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….
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.