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Category Archives: News

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

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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Gov. Wolf: $10.5 Million to Help Career and Technical Education Centers Resume Operations

Governor Tom Wolf is dedicating approximately $10.5 million to Career and Technical Education Centers (CTC) to assist them in implementing public health and safety plans and help them to resume operations. CTC Equity grants provide funding to support effective continuity of education programs such as summer and other expanded programming, and industry credential assessments for students enrolled in CTCs negatively impacted by COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

“CTCs across Pennsylvania are preparing students to enter the commonwealth’s work force, and our communities depend on having these highly-skilled students complete their education and earn their certifications,” Gov. Wolf said. “This funding will help these institutions resume instruction safely.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds.


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Gov. Wolf: $28 Million to Help Higher Education Resume Operations

Governor Tom Wolf is dedicating approximately $28 million to postsecondary institutions and adult basic education providers to assist them in implementing public health and safety plans and help them to resume operations in the fall. The funding will be used to help keep students, faculty, and staff safe and assist institutions in meeting the unique challenges of providing instruction during COVID-19.

“Students attending postsecondary institutions and participating in adult education programs are eager to return to class, and institutions have been planning for months for a safe return to instruction,” Gov. Wolf said. “This funding will help these institutions, whether they choose to continue to provide remote instruction, return to in-person instruction, or employ a hybrid approach to meet the instructional needs of their students.”


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Pa. unemployment offices have doubled staff, but thousands still waiting on claims

Although every Pennsylvania county is operating in the green phase of COVID-19 recovery, allowing more businesses to reopen, the unemployment rate is still 13 percent. With 1.9 million claims filed for unemployment since March, tens of thousands of people remain both out of work and without all or most of the unemployment compensation they applied for months ago.

While the Philadelphia Inquirer recently reported about 90,000 people who applied for benefits between March 15 and June 20 still have not received them, the state Department of Labor and Industry told WHYY News it did not have a more current figure to reflect claims made in late June and July.

Margaret Krish is one of them. She loved working at Hahnemann University Hospital. She attended nursing school there before working those same halls as an oncology nurse for 25 years. When the hospital closed in September she was heartbroken.


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Gov. Wolf Visits CareerLink York County to Highlight Virtual Services for Pennsylvanians Seeking Jobs

Governor Tom Wolf today visited the PA CareerLink York County to highlight the virtual services available to people looking for work and employers seeking qualified candidates. The governor also urged Republicans in Congress to extend the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program that provides an extra $600 a week to people receiving unemployment compensation. The federal program ended July 25.

“The fight against COVID-19 has required sacrifices from all of us, and for many people these challenging months have left them in search of a new job,” said Gov. Wolf. “PA CareerLink® has transitioned to offer more services online to help people find family-sustaining jobs for the long term.

“The most immediate way to help those workers is for Sen. Pat Toomey and Republicans
in Congress to extend the federal unemployment compensation program that provides an additional $600 a week. That added payment is critical for many people to pay their bills and keep food on the table. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s time for Washington to act.”

Pennsylvania is also helping workers by bolstering the online services offered in all 67 counties from PA CareerLink®, a one-stop-shop for job seekers and employers.


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OP-ED: Pandemic highlights value of workforce development network

DMI Companies started 41 years ago with three guys in a garage outside of Pittsburgh trying to solve a problem. Today it is the largest provider of HVAC components in North America. The company prides itself in being forward looking, seeking to stay ahead of the curve on energy efficiency and sustainability and meet the changing needs in construction through innovation.

But who could have imagined a global pandemic?

When other companies were forced to furlough workers or close for good, DMI kept factories in four states humming and some 500 workers employed.


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Department of Education: Wolf administration outlines preliminary guidance for phased reopening of schools

Text of June 3 press release.

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) today said elementary and secondary schools in the state’s yellow and green phases may resume in-person instruction and activities beginning July 1 under a phased reopening approach that first requires schools to develop health and safety plans based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the state Department of Health (DOH).

PDE also released guidance that allows postsecondary institutions and adult basic education programs, effective June 5, to begin in-person instruction immediately following the development of a health and safety plan outlining strategies for safe operations.

The preliminary documents follow Governor Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania, which has been updated to reflect the new guidance.

“The Wolf administration remains committed to the safety and welfare of students, faculty and staff, and any reopening plan must be rooted in these principles,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “As school leaders resume instruction in the 2020-21 school year, the department recognizes the need for preliminary guidance to aid in planning for a return to in-person instruction, delivery of services, and resumption of extracurricular activities.”

Given the dynamic nature of the pandemic, the preliminary guidance serves as a starting point for school leaders to consider in reopening preparations, and it will continue to evolve as further research, data and resources become available. Later this month, PDE will release additional guidance that outlines steps for school openings while addressing safe operations, teaching and learning and student wellness – with attention to […]

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Massive unemployment scam strikes up to 58,000 people in Pa., far more than previously known

HARRISBURG — Mike Consevage came home from work the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend to find two unemployment checks sitting on his kitchen table with his mail.

Consevage, a Harrisburg-based pediatric cardiologist for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, immediately knew something was wrong:

He is employed and never filed for unemployment.

“I said, ‘This had to be a mistake,’” Consevage said in an interview. “So I called my business manager and said, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ [The business manager] said, ‘That’s funny, another physician had just gotten a similar set of checks.’”

Consevage appears to be the victim of an elaborate, multi-state scheme to steal people’s identities, fraudulently file for unemployment programs, and then route the money to their own bank accounts, intercept paper checks, or deceive unknowing recipients into turning them over.


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Why Networked Communities are the Key to Recovery

It’s a truth the COVID-19 crisis has made abundantly clear; our health, our jobs and livelihoods are all inextricably linked. As the virus deals a blow to the complex and invisible web that connects us, we feel it in unexpected ways — bare grocery store shelves, idle manufacturing plants, empty college parking lots, and hospitals simultaneously overwhelmed and financially strapped. Leave it to an invisible virus to make visible the networks that underpin our daily lives. They’ve always been there; we just haven’t always noticed them.


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PA Workforce Development Association