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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, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector. Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers.

The Training-to-Career grant is part of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative that was launched in October 2017. This initiative ensures that training leads not simply to any job, but to careers that provide higher pay and opportunities for advancement. Working with DCED’s strategic partners, including Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs), Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities, technical schools, and non-profit organizations, this initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships to accelerate technology advancement, encourage innovation and commercialization, and build a 21st century workforce.

In the 2019-2020 Executive Budget, Governor Wolf proposed the new Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) to provide workforce development opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. SWEAP will expand access to early childhood education, increase investments in schools and educators, and further partner with the private sector to build on the PAsmart initiative. Through SWEAP and PAsmart, the governor is calling for an additional $4 million to help Pennsylvania manufacturers train workers and $6 million to expand career and technical education for adults.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to manufacturing, visit the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website or follow us on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and YouTube.

Media contacts: J.J. Abbott, Governor’s Office, 717-783-1116; Michael Gerber, DCED, 717-783-1132

PA Workforce Development Association