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Category Archives: News

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

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, […]

Strong cash flow smooths budget work, but not Gov. Wolf’s agenda

Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP, June 9) — With strong tax collections oiling the gears, Gov. Tom Wolf and leaders of the Republican-controlled Legislature are working under the hood of a new spending plan as they head into the final weeks of voting sessions before lawmakers break for summer.

Front and center is an approximately $34 billion budget package that is expected to pass before Pennsylvania’s new fiscal year starts July 1.

Top Republican lawmakers are steering much of the work right now on hundreds of pages of budget-related legislation behind closed doors. A strengthening revenue projection for next year is easing some of the strain of assembling a budget, although there’s never a shortage of demands on the state’s cash.

Meanwhile, the Democratic governor is pressing Republicans to take up at least a couple of his top agenda items before they leave the Capitol until September.

Top Republicans have made it clear that they’ll block Wolf’s $4.5 billion Restore Pennsylvania plan to increase aid for infrastructure and redevelopment needs. Wolf crisscrossed the state all spring to build support for it and his aides say it will pass if put to a vote.

Here is a look at major items before lawmakers:


Wolf in February proposed a $34.1 billion budget plan for the 2019-20 fiscal year, an increase from the current year’s $32.7 billion approved spending package. The increase largely would go toward early childhood education, public schools and growing costs for health care, pensions and debt.

Wolf is asking lawmakers to approve another $750 million to cover cost overruns in […]

Over 850 Workforce Development Leaders Gather in Hershey – Honoring Top Employers and Customers

HERSHEY, PA — Over 850 local, state, and national workforce development professionals from the public and private sectors concluded today one of the nation’s largest statewide workforce development conferences. Hosted by the PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA), the conference was held from May 8-10 and brought together the state-wide system of 22 workforce development boards, PA CareerLink®, government agencies, business and industry, and educational institutions for a three-day training and policy session.  Governor Tom Wolf provided opening remarks, highlighted his Statewide, Workforce, Education and Accountability Program, and  addressed the system’s role for Pennsylvania to build the strongest workforce.   

read more….

Casey adds backing to $15 minimum wage bill in US Senate


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said Tuesday that he is adding his support to legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, joining the party’s growing chorus at the state and federal level ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The bill Casey is joining is already backed by 30 fellow Democrats. It is written by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and backed by five other Democratic senators who, like the politically independent Sanders, are seeking the party’s nomination to run for president.

Casey acknowledged that winning passage in the Republican-controlled Senate is a tall order, but that it is important to build support for it now if a Democrat is elected president in 2020.

“I would not be a candidate during 2020 running for Senate or Congress not supporting this because I think it’s popular across the board,” Casey said. “Not only do people know the data on wages, they’ve lived these lives of very little wage growth and I think it’s the No. 1 economic challenge that we have.”

Pennsylvania’s other senator, Republican Pat Toomey, has long voted against bills to raise the minimum wage. His office said Tuesday that states are free to make their own decisions on minimum wages and that Toomey does not believe the federal government should impose policies “which destroy existing jobs and prevent the creation of new jobs.”

Read more.

Gov. Tom Wolf wants to offer first-of-its-kind college tuition benefit to Pa. National Guard member families


Gov. Tom Wolf wants to break new ground with a new incentive program to entice members of the Pennsylvania National Guard to re-enlist for six years by offering them a tuition assistance plan for their spouses or children.

The Pennsylvania National Guard Military Family Education Program, or Pennsylvania GI Bill of Rights as Wolf refers to it, would provide up to 10 semesters of tuition-free education for the service member’s spouse or family to attend most of Pennsylvania’s higher education institutions.

The amount of assistance paid would be capped at Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education base tuition rate, which this year is $3,858 per semester. The grant could be used to pay for an education leading to an industrial certificate up to and including a graduate degree.

Further, the benefit can be used by service member’s spouse or their children up through age 26 immediately while the soldier or airman is serving in the Guard or any time after they leave the service.

Only Minnesota offers a similar educational benefit to its Guard members but that program is limited to the service member’s spouse, Wolf said in outlining the program to a room filled with soldiers and airmen and surrounded by military equipment at Fort Indiantown Gap on Wednesday.

Senator Hughes proposes legislation to reduce poverty in PA

Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia / Montgomery) today announced plans to introduce a pair of bills designed to assist lawmakers in reducing the commonwealth’s poverty and deep poverty rates. These proposals, SB360 and SB361 will take a data-driven approach to public policy to ensure that lawmakers are fully informed of the potential impacts of legislation on people living in poverty before they vote.

Data from reveals that in 2017 over 1.5 million Pennsylvanians, about 12.5% of the commonwealth’s total population were below the federal poverty line. This ranks Pennsylvania 23rd nationally. In addition, over 700,000 Pennsylvanians, including more than 206,000 children, live in deep poverty; meaning they have household incomes of less than 50% of the federal poverty line, or approximately $12,430 annually. In Philadelphia, the poverty rate is 26% with approximately 200,000 people living in deep poverty.

“SB360 and SB361 will inject research and data into policymaking, so we can begin to drastically reduce and eliminate poverty and deep poverty in the commonwealth,” Sen. Hughes said. “Poverty is real and its impact cuts across the entire commonwealth. It does not discriminate based on race or gender or urban versus rural Pennsylvanians. While the faces and locations of poverty may be different, the impacts are the same. It’s long past time we place the issue of poverty at the forefront of our decision making and do a better job of creating policy that positively impacts our most vulnerable populations.”

SB360, the Intergenerational Poverty Act, calls for a research-based initiative that examines generational poverty through the Department of Human […]

PA Workforce Development Association