Pennsylvania is ready with the workers they need.”

Guided by the recommendations of businesses and workers, PAsmart makes strategic investments to help close the skills gap and train more people for jobs that employers need. This year, the governor secured a $10 million increase to $40 million for PAsmart.

“With PAsmart, Pennsylvania will have the most prepared and talented workforce in the country, which will help businesses succeed, grow the middle class, and strengthen the economy for everyone,” said Governor Wolf. “We are partnering with private industry and schools to strategically invest in science and technology education, expand apprenticeships, and increase on-the-job training for good careers.”

In the inaugural year, the Wolf administration awarded nearly $10 million in PAsmart grants, of up to $35,000 each, to 765 schools to expand computer science classes and teacher training, and nearly $10 million in advancing grants, up to $500,000 each, to 24 schools and community partnerships. The remaining $10 million supported apprenticeships and job training.

The projects included CS/STEM camps and after-school programs; STEM programming for preK-2 students and classrooms; a mobile […]

PA spending plan for FY2019-20 is a ‘done deal,’ say state lawmakers

By Chris Comisac, Robert Swift and Alyssa Biederman

HARRISBURG (June 24) – While there’s still a bit more work to be done by lawmakers, the Fiscal Year 2019-20 state budget’s primary document – the General Appropriations budget – is a “done deal” that legislative leaders said will get to the Governor’s desk by Thursday.

Those leaders and Gov. Tom Wolf have agreed to a plan they say will spend $33.997 billion during the coming 2019-20 Fiscal Year, which starts on July 1.

House Appropriations Committee Majority Chairman Stan Saylor, R-York, said the expenditures within House Bill 790 represents a 1.8-percent increase in spending from the current year’s total. That assumes the current year’s spend total is $33.4 billion, which is $700 million more than the amount lawmakers in June 2018 said the FY2018-19 budget spent, which at the time they said was $32.7 billion. Compared to the budget that was passed last June, the planned FY2019-20 spend total represents a roughly 4-percent increase.

Republican leaders, since Wolf unveiled his proposed 2019-20 state budget in February, have said they intended to spend less than the $34.1 billion Wolf said his plan would cost.

And since April’s General Fund revenue collections delivered a significant amount of unexpected revenues, GOP leaders have also indicated they would push to increase the state’s Rainy Day Fund, currently containing about $22.5 million, by whatever amount of surplus revenues exist at the end of the current fiscal year.

Last week, Saylor suggested there wouldn’t be much of the more than $800 million surplus left – maybe $65 million […]

Gov. Wolf announces new funding to provide Lehigh Valley workers with in-demand manufacturing credentials

Text of June 18 press release.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of new funding for the Northampton Community College (NCC) to provide opportunities for unemployed and underemployed workers to gain entry-level skills needed for in-demand manufacturing positions.

“The Lehigh Valley has a rich history of manufacturing, but as the manufacturing sector evolves to meet the demands of the 21st century economy, our workforce must be able to evolve with it,” Governor Wolf said. “This funding will help support Northampton Community College’s program to ensure that Lehigh Valley manufacturers have the talent they need to fill their open positions.”

Funded through Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative, the $199,781 grant will help provide individuals in the Lehigh Valley with modern manufacturing skills as the sector has evolved from a focus on manual machining to the operation of new, advanced technology. The grant will support NCC’s Microcredentials in Manufacturing training program. The 180-hour program was developed in coordination with local manufacturers. Funding will support the training of 60 participants in the program.

“Northampton Community College is thrilled to receive this grant award from the Wolf Administration to deliver the Microcredentials in Manufacturing program in the Lehigh Valley,” said Michele Pappalardo, associate dean of workforce development at NCC. “This on-going partnership is so critical to continue supporting our local manufacturers by providing them with well-trained workers.”

Local manufacturing companies involved in the project include B. Braun Medical, Reeb Millwork, and Sussex Wire.

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant is designed to provide funding for training programs to help unemployed and underemployed individuals, […]

PA Workforce Development Association