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

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 […]

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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..….

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$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

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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 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.

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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….


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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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Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate Drops To 8.1 Percent In September


Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) released its employment situation report for September 2020.  

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was down 2.3 percentage points over the month to 8.1 percent in September. The national rate fell 0.5 percentage points from its August level to 7.9 percent. The commonwealth’s unemployment rate increased by 3.5 percentage points from September 2019 while the national rate was up 4.4 points over the year.  

Pennsylvania’s civilian labor force – the estimated number of residents working or looking for work – increased 52,000 over the month as the unemployment count fell by 141,000 while employment rose by 194,000.  

Pennsylvania’s total nonfarm jobs were up 19,400 over the month to 5,597,800 in September. Jobs increased in 9 of the 11 industry supersectors from August levels. The largest monthly volume gain was in leisure & hospitality, up 16,100 jobs. 

Over the past five months, Pennsylvania has recovered 54.2% of the total nonfarm jobs lost in March and April. 

Over the year, total nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania were down 470,800 with declines in 10 of the 11 supersectors. The largest 12-month change among supersectors was a decline of 147,300 jobs in leisure & hospitality. 

Additional information is available on the L&I website at or by following us on FacebookOpens In A New WindowTwitterOpens In A New Window, and LinkedInOpens In A New Window

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


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Industry Partnerships the Collective Business Solution to Restoring Southeastern PA’s Economic Resilience

By Carrie Anne Amann, MPA

Like the ants in Aesop’s fable, hundreds of area businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies have been working diligently for years to build a strong economic and workforce development system, which is serving the region well during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Guided by the powerful combo of the Chester County Economic Development Council and the Chester County Workforce Development Board, these intertwined systems have helped Southeastern Pennsylvania lead the state in economic growth and now recovery.

Patrick E. Bokovitz, Executive Director of the Chester County Workforce Development Board, heads one of the 22 local workforce development boards that make up my organization, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association. These entities serve as the honest brokers of the only base solid enough to anchor real economic stability: a good job for everyone who needs one.

Among many other things, local workforce development boards are responsible for the more than 60 PACareerLink centers, which serve as the critical partner to Pennsylvanians looking for work.

“In Chester County, when we talk economic and workforce development together, we mean it,” Bokovitz said. “We are a county of opportunity, collaborating to create family-sustaining jobs for our residents.”


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PA Workforce Development Association