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Content Archives: PA@Work Spotlight

Successfully Navigating Incarceration to Gainful Employment

PA Workforce Development Association hosts panel on reentry and workforce development

“No job, I rob.”

This is how Executive Deputy Secretary of Corrections for Community Corrections and Reentry George M. Little summed up the importance of a living wage job for reentrants from incarceration at a Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association PA@Work virtual panel this week.

Hosted by PWDA Executive Director Carrie Anne Amann, other panelists included Peggy Kershner, Co-Executive Director, Berks Connections / Pretrial Services, and Associate Professor Jordan Hyatt, J.D., Ph.D., from the Drexel University Department of Criminality and Justice Studies.

Amann pointed out that one out of every 25 Pennsylvanians has some involvement in the criminal justice system, and that research shows that implicit bias about incarceration disproportionately impacts people of color.

The panelists agreed that one thing is certain – in today’s economy, all Pennsylvanians are needed to fill the growing number of open jobs.

“Their success is our success,” Executive Secretary Little said. He added that his agency has focused on creating programs inside the correctional system that provide essential job and soft skills training. In addition, Little said, the Department of Corrections works with incarcerated people to address barriers to employment, which are often as simple as a valid ID and social security papers.

Kershner agreed, adding that her organization is in the “life improvement business.”

Hyatt, who conducts research into the public policies informing incarceration, said that Obama-era changes in federal law now allow funding for in-prison classes. “People who receive education while behind bars are 28% less likely to reoffend,” he said. […]

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Workforce & Childcare Matters in PA

May 26, 2021 – The business community used to look at child care through an early learning lens but now sees it clearly as a workforce issue,” said Gene Barr, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry, a panelist in a one-hour webinar on May 26 that was part of PWDA’s PA@Work series connecting leaders to collaborate, strategize, build capacity, and identify innovative solutions that lift up Pennsylvania workers, employers, and communities. You can find resources from this  Learning Series here. 

PWDA Executive Director Carrie Anne Amann moderated the panel, a one-hour webinar that was part of its PA@Work series connecting leaders to collaborate, strategize, build capacity, and identify innovative solutions that lift up Pennsylvania workers, employers, and communities. Her guests were Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry President and CEO Gene Barr, Kari King, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children (“PPC”), and Janet Ward, Executive Director at Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board (“WFWIB”). [Click on the article title to read more….]

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Panel explores intersection of hunger and workforce development

Vanessa Philbert introduced attendees at PWDA’s newly launched PA@Work webinar series last month to an expression many had never heard before – “la brega.” A Spanish term used frequently by Puerto Ricans according to Philbert, a “brega” means a situation you cannot control so you hustle to get around it.

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PA Workforce Development Association