Gov. Wolf Announces $5.5M for Workforce Development Projects Across PA

Govenor WolfCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — Governor Tom Wolf this week announced $5.5 million in Industry Partnership Grant funding to support workforce development projects designed to meet local and regional workforce needs across Pennsylvania.

Industry Partnership (IPs) support businesses partnering to build a stronger, more competitive job market through training, networking, recruitment, and collaboration within targeted industries and offer Pennsylvanians opportunities for career pathways into jobs with family-sustaining wages. The grant program is administered through the Department of Labor & Industry (L&I).

“With Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate holding steady at a record low, it is our collective responsibility to make decisions that are responsive to the needs of both Pennsylvania workers and employers in sectors where talent pipelines are tapped,” Gov. Wolf said. “By investing in workforce development projects, and specifically industry partnerships, we can connect hardworking Pennsylvanians with opportunities to advance their skillsets and obtain family-sustaining jobs in booming industries.”

Through Governor Wolf’s PAsmart initiative, the commonwealth has invested more than $40 million since 2018 to enhance opportunities for Pennsylvania workers through apprenticeship programs and industry partnerships. In this new round of funding, 25 Industry Partnerships received grants to increase awareness and implement workforce development strategies in the healthcare, manufacturing, construction, information technology, agriculture, education, hospitality and energy industries.

“Industry Partnership programs address critical shortages in specific industries, assist in retention efforts and offer a robust resource network to ensure individuals have access to meaningful careers,” L&I Secretary Jennifer Berrier said. “At L&I, we strategically use resources to connect Pennsylvania employers with a highly skilled and talented workforce who can do the jobs of tomorrow. We continue to do that, first and foremost, by investing in people and their families.”

The following PAsmart grant winners and amounts were awarded. To view full details, visit PAsmart Industry Partnership Grants.

SOUTHEAST REGION

AgConnect (Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia – $250,000)

AgConnect will use its grant funding to provide technical assistance for farm and food business partners in the region for training, management, and accounting; create youth pipeline development and provide hands on experience to high school students; implement an Innovative Workplace Solutions grant program; and provide project management for the PA Cheese Guild and Growing Roots Partners’ Good Food Fest.

EducatePHL (Philadelphia – $250,000)

EducatePHL will use its funding to reverse the trends of fewer teachers entering the workforce and to find solutions to diversify the teaching workforce in Philadelphia. They plan to convene education-sector employers and public partners to develop and implement a targeted two-cycle outreach campaign to increase recruitment and the number of educators hired.

Lehigh Valley Healthcare Pipeline Industry Partnership (Lehigh, Northampton – $250,000)

The partnership will conduct a series of healthcare industry employer roundtables and develop a Workforce Pipeline Strategic Action Plan Committee. Projected activities to support workers include identifying strategies for recruitment of adults, youth, and those in underrepresented populations. The partnership will design a targeted outreach plan to attract a diverse workforce pipeline while engaging with the Allentown School District to increase the pipeline of healthcare workers.

Manufacturing Alliance of Chester and Delaware Counties (Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, York – $250,000)

The partnership will use its grant funding to recruit and retain employees for participating companies. The project will also focus on continuing outreach efforts to youth and their parents promoting manufacturing careers. The other main focus is to create new and innovative programs to connect women and female students to careers in manufacturing.

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Smart Energy Initiative of Southeastern PA (Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, York – $250,000)

Goals of the partnership include consumer and business education about different energy sources. The partnership will also offer classes about newer building codes and plans to train 60 employees.

Southeastern Manufacturing Pennsylvania Alliance (SEPMA) (Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia – $250,000)

The five main activities for the partnership include exchanging information with other manufacturers about innovation, introducing youth to careers in manufacturing, developing a pipeline of diverse workers, working with manufacturers to develop local supply chains, and exploring best practices for manufacturing training curriculums.

The Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG) (Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Philadelphia – $250,000)

The partnership plans to use its funds for employer outreach, technology education events for IT professionals, incumbent worker training, and youth career exploration activities including Girls’ Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology.

SOUTHWEST REGION

Emergency Medical and Community Health Industry Integration Partnership (EMCHIIP) (Armstrong, Somerset – $250,000)

The new partnership will use its grant funding for community outreach to increase awareness of training and employment opportunities in healthcare, convene network partners, develop strategy for enhancing current training and workforces, and pursue additional funding to support these goals.

Financial Service Industry Partnership of Allegheny County (Allegheny – $250,000)

The partnership will use an established training model to meet the talent needs of participating financial institutions and job seekers. The partnership will also develop a youth pipeline to connect young adults to the financial service industry and host a career fair opportunity for young adults interested in the industry.

Manufacturing Industry Partnership (Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Westmoreland – $250,000)

The partnership plans to hire a training coordinator who will work with United Steelworker employer partners to identify training needs, develop training and apprenticeship programs to address those needs, and support employers in expanding their use of existing apprenticeship programs. The partnership will also fund research into training best practices, industry and occupational skill needs, and the exploration of pre-apprenticeship programming to support those who face barriers to entering the field.

Southwest Corner Advanced Manufacturing Next-Gen Sector Partnership (Beaver, Greene, Washington – $144,000)

The partnership will use its grant funding for promoting local and regional careers in manufacturing, particularly to secondary and post-secondary students. Funding will also be used to focus on upgrading the skills of the current workforce through consortium-based training, which brings together at least two or more of the partnership’s employer partners who share similar training needs.

Southwest Corner Building and Construction Next-Gen Sector Partnership (Beaver, Greene, Washington – $250,000)

The partnership will use its grant funding to promote positive career opportunities in the building and construction industry by educating students and parents on post-high school opportunities that the industry has to offer and highlighting success stories. Funding will also be used to identify and employ recruitment strategies for qualified applicants into the trade occupations while expanding enrollment into trade apprenticeship programs. Finally, the partnership will focus on diversifying the qualified applicant pool by reaching out to women, people of color, and youth while hosting individual diversity, equity and inclusion events.

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Southwest Corner Healthcare Industry Partnership (Beaver, Greene, Washington – $250,000)

Partnership funding will be used for outreach, training and promotion of viable career pathways in the healthcare field, specifically on occupations that the healthcare partners in the region have identified as a high priority for their organizations. These occupations include registered nurses, certified nurse aides, lab technicians, and dietary aides, among others. Funding will also be used for exploration of methods to improve retention rates through partnership convening and sharing best practices.

Tri-County Agriculture Industry Partnership (Armstrong, Butler, Indiana – $125,000)

The partnership will use its grant funding for training and recruiting, as well as promoting agricultural careers by providing career awareness activities to K-12 students. Funds will be used to focus on building and supporting partnership capacity by educating community members and leaders regarding the agriculture industry in the local area and demonstrating regional collaboration through cross-county sharing of training opportunities and information.

Tri-County Health Care Industry Partnership (Armstrong, Butler, Indiana – $125,000)

The partnership will host employee-recognition events to improve retention, promote the healthcare career pathway by working with schools, hold job fairs to recruit new employees to the industry, and provide training for all levels of employees.

Tri-County Manufacturing Industry Partnership (Armstrong, Butler, Indiana – $125,000)

The main activity goals of the partnership are to promote the manufacturing career pathway, especially in schools. They will also work to recruit new employees through job fairs and will provide training to all levels of employees.

Westmoreland-Fayette Healthcare Industry Partnership (Fayette, Westmoreland – $126,237.21)

The partnership will use its grant to support activities related to convening industry partners to share best practices and identify challenges. The partnership will use funding to provide training for employees and seminars and workshops for employers. Funding will also be used for outreach to healthcare organizations and other community organizations and stakeholders.

Westmoreland-Fayette Manufacturing Industry Partnership (Fayette, Westmoreland – $165,364.71)

The partnership will use its grant to share best practices among industry partners, promote awareness of manufacturing careers and apprenticeship opportunities, train workers, engage other partner organizations and host employer seminars to provide insight on employee retention, new employee onboarding, recruitment methods, interviewing practices, and more.

CENTRAL REGION

South Central Construction Industry Partnership (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, York – $204,396.44)

The new partnership will use its grant funding for partnership start-up and convening regional partners to develop outreach strategies that focus on areas such as K-12 construction career pathway awareness, incumbent worker training focused on safety, retention, and employee mental health and well-being, hiring re-entrants, veteran recruitment, and identification of skills gaps.

South Central Manufacturing Industry Partnership (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, York – $250,000)

The partnership will use its funding to build a pipeline of diverse young individuals pursuing careers in manufacturing by promoting careers in the industry via social media, using the employer toolkit to support student and community engagement, providing training to address barriers in the workforce for non-English speakers in manufacturing, and building content for the regional manufacturing-specific career portal. Funding will also be used to promote connections among manufacturers in the region through  website updates, employer presentations at partnership meetings, and facility tours of the region’s manufacturing companies.

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South Central NextGen IT Industry Partnership (Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry, York – $250,000)

The partnership will use its grant funding for creating awareness and access to both employers and resources to increase a skilled workforce that can meet the current IT needs of the region. Funds will be used to build a communication infrastructure for employers, educators, and job seekers and to increase the talent pipeline. Funds will also be used to coordinate and convene partners for strategic planning to address current and future industry needs.

NORTHEAST REGION

Northeast Healthcare Industry Partnership (Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, Wyoming – $143,289)

The program will use its funding to convene partners and promote career pathways in healthcare for youth and adults by creating educational videos that can be used in the classroom to highlight the necessary skills, knowledge and training needed to have a career in the industry. Additionally, the partnership will host a regional healthcare career week that will expand awareness through career and recruitment events, social media campaigns and promotion of work-based learning opportunities such as job shadowing and internships along with non-traditional training models such as apprenticeships.

NORTHWEST REGION

North Central PA Healthcare and Social Assistance Next Gen Industry Partnership (Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter – $250,000)

The partnership’s main focus will be to create a marketing campaign that highlights careers in the healthcare and social assistance industries that will entice youth and other populations. The partnership will also create an internship program and develop a dream team that will emphasize high-priority occupations in the industries.

North Central PA Manufacturing Next Gen Industry Partnership (Cameron, Clearfield, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter – $250,000)

The partnership will create an internship program, form a marketing campaign that highlights career pathways in manufacturing, support educator-in-the-workplace programs, expand its manufacturing dream team to improve the talent pool, and continue its annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing video contest.

STATEWIDE

Opportunity for All Pennsylvania Construction Industry Partnership (Statewide – $250,000)

The partnership will use its funds to hire a project manager that will research and develop education materials on best practices around apprenticeship readiness, diverse pipelines, and local hire/community benefit agreements. They will also hold a statewide convening to highlight best practices within the industry and push to establish “Intro to the Trades” programs to diversify the pipeline to unionized construction jobs.

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