WORKFORCE

In order to ensure that Pennsylvania can continue to boast a skilled and inspired workforce and remain competitive in the global market, the PA Chamber has made workforce development a cornerstone of its mission. We are working with policymakers to strengthen existing workforce development programs and ensure that the Commonwealth is fully developing and harnessing the talent, skills and capacities of its citizens.

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

To be successful in today’s global economy, Pennsylvania must develop and harness the talent, skills
and capacities of its citizens. Students must be prepared and workers must be able to adapt and
continually acquire the training and skills required in the modern workplace. Unfortunately, public
workforce development programs are too often based on out-of-date industrial models and not
designed to meet current and future needs.

Pennsylvania must establish a forward-thinking strategic approach to workforce development that
invests to create a workforce for emerging markets and opportunities. We must leverage our
incredible education system, labor, and natural resources to attract and connect businesses with a
workforce that provides better value than competing states. With the dramatic forces of change
driven by the 4th industrial revolution there is a real opportunity to provide a strong career for all
facets of our society.

A comprehensive and effective workforce development strategy must also focus on expanding the
talent pool by facilitating employment opportunities for those who are too often economically
marginalized, including reentrants, individuals with disabilities and veterans. Lawmakers, the
business community and other partners should also coordinate to reduce barriers to employment,
such as lack of transportation or affordable, quality childcare options.

Policymakers should undertake regular and thorough reviews of existing workforce development
programs to make sure each is achieving its objective at an acceptable cost-per-participant. These
reviews should include a cost-benefit analysis and always strive to reduce fragmentation and provide
more efficient delivery of services. Moreover, these reviews should be readily available to the
public.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Chamber supports:

  • The establishment of clear performance criteria and system-wide accountability standards for
    all public workforce training programs;
  • Regular monitoring of program administration and outcomes to assess efficacy and facilitate
    continual improvement of all existing public workforce training programs, as well as
    addressing any regulatory obstacles that prevent or inhibit ideal program implementation and
    operation;
  • Promotion of public-private partnerships and private sector educational and training
    programs, particularly apprenticeships and other innovative approaches to providing
    workplace experience and skill attainment opportunities, including internship and mentoring
    programs;
  • Efforts to promote vocational education programs and highlight the attractive career
    opportunities in these fields and their critical importance to communities and the economy;
  • Expanding and improving educational options in the technical fields and others that require
    some level of post-secondary education to help job-seekers meet the requirements for
    employers in the economy of today and in the future;
  • Systems that efficiently connect job seekers with job openings; particularly for those
    occupations where there are significant and growing opportunities;
  • Initiatives that help identify current and long-term community workforce needs,
    complemented by career programs that promote jobseekers towards stable living wage jobs;
  • Initiatives that educate job seekers on workforce needs that match their occupational
    interests, and the skills and education needed to access job opportunities; and
  • Encouraging policies that allow institutions of higher education to be nimble and efficiently
    react to market demands; as well as offer courses that align with workforce needs, such as
    online programs, that are structured to best facilitate participation from non-traditional
    students.

Commuter Services Provides Employers Access to Transportation Resources as a Workforce Development Strategy

November 23, 2021

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, workforce development has become an important topic of discussion as employers compete to fill open positions.  Transportation is one of the major barriers faced by individuals seeking work, and Commuter Services can be a vital tool to help provide transportation resources to both employers and employees.   Commuter […]

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Montgomery County-Based Almac Group to Create 300 New Jobs

November 09, 2021

Almac Group is expanding, and we are looking for motivated individuals to join our team. Almac is an exceptional, award winning, drug development solutions provider at the forefront of the pharmaceutical industry. We are an international company with over 6,000 highly skilled personnel worldwide and over 1,500 employees in Pennsylvania, with a U.S. headquarters in […]

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PA Chamber Urges Thoughtful, Inclusive Process for Developing Far Reaching Workplace Proposal

October 22, 2021 | Leslie Gervasio

PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf announcing a series of executive orders impacting employers and the workplace. “We appreciate the governor’s intent and urge his administration to solicit input from employers to help avoid unintended consequences. For example, requiring strict wage and benefit standards […]

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PA Chamber CEO Testifies at Senate Hearing on Workforce Crisis

August 02, 2021

Last Wednesday, the Senate Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee held a hearing covering the economic impact of the workforce shortage.  PA Chamber President Gene Barr joined the committee to share the voice of countless businesses across the Commonwealth that have been affected by this challenge.  A copy of Gene’s submitted testimony is available here. […]

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Department of Labor and Industry Issues UC Fraud Guidance

July 26, 2021

Responding to skyrocketing claims of Unemployment Insurance Fraud, the PA Department of Labor and Industry this week provided employers with helpful tips for reporting fraudulent claims.  When responding to a Notice of Claim Filed that you believe to be fraudulent, keep the following tips in mind: L&I does not need any of the person’s actual […]

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Highlighting the Cost of the Workforce Shortage on Business

July 19, 2021

Yesterday, PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr joined CBS21’s Ryan Eldredge on Face the State to discuss the most significant problems for business as Pennsylvania emerges from the pandemic economy.  Potentially the most critical issue: The current workforce crisis. Employers, already struggling to recover after pandemic-era restrictions, are increasingly facing an impediments to fully […]

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State & Federal Political Recap

July 12, 2021

Gov. Wolf Holds News Conference in Support of Minimum Wage Increase On Friday, Governor Tom Wolf joined Democratic members of the House and Senate, including House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton, in Philadelphia to again call for a raise in Pennsylvania’s minimum wage.  Without regard for the economic consequences of this proposal, Gov. Wolf has repeatedly […]

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Gov. Tom Wolf, top Dems push for hourly wage increase

July 12, 2021 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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PA Chamber Collaborates on Study Covering Childcare and the Workforce

July 12, 2021

Over the last 18 months, Pennsylvania employers and workers adapted to unprecedented challenges as shuttered schools and childcare facilities required typically full-time staff to care for their families on short notice. In recognition of these challenges, the PA Chamber teamed up with the PA Early Learning Investment Commission and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to […]

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Admin Code Officially Law, Codifies Repeal of Wolf Administration’s Overtime Rule

July 12, 2021

Governor Wolf opted to neither sign nor veto H.B. 336, the Administrative Code bill that is one of four bills accompanying the state budget passed in late June.  Without action by the governor, legislation passing the General Assembly becomes law after 10 days. Among the bill’s key provisions was a one-sentence entry worked out as […]

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Employer Survey Shows Business Interest in Assisting Workers with Childcare, Flexible Scheduling to Support Families

July 09, 2021 | Sam Denisco

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement upon the release of a joint report between the PA Chamber, PA Early Learning Investment Commission, and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on childcare and the workforce: “Families have long strived to balance work and raising children. This tension was […]

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PA Chamber Applauds Vote to Scrap Crippling Overtime Rule, Save Businesses

June 28, 2021 | Sam Denisco

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s vote to block an onerous final overtime rule that would have hurt Pennsylvania businesses: “The damage the Department of Labor and Industry’s Overtime Rule could have caused to Pennsylvania businesses cannot be overstated,” […]

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Businesses Need Employees. Reentry Citizens Need Jobs. PA DOC is Bridging the Gap

June 16, 2021

When you think of someone “doing time,” what image comes to mind? How do you think they spend their days? What type of person do you imagine who is a felon? The typical images we see on television and in the movies include gangs, working out with weights, inmates sitting in their cells, or notorious […]

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Cedar Crest College: Preparing the Next Generation of Workforce Leaders

June 09, 2021

Cedar Crest College is a small private, liberal arts institution primarily for women in Allentown, PA, that prepares students for life and work in an everchanging world. Cedar Crest has educated the next generation of leaders and learners since its founding in 1867. Immersed in its mission, the College delivers a powerful educational experience through […]

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PA Chamber: Workforce Shortage Slowing Economic Recovery

May 27, 2021 | Tricia Harris

HARRISBURG – PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding the current state of Pennsylvania’s workforce as employers experience challenges filling open positions: “As Pennsylvania begins to re-open, employers are reporting serious workforce shortages which are hindering the state’s economic recovery.  Over the past several months, we […]

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Editorial: More than one reason for unfilled job openings

May 18, 2021 | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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To be successful in today’s global economy, Pennsylvania must develop and harness the talent, skills
and capacities of its citizens. Students must be prepared and workers must be able to adapt and
continually acquire the training and skills required in the modern workplace. Unfortunately, public
workforce development programs are too often based on out-of-date industrial models and not
designed to meet current and future needs.

Pennsylvania must establish a forward-thinking strategic approach to workforce development that
invests to create a workforce for emerging markets and opportunities. We must leverage our
incredible education system, labor, and natural resources to attract and connect businesses with a
workforce that provides better value than competing states. With the dramatic forces of change
driven by the 4th industrial revolution there is a real opportunity to provide a strong career for all
facets of our society.

A comprehensive and effective workforce development strategy must also focus on expanding the
talent pool by facilitating employment opportunities for those who are too often economically
marginalized, including reentrants, individuals with disabilities and veterans. Lawmakers, the
business community and other partners should also coordinate to reduce barriers to employment,
such as lack of transportation or affordable, quality childcare options.

Policymakers should undertake regular and thorough reviews of existing workforce development
programs to make sure each is achieving its objective at an acceptable cost-per-participant. These
reviews should include a cost-benefit analysis and always strive to reduce fragmentation and provide
more efficient delivery of services. Moreover, these reviews should be readily available to the
public.

In addition, the Pennsylvania Chamber supports:

  • The establishment of clear performance criteria and system-wide accountability standards for
    all public workforce training programs;
  • Regular monitoring of program administration and outcomes to assess efficacy and facilitate
    continual improvement of all existing public workforce training programs, as well as
    addressing any regulatory obstacles that prevent or inhibit ideal program implementation and
    operation;
  • Promotion of public-private partnerships and private sector educational and training
    programs, particularly apprenticeships and other innovative approaches to providing
    workplace experience and skill attainment opportunities, including internship and mentoring
    programs;
  • Efforts to promote vocational education programs and highlight the attractive career
    opportunities in these fields and their critical importance to communities and the economy;
  • Expanding and improving educational options in the technical fields and others that require
    some level of post-secondary education to help job-seekers meet the requirements for
    employers in the economy of today and in the future;
  • Systems that efficiently connect job seekers with job openings; particularly for those
    occupations where there are significant and growing opportunities;
  • Initiatives that help identify current and long-term community workforce needs,
    complemented by career programs that promote jobseekers towards stable living wage jobs;
  • Initiatives that educate job seekers on workforce needs that match their occupational
    interests, and the skills and education needed to access job opportunities; and
  • Encouraging policies that allow institutions of higher education to be nimble and efficiently
    react to market demands; as well as offer courses that align with workforce needs, such as
    online programs, that are structured to best facilitate participation from non-traditional
    students.