Pennsylvania Strengthens the Appalachian Region With Workforce Development and Education

Tom WolfCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Tom Wolf highlighted the efforts throughout his administration to strengthen Pennsylvania and the Appalachian region on Monday at the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) One Appalachia Connection & Collaboration conference. In attendance were representatives from all 13 states in the ARC region, as well as federal partners. The purpose of the conference was to share best practices and discuss how to improve collaboration between state and federal agencies, businesses, and other organizations working to improve life in the Appalachian region.

“For more than 50 years, Pennsylvania has partnered with ARC to battle the impacts of poverty, unemployment, and low per capita income in our most vulnerable communities. Our partnership with ARC also helps us address other high-priority issues like the needs of our coal-impacted communities and substance use disorder,” Gov. Wolf said. “In Pennsylvania, just like so many of the states that are part of the Appalachian region, this partnership has been one part of a much broader strategy to support workforce development and increase opportunity for Pennsylvanians.”

Since taking office, Governor Wolf has made it a priority to improve STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education. The governor’s PAsmart initiative, which has introduced STEM and computer science programs into hundreds of schools, has helped bridge the gap between the classroom and well-paying jobs. Through PAsmart, the Wolf Administration has invested $35 million in apprenticeship training and as a result, there are now more than 17,000 apprentices and more than 1,580 apprenticeship programs.

“The governor’s Manufacturing PA initiative leverages the expertise of Pennsylvania’s top-tier institutes of higher education and helps Pennsylvania workers build the skills they need to succeed in our 21st century economy. The Manufacturing Training to Career program, which builds links between the needs of manufacturers and the skills of Pennsylvania workers, has invested 17.5 million dollars in 83 projects, supporting workers and businesses while providing a major boost to Pennsylvania’s economy.

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The Wolf Administration has also invested directly in businesses that are growing in Pennsylvania through the work of the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals that works with businesses that are considering relocating to or expanding in Pennsylvania to help make those projects successful.

Since 2015, the Wolf Administration has partnered with more than 430 companies to create and retain more than 194,000 jobs in the commonwealth through GAT. These projects have led to $17.8 billion in capital investments in Pennsylvania communities and our economy. In the past eight years, more than 200 businesses have relocated to Pennsylvania or opened new operations here.

Governor Wolf has also changed the business climate in Pennsylvania by reducing the Corporate Net Income Tax and eliminating the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax to help bring new businesses – and new jobs – to Pennsylvania.

The Wolf Administration has worked hard to support the infrastructure growth, repair, and revitalization that Pennsylvania businesses rely on, including the expansion of broadband access in underserved and unserved parts of the commonwealth. The governor worked with the General Assembly to create the bipartisan Broadband Authority, which will be the central point of contact to oversee and support broadband deployment across Pennsylvania and will manage at least $100 million in federal aid.

“These investments, programs, and initiatives are all part of my commitment to building a stronger workforce, and they are making a difference. Under my administration, Pennsylvania’s job growth increased from 45th in the nation to 15th in the nation,” Gov. Wolf said. “I have made it a priority to fight for workers all across Pennsylvania because when the people of Pennsylvania succeed, our commonwealth succeeds. And when our commonwealth succeeds, the Appalachian region succeeds.”

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As part of this conference, the governor announced on Monday that more than $6.9 million will be devoted to Pennsylvania’s coal communities to support economic development projects for improved opportunities through the ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative.

The Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative targets federal resources to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Since 2015 ARC has invested more than $319.3 million in 395 projects touching 358 Appalachian counties. There have been 61 awards in Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative, or DCED, visit the DCED website.

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