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Category Archives: News

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

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.


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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.”


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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.


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Department of Human Services Provides Guidance Related to Employment and Training Programs and Work Requirements in Light of COVID-19

Harrisburg, PA – The Department of Human Services (DHS) today released guidanceOpens In A New Window for its employment and training (E&T) programs in coordination with Governor Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding COVID-19. Because closure of non-essential services will affect program operations, people participating in employment and training programs to meet a work participation requirement should participate remotely or be excused for the period that E&T programs are unable to operate.

“The health and safety of our clients is our number one priority, so to that end we are encouraging people who feel ill, including people who are in our employment and training programs, to stay home. We will work with you to determine how to meet your E&T requirements and needs,” said Secretary Teresa Miller. “No one should fear losing their benefits due to circumstances beyond their control, and we are working with our E&T providers to excuse program participants during this period.”


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WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor today announced the availability of up to $100 million for Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs) to help address the workforce-related impacts of the public health emergency related to COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a nationwide public health emergency as a result of confirmed cases of the coronavirus. This federal declaration enables the Secretary of Labor to award Disaster Recovery DWGs to help address the workforce-related impacts of this public health emergency (WIOA Act Section 170(a)(1)(B)).


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Pennsylvania Workers Affected by COVID-19 May be Eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Harrisburg, PA – Workers in Pennsylvania who are impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation benefits, Secretary of Labor & Industry (L&I) Jerry Oleksiak announced today.  

Unemployment compensation claims should be submitted online for faster processing. 

“As Pennsylvania and the nation implement mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is important to relieve some of the financial pressures our workers are facing so they can focus on remaining healthy and safe,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “The best option is for employers to offer their employees paid time off. If leave is not available and your job has been impacted by this new virus, you may be eligible for benefits either through unemployment or workers’ compensation. If you work in a job or industry that likely will be affected, prepare now by knowing what you need and how to file so your application can be processed quickly.” 


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$6.5 Million in PAsmart Apprenticeship Grants to Expand Job Training Across Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA – Building on Governor Tom Wolf’s plan to expand job training for Pennsylvanians, Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today announced more than $6.5 million in PAsmartOpens In A New Window Registered Apprenticeship Grants to increase opportunities for workers to “earn while they learn.” The governor launched PAsmart in 2018 to increase STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and computer science education, registered apprenticeships and job training opportunities to prepare workers with the skills that growing businesses need.

“Apprenticeship programs are a great way for workers to advance their skills with on-the-job training while earning a paycheck,” said L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “PAsmart was created as part of a broad strategy to increase job training for workers and strengthen our state’s workforce. Through these competitive grants, Pennsylvania is training and retraining workers and creating a more productive, diverse, and skilled labor force that our growing industries want.”


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The National Fund for Workforce Solutions Names New President and CEO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Fund for Workforce Solutions named Amanda Cage as its new president and CEO. Cage brings more than 20 years of federal workforce system, grantmaking, and organized labor experience to the organization.

Throughout her career, Cage has focused on ensuring inclusiveness and economic stability for workers and their families. At the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Cage oversaw more than 70 million dollars in public and private funding for the country’s second-largest workforce system.

Her background managing a vast network of agencies and funding makes her ideally suited to lead the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and its 33 regional collaboratives. Through her leadership, the organization will have new opportunities to bring together diverse partners to support communities in creating good jobs, help businesses find and train employees, and provide opportunities for frontline workers to advance.



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Wolf Administration Announces Partnership to Connect Medicaid Enrollees to Employment and Training Programs

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller and Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today joined leadership from Pennsylvania’s seven physical health Medicaid managed care organizations and Nancy Dischinat, executive director of Workforce Board Lehigh Valley to announce a new partnership that will connect Medicaid recipients to employment and training programs.

The Medicaid Work Supports initiative will identify and connect Medicaid enrollees to resources that can help address barriers to employment and lead to more success in the workforce.



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Governor: Gov. Wolf, business and labor leaders unveil strategy to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce

Text of Jan. 27 press release.

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf was joined by leaders of business, labor and economic development, and several cabinet members today to release the first report from the governor’s Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. The strategic public-private partnership, created by Gov. Wolf last February, identifies barriers to employment and provides recommendations for action by the governor, legislature, and private sector.

“Workers and businesses need to be at their best to thrive, which benefits all of us,” said Governor Wolf. “Employment is high, but too many people are in low-wage jobs and many businesses cannot find or retain skilled workers.

“I challenged the Command Center to find innovative solutions so workers can get the skills to compete for good jobs and industry has the workforce to succeed in the global economy. The Command Center has outlined a series of recommendations. I commend them for their efforts and pledge to continue working with the legislature and the private sector to put these recommendations into action.”

The Command Center identified five barriers preventing people from working and employers from hiring qualified candidates: access to affordable childcare, job training, or transportation to a workplace, burdensome occupational licensing requirements, and challenges for people re-entering the workforce from the criminal justice system.

The Command Center provided 42 recommendations to address employment barriers, including:

Recommendations for the Wolf Administration:

• Encourage and incentivize commercial and residential development to consider access to transportation infrastructure when making decisions about business expansion or relocation.
• Leverage additional federal workforce development funds to address […]

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PA Workforce Development Association