Skip to content

Category Archives: News

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

Youth Unemployment Hits 52-Year Low

By Andrew Duehren
Wall Street Journal

Aug. 16, 2018 5:42 p.m. ET

The unemployment rate among young Americans fell to its lowest level in more than 50 years this summer, though the share of young people looking for work remained well below its peak in 1989.

Of Americans between 16 and 24 years old actively looking for work this summer, 9.2% were unemployed in July, the Labor Department said Thursday, a drop from the 9.6% youth unemployment rate in July 2017. It was the lowest midsummer joblessness rate for youth since July 1966.

Read more

Iron Workers Training Center expansion to increase number of apprenticeships


Gov. Tom Wolf recently toured ongoing renovations at the Iron Workers Training Center in Pittsburgh, which has received $750,000 in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding to expand the facility and increase the number of apprentices who will be trained there.

© Shutterstock


The $4.2 million project adds a second floor to the facility as well as expand and upgrade the first floor. The union anticipates increasing the number of apprentices from approximately 90 last year to more than 300 next year.

“Western Pennsylvania has more ironworker jobs open than there are skilled workers to fill them,” Wolf said. “I am investing in apprenticeships and job training like this, so we can meet the demand for workers to build the cracker plant, manufacturing facilities, bridges and many other projects that are creating jobs.”

The PAsmart initiative will invest $30 million in workforce development, including $7 million for apprenticeships. The program aims to double the number of registered apprentices by 2025. The number of registered apprentices in Pennsylvania has increased by nearly 20 percent from 13,282 registered apprentices to nearly 16,000 since Gov. Wolf established the Apprenticeship and Training Office in 2016.

PAsmart also includes a $3 million increase for the Industry Partnerships program, which connects businesses with educational and economic development partners to provide job training.

Here are the 50 PA colleges whose graduates have the lowest student debt


Pennsylvania, we did it again.

We managed to land dead last in LendEDU’s annual rankings of states with the lowest  student debt load. Using just released information that 1,080 four-year colleges and universities from across the nation voluntarily reported to Peterson’s for the Class of 2017, Pennsylvania’s average student debt per borrower was $36,193.

For comparison, Utah, which finished at the top of the rankings, had an average student debt per borrower of $18,810. 

In this story, we highlight the 50 public and private schools with the lowest average per-borrower student debt load. But first here are some other key observations.

Read more.

Department of Labor & Industry announces improved PA CareerLink® system will better serve Pennsylvania job seekers and employers

Text of Aug. 7 press release.

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced enhancements to the PA CareerLink® system that will result in an effective one-stop shop for Pennsylvania job seekers and employers.

“I continually see firsthand the positive results that growing employers can attain when partnering with PA CareerLink® to connect with a well-skilled workforce,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “Governor Tom Wolf recognizes the importance of partnerships between state agencies and workforce development professionals to achieve this goal, and that’s why L&I is focusing on customer-based enhancements to the PA CareerLink® system.”

PA CareerLink® is relaunching as a partner of the American Job Center® network, which will result in an improved one-stop shop for job seekers and employers. To streamline services and offer a true customer-centered approach, L&I is aligning the online job matching system to PA CareerLink® physical locations to assist both job seekers and employers in identifying and accessing the many employment and training services offered by L&I. Some brick and mortar services will now be available online, saving time for customers.

Current and future enhancements to the system include:

• Better matching of employers with individuals who have specific skill sets; 
• Improved job seeker control over who views their resume; 
• Online referral system to better connect customers to community support services; 
• Increased sharing across state agencies to streamline services; 
• More job postings; and
• Increased vetting capabilities for posted jobs.

Read more

7 Job Skills Of The Future (That AIs And Robots Can’t Do Better Than Humans)

Bernard Marr Contributori

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

When I talk to people about AI (artificial intelligence) and the 4th industrial revolution, I often get asked what skills we should develop to prepare ourselves.

My answer is twofold: First, it’s important to understand the developments in AI and technology.  Learn about the advancements being made and understand what AI can do. And second, focus on building the skills in areas robots can’t do well.


Read more

PA Labor Secretary visits Chester County CareerLink location

POSTED: 08/06/18, 4:40 PM EDT | UPDATED: 9 HRS AGO

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak visited PA CareerLink Chester County in Exton on Monday. This photo shows a variety of flyers for programs offered by CareerLink. Donna Rovins — Digital First Media

Exton >> Pennsylvania Secretary of Labor Jerry Oleksiak visited PA CareerLink Chester County in Exton Monday to focus attention on the work of the agency.

He was joined by state Sen. Andrew Dinniman, D-19th Dist., state Rep. Duane Milne, R-167th Dist., and Pat Bokovitz, director, Chester County Department of Community Development.

After touring the facility, the group had a chance to hear from a representative from PowerBack Rehabilitation about that company’s recent experiences working with CareerLink to fill jobs at its new Exton location, as well as two CareerLink clients.

Read more

U.S. Added 157,000 Jobs in July; Unemployment Rate Slips to 3.9%

By Nelson D. Schwartz
The New York Times

Aug. 3, 2018


The Labor Department on Friday released its hiring and unemployment figures for July, providing a fresh snapshot of the American economy.

The Numbers

■ 157,000 jobs were added last month. Economists had expected a gain of about 190,000.

■ The unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, from 4 percent.

■ Average hourly earnings rose by 7 cents to $27.05. The year-over-year gain is now 2.7 percent.

Read more

How Philadelphia is Battling Poverty By Building a Robust Workforce

Rikha Rani, FUSE contributing writer

July 18, 2018

The city of Philadelphia has made impressive economic gains over the last year. In 2017, for the second year in a row, the city added jobs at a faster rate than the nation as a whole. It also recorded its highest monthly average job numbers in nearly three decades.

At the same time, Philadelphia has the dubious distinction of being the poorest large city in the nation. Despite healthy job creation and lower unemployment, the city’s poverty rate stands at nearly 26 percent and nearly half of the city’s 400,000 poor residents are living in deep poverty.

These statistics have added a sense of urgency to Philadelphia’s poverty-alleviation efforts. In February, Mayor Jim 

Sheila Ireland, Executive Director of Philadelphia’s newly created Office of Workforce Development.

Kenney released a citywide strategy, Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine, that shifts the focus of workforce development efforts from short-term job training and placement to long-term career planning and advancement. The strategy has three overarching goals: help Philadelphians acquire the skills that employers need to build a world-class workforce; alleviate barriers to meaningful employment; and build a workforce system that is more coordinated, innovative, and effective.

To carry out this vision, Kenney appointed veteran workforce development leader Sheila Ireland. Ireland is Executive Director of the city’s newly created Office of Workforce Development, which consolidates the city’s workforce activities into one central agency. In partnership with FUSE fellow Barry Wilkins, Ireland has brought together a group of local businesses, industry organizations, educational institutions and city agencies to identify solutions, starting with how the city can […]

Passing career and technical education bill a smart move by Congress

From Lancaster Newspapers Online



Last week, the U.S. House and Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation, co-sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Smucker, to strengthen and improve career and technical education to help Americans obtain the skills needed to compete for good-paying jobs. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act updates the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 1984, which provided federal support to state and local vocational programs.  Passage of this bill, which awaits President Donald Trump’s signature, has been a major priority for Smucker.

For evidence that trained workers are increasingly in demand in today’s economy, we need look no further than Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology.

Read more

Pennsylvania one of the least affordable states for college


The state ranked No. 48 in college affordability and ‘moderate’ in overall risks to postsecondary education.

A new report has confirmed the suspicions of anyone who has paid for in-state tuition here in Pennsylvania:  The state is one of the least affordable.

It ranked No. 48 in a recent study on college opportunity risk from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Research on Higher Education that sought to identify college expenses, barriers to opportunity, affordability, and performance in each state compared to family income.

The report includes a full state-by-state comparison of policies that affect families’ ability to pay for college, breaking down risk by education performance, equity, funding and productivity, and state economy and finances.

In terms of overall risk rating, Pennsylvania moderately ranked No. 23 in the nation, while neighbors New Jersey and New York ranked 26 and 38, respectively. And Pennsylvania fares well in categories like completion of college programs in a timely manner and higher education funding and productivity.

But here’s a troubling fact: Only 2.9 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds are enrolled in educational programs beyond high school in Pennsylvania; that’s dead last in the nation.

That’s going to be problematic by 2025, according to the study, because the United States will need 60 percent of its workforce to have college degrees, certificates and other credentials. 

And in 2016, about 46 percent of Pennsylvania residents had those credentials.

Read more.

PA Workforce Development Association