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Category Archives: News

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

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. officials warn of scams targeting unemployment benefit recipients during coronavirus pandemic

Scammers are getting away with using Social Security numbers and other identifying information belonging to identity theft victims to commit unemployment compensation fraud, officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry warn.

“Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania is not seeing a large increase in unemployment scams since COVID-19 mitigation efforts began,” Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said. “We are working with our partner agencies to keep a close eye on the situation.”


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State’s new unemployment claims continue to drop as restrictions ease

HARRISBURG – The number of people filing unemployment claims in the week ending May 17 dropped below 62,000 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic prompted the state to close nonessential businesses statewide.

State Labor and Industry data shows the number of claims has dropped to  61,864 in the period.

That’s fewer new claims in the entire week than the state had each day in the initial period after the shutdown’s impact rippled across the state.


On March 20, 90,000 people filed claims for unemployment. In one week in late March, the number of new claims topped 400,000.

The drop in new claims comes as the state has begun relaxing those restrictions across much of the state.

In a press call with reporters on Monday, Labor and Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said the number of claims, though declining, are still significant. In the weeks ending May 10, the number of claims was 65,000.

Oleksiak said the number of recent claims is “a tremendously high number, given that the state had been working with before the pandemic mitigation efforts went into effect.”


The state has received close to 1.9 million initial claims through the traditional unemployment program and another 266,000 claims for assistance through the stimulus-funded program to provide benefits to self-employed people and independent contractors, he said.

About 76% of the people who filed initial claims were approved, said Susan Dickinson, director of the state Office of Unemployment Compensation Benefits Policy.

The remaining 24% include both people whose claims are pending and those who may […]

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Department of Labor & Industry: Pennsylvania launches program for people who exhaust their unemployment compensation benefits.

ext of May 17 media advisory.

Provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits.

More than $7.9 billion in total unemployment benefits paid since mid-March.

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced the launch of Pennsylvania’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program to provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits to people who exhaust their regular unemployment compensation (UC).

PEUC is included in the new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Pennsylvania has implemented all programs under the new CARES Act and paid out nearly $7.4 billion in total unemployment benefits since mid-March.

Important information about the extended benefits program follows and has also been emailed or mailed via the United States Postal Service to all individuals who potentially qualify for PEUC.


You are eligible for PEUC if you:

• Are unemployed between March 29 through December 26, 2020;
• Have exhausted your regular state or federal benefits with week ending July 6, 2019 or later;
• Are currently not eligible for state or federal unemployment benefits; and
• Are able and available to work and actively seeking work, except for COVID-19-related reasons including illness, quarantine, or “stay at home” orders.

How to Receive PEUC

• If you have an open UC claim but exhausted all of your benefits, the 13 additional weeks will automatically be added to your existing claim. Log in this week to file biweekly claims for prior weeks, back through the week ending April 4 (if applicable).
• If […]

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PA Workforce Development Association