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Workforce development loses a friend, mentor, legend

Edward J. McCann, Jr.

If ever there was a success story that includes a well-regarded workforce protagonist with a lifetime of favorable influence that stretched from his hometown in Berks County to the halls of Congress and beyond, the story would surely be about Edward J. McCann, Jr., who led workforce development efforts in Berks County for four decades. Although McCann’s passing on August 30 leaves a striking absence among those who knew and respected him, his lasting impression is indelible and his legacy is unquestionable.

Described as “a selfless, dedicated leader and dean of Pennsylvania workforce development,” McCann retired as CEO of the Berks County Workforce Development Board on Labor Day in September 2014, passing the torch to his successor, Dan Fogarty.

A founding member of the organization that is now the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP), McCann served as both past president and a member of the board of directors. He played an instrumental role in the creation of the Certified Workforce Development Professional designation, which offers credentialing status to those in workforce development. He was awarded the H. G. Weisman Award for Leadership from NAWDP in 2009.

A Reading native, McCann was involved with economic and job development efforts from the Ride to Prosperity, which unified economic development organizations in the area, to Reading Area Community College’s Schmidt Training and Technology Center, which provides training for adults in advanced manufacturing. He held leadership posts with the PA Workforce Development Association (PWDA) and its predecessors, the PA WIB Association and PA Partners, the Greater Reading Economic Development Professionals, Berks Advisory Board for the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership, and the Government Affairs Committee of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2009, he was named Partner of the Year by the PA Economic Development Association, and in 2015, he was presented with the Ben Franklin Partners’ partnership award.

A mentor of workforce leaders in Pennsylvania and across the country, McCann was also described as a visionary and strategic thinker who predicted the shortage of highly skilled manufacturing workers long before it surfaced as a headliner issue. His skill in attracting federal and state training dollars to Berks County is said to have raised the bar in collaborative leadership among workforce, education, and employers.


PA Workforce Development Association