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Category Archives: News

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

Hackett resigns from Pa. workforce board, blasts Wolf over recent comments

WILKES-BARRE — State Sen. John Yudichak on Friday said business leaders like Chris Hackett, CEO of i2M in Mountain Top, and union leaders who represent essential workers, should have been part of the crisis response team from day one on how the Commonwealth can best protect the safety of employees in manufacturing facilities across Pennsylvania.

Yudichak’s comments come after Hackett resigned from the Workforce Development Board, the governor’s private sector policy advisor on building a strong workforce development system aligned with state education and economic development goals.

Hackett’s letter of resignation to Gov. Tom Wolf was dated April 23. Hackett was appointed to the board in 2016.


Will Pennsylvania Run Out Of Unemployment Money?

Since March 15, nearly 1.6 million Pennsylvanians have filed for traditional unemployment compensation. Thousands more have applied for help under a new federal program for self-employed and contract workers. But the unprecedented volume of applications may still not reflect the true number of people in need.

Melinda Reich worked as a prep cook at Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 on Pittsburgh’s North Side until coronavirus shut the restaurant down. Things financially were already tight: her hours dropped at the end of football season and baseball wouldn’t start until April 1st. But Reich had prepared for that.

“You have to set yourself up for it,” she said. “You know you’re going to be slow, so you have to put money away.”


Department of Community & Economic Development: New funding available for technology-based companies

Text of April 23 press release.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin announced that new funding is available to help technology-based companies impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

“DCED remains committed to identifying new resources that can support Pennsylvania’s businesses during this unprecedented time,” said Sec. Davin. “Our tech companies have been stepping up to provide us with innovative ways to produce personal protective equipment and other supplies, and we must make sure they remain in a position to provide those critical services and ideas in our response to this pandemic.”

The Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA) today approved the disbursement of $1 million in funding to each of the four Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), which will then match that funding with $1 million. The funds will be delivered to each BFTP through a Technology Development grant. The BFTP will identify eligible projects and will provide capital to existing startup clients experiencing hardships due to the impact of COVID-19.

Additionally, Venture Capital Revolving Loan Account funds can be used to make loans to venture capital funds that invest in technology companies in Pennsylvania. The funds will be delivered through loans to existing venture capital firms in the BFTDA portfolio in amounts ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. To deploy capital quickly, BFTDA venture managers will be required to identify specific COVID-19 impacted companies that, by way of the BFTDA capital infusion, will have an opportunity to remain in operation through this economic downturn.

Finally, DCED also announced that Manufacturing Innovation Program […]

More than 1.5 million unemployment claims filed in Pa. as jobless numbers continue to climb

The number of Pennsylvanians filing unemployment claims continues to climb.

On Monday, Pennsylvania Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak said that the state had surpassed 1.5 million unemployment claims filed since March 15, when the state rolled out coronavirus mitigation efforts.

By contrast, in the three weeks prior to March 13, the state logged 40,000 new unemployment claims.

The state also logged 976 new workers compensation claims. Oleksiak said that about 302 of those appeared to be related to workers in the health care, first responder or law enforcement sectors – and all are related to COVID-19.


Face masks are now mandatory in Pa.: We’ve unpacked the order requiring everyone to wear one

To mitigate the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this month recommended that all Pennsylvanians wear a mask any time they leave their homes.

A new order issued Wednesday makes that mandatory for anyone working or shopping at grocery stores and pharmacies. The order zeroes in on the safety of workers and customers at essential businesses.

The order issued by Wolf and Dr. Rachel Levine, Secretary of the Department of Health, goes into effect Sunday amid escalating numbers of coronavirus cases.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday confirmed 1,245 new coronavirus cases, raising the statewide total to 27,735. At least 707 people have died due to the virus, including 60 new deaths reported today,


Crush of unemployment claims straining unemployment system

HARRISBURG — State Department of Labor officials said the “sheer volume” of more than 1 million first-time jobless has led to delays of up to three weeks for some people to get the personal identification numbers that allow them to submit their weekly claims for unemployment benefits.

Secretary of Labor and Industry Jerry Oleksiak said that the state has received 1.3 million jobless claims since Gov. Tom Wolf shut down non-essential businesses in March.

Susan Dickinson, director of unemployment policy for the Department of Labor and Industry said then when people have had questions about their claims, it’s been taking the department 15 days to respond to emails, even though that’s the method the agency has been advising people to use to get questions answered.



Oleksiak said he understands that people awaiting help are getting angered by the delays.

“We want to get benefits to them as quickly as we can,” he said. “We are frustrated too.”

Need a job? Pa. Department of Labor & Industry launches new online COVID-19 job portal

Are you looking for a job?

The state has shut down many businesses and closed the doors to the public for many of them due to the coronavirus pandemic but it has also allowed a myriad of “life-sustaining’ businesses to stay open. And many of those businesses are hiring and the state is planning to connect those employers with people looking for jobs.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has set up a new online COVID-19 job portal.

People seeking employment can visit and select the green “PA COVID-19 Jobs – Hiring Immediately” job portal banner to see the job openings. Perspective employees can select the “Apply Now” button for a listed position, which will lead to the employer’s website or email.


Pennsylvania Begins Implementing New Federal Unemployment Benefits, Eligible Claimants Get Extra $600 Starting Next Week

Governor Tom Wolf announced today the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) is implementing new federal unemployment compensation benefits provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The COVID-19 relief package temporarily provides an additional $600 per week, makes self-employed, independent contractors and gig workers eligible for benefits and extends unemployment compensation (UC) benefits for an additional 13 weeks.

The federal benefits are in addition to Pennsylvania’s regular unemployment benefit, which is about half of a person’s full-time weekly income up to $572 per week for 26 weeks.


Washington eases federal food assistance guidelines for Pennsylvania

Gov. Tom Wolf this week asked Washington to ease restrictions on federal food assistance programs, to help meet the needs of a growing number of families economically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The approval has been granted.

Pennsylvania has gotten the go-ahead to proceed with a Disaster Household Distribution program, which will allow state officials to ensure that families facing layoffs as a result of the coronavirus are able to eat and also to feed their children.

“Hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians have applied for unemployment compensation after just two weeks of COVID-19 mitigation efforts. I’m incredibly grateful for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s acknowledgement of our need to feed Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “This waiver lifts a weight off the shoulders of our food banks and families across the commonwealth.”


Governor Wolf Announces Financial Assistance Available to Small Businesses

March 25, 2020


Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that new funding is available to help small businesses impacted by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, through a new program under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s (PIDA) Small Business First Fund, the COVID-19 Working Capital Access Program (CWCA).

The Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) recently authorized the transfer of $40 million to the Small Business First Fund for CWCA. PIDA authorized making $60 million available to provide loans of $100,000 or less to for-profit businesses with 100 or fewer full-time employees. Funds are expected to become available this week.

As of 12:00 AM, March 25, there are 276 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 1,127 in 44 counties. The Department of Health also reported four new deaths, bringing the statewide death total to 11. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the Department of Health website. All people are either in isolation at home or being treated at the hospital.


PA Workforce Development Association