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. To that end, we are working to close the jobs skills gap through our dynamic “Start the Conversation HERE” initiative that is connecting students, educators and employers and informing them about in-demand jobs. We are also 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

Building a 21st Century Workforce

Workforce. It’s an issue that is central to the PA Chamber’s mission and one Pennsylvania employers list as their No. 1 top-of-mind concern – as a jobs skills gap exists between the positions that are available and the qualifications that job seekers are able to offer.

An issue that was first raised in our 2016 Workforce Survey, our most recent 29th Annual Economic Survey identifies workforce as the private sector’s leading concern. Since then, we’ve been proactive in tackling this issue - both through our internal “Start the Conversation HERE” initiative and through bipartisan legislation – to help close the jobs skills gap and arm more Pennsylvanians with the information and connections they need to forge a bright career path and collectively become a world-class, 21Mst century workforce.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania Prepares Teens for Jobs of the Future

Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania Prepares Teens for Jobs of the Future

Sep 23, 2020

For the past 130 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania has built a rich legacy of being one of the most comprehensive youth services providers in both Allegheny and Somerset counties by living out our mission to activate and advance the potential in every child by doing whatever it takes to ensure they have GREAT FUTURES.

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Community College of Allegheny County -- The Gateway to Regional Employment Opportunities

Community College of Allegheny County -- The Gateway to Regional Employment Opportunities

Sep 16, 2020

Workforce development and training aligned with 21st century demands is essential to enhancing the economic growth of the Greater Pittsburgh region. Over the past few years, as our aging workforce has started to retire, there has been a noticeable void of qualified individuals to fill the gaps. With certificate programs, continuing education credits and training programs quickly becoming the industry standard for education, the Community College of Allegheny County has positioned itself as the gateway to regional employment opportunities.

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Addressing the Talent Pipeline – How Penn College is Revolutionizing Apprenticeship Training to Close the Skills Gap

Addressing the Talent Pipeline – How Penn College is Revolutionizing Apprenticeship Training to Close the Skills Gap

Sep 9, 2020

In manufacturing and other applied technology sectors, a shortage of skilled workers has been a vexing and ongoing challenge for many years. Too few students pursue manufacturing-related career pathways, too few parents know enough about modern manufacturing and the associated opportunities to encourage that pursuit, and the existing workforce is short on the required skills to fill the needs of employers. Add the retirement of 10,000 baby boomers per day to the mix, and you have a perfect storm of skilled labor disconnect.

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Reading Area Community College is Preparing the Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Now

Reading Area Community College is Preparing the Next Generation Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Now

Sep 2, 2020

A frontrunner in Industry 4.0 training, the Schmidt Training and Technology Center, a dedicated facility at Reading Area Community College for advanced manufacturing technology in Reading, PA, is ready to position operators and technicians to be solely efficient and effective - no outsourcing.

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NuPaths: A Partner in Building Your IT workforce

NuPaths: A Partner in Building Your IT workforce

Aug 26, 2020

Information technology has become an integral part of every business, and employers need a workforce that is proficient in technology. Over the years, the need for technology skills has grown beyond just the IT department.  Due to this high demand, many employers no longer require a four year degree for technology roles that can be filled by candidates who have the specific skills and certifications to perform the job.

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Berks Connections/Pretrial Services Offer Successful Program to Help Reentrants Obtain Employment in the Construction Trades

Berks Connections/Pretrial Services Offer Successful Program to Help Reentrants Obtain Employment in the Construction Trades

Aug 12, 2020

Berks Connections/Pretrial Services has been in the Life Improvement Business serving the criminal justice population in Berks County for close to 45 years.  A lack of job training and opportunities for stable employment at a living wage present significant barriers to our clients’ reentry success. Lack of employment is not only a quality of life issue, but can also have serious implications on an individual’s likelihood to recidivate.

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 PA Chamber Educational Foundation Announces 2020 Work Ethic Scholarship Winners

PA Chamber Educational Foundation Announces 2020 Work Ethic Scholarship Winners

Aug 10, 2020 | Tricia Harris

The Pennsylvania Chamber Educational Foundation is proud to announce that 18 Commonwealth students have been awarded a total of $108,000 in mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarships. The selected students are attending technical schools located within the Commonwealth to pursue careers in the skilled trades.  As part of its ongoing commitment to address the Commonwealth’s job skills gap, the PA Chamber Educational Foundation has teamed up with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation for the past four years. 

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Licensing barriers removed for people with criminal records

Licensing barriers removed for people with criminal records

Jul 7, 2020 | Pennsylvania Business Report

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PA Chamber: New Occupational Licensure Law Will Help Address Workforce Challenges

PA Chamber: New Occupational Licensure Law Will Help Address Workforce Challenges

Jul 2, 2020 | Lindsay Andrews

PA Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement after Gov. Tom Wolf signed S.B. 637, legislation that helps Pennsylvanians with criminal records re-enter the workforce by reforming the process by which they can obtain an occupational license:

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Senate Judiciary Committee acts on comprehensive probation reform

Senate Judiciary Committee acts on comprehensive probation reform

Jun 26, 2020 | Scranton Times Leader

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PA Chamber: New Study Reveals Impact Inadequate Childcare Options Have on Pennsylvania’s Workforce, Economy

PA Chamber: New Study Reveals Impact Inadequate Childcare Options Have on Pennsylvania’s Workforce, Economy

Feb 28, 2020 | Tricia Harris

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today released a report examining the impact of childcare issues on Pennsylvania’s state economy. The report is part of a broader “Untapped Potential” study of four U.S. states – Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania – that reveals the cost of childcare challenges in each state and provides opportunities to unlock economic potential for states and employers.

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Fair Chance Licensing Strengthens our Workforce

Fair Chance Licensing Strengthens our Workforce

Feb 24, 2020 | Lindsay Andrews

In this era of partisan bickering, it often seems as if there is little Republicans and Democrats can accomplish. But despite all the gridlock reported in media headlines, the Pennsylvania State Senate recently approved my bill, S.B. 637, by a unanimous vote.  Their strong support for the legislation further underscores an emerging bipartisan consensus towards commonsense criminal justice reform that facilitates former inmates’ successful re-entry into our workforce and communities.

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DHS: Empowering Disadvantaged Pennsylvanians to Support a Vibrant Workforce

DHS: Empowering Disadvantaged Pennsylvanians to Support a Vibrant Workforce

Feb 24, 2020 | Lindsay Andrews

By Secretary Teresa Miller

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Academy to host ribbon cutting for welding facility

Academy to host ribbon cutting for welding facility

Feb 22, 2020 | Lewistown Sentinel

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Flagger Force: Partnerships to Grow a Skilled Workforce

Flagger Force: Partnerships to Grow a Skilled Workforce

Feb 14, 2020

Mandatory infrastructure upgrades are forcing contractors and utilities to rapidly increase work capacity. However, this is completely dependent upon companies having the trained staff available to tackle a growing list of projects. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Pennsylvania alone needs to add about 137,000 construction workers by 2021 in order to keep up with demand. Not only does this require hiring new employees, but also retaining and developing them to keep pace with the needs of the nation’s infrastructure.

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Light a Spark

Light a Spark

Feb 11, 2020

STEM careers continue to grow with 75% of the fast-growing occupations over the next 10 years requiring significant preparation in math and science.  With women making up less than 25% of the STEM workforce, we must help young girls, especially those possibly suppressing their interest in STEM classes, see themselves in those jobs

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PA Chamber Launches Career Calculator to Help PA Students Maximize Career Options

PA Chamber Launches Career Calculator to Help PA Students Maximize Career Options

Jan 16, 2020 | Tricia Harris

The Pennsylvania Chamber Educational Foundation is proud to launch "Your Career Starts HERE" – an online career calculator aimed at helping Pennsylvania students make informed post-secondary education decisions.  As the next phase of the PA Chamber’s wide-ranging workforce initiative aimed at addressing the jobs skills gap, Start the Conversation HERE, the calculator pulls key Pennsylvania specific information – including starting salary, educational costs and potential loan payments upon graduation.  This new website tool is designed to help Pennsylvania students determine the most productive career path.

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Bipartisan efforts further career readiness in Pa.

Bipartisan efforts further career readiness in Pa.

Nov 6, 2019 | Lancaster Online

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What’s WORKING at Pennsylvania College of Technology?

What’s WORKING at Pennsylvania College of Technology?

Oct 10, 2019

Tucked away in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania College of Technology is building a career-ready workforce.  As a special mission affiliate of Penn State, Penn College has advanced to become a nationally ranked, premier technical institution where a Penn College degree—combining a comprehensive education with hands-on experience using advanced technologies—is a considerable advantage in the world of work.  With a history of innovation and flexibility to meet emerging, real-world needs, the institution is positioned to attain even greater levels of success.

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PA Chamber: Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Funds Awarded to Pennsylvania Students Pursuing Careers in the Skilled Trades

PA Chamber: Thousands of Dollars in Scholarship Funds Awarded to Pennsylvania Students Pursuing Careers in the Skilled Trades

Aug 20, 2019 | Tricia Harris

The Pennsylvania Chamber Educational Foundation is proud to announce that 24 Commonwealth students have been awarded a total of $75,000 in mikeroweWORKS Work Ethic Scholarships. The selected students are attending technical schools located within the Commonwealth to pursue careers in the skilled trades.  As part of its ongoing commitment to address the Commonwealth’s job skills gap, the PA Chamber Educational Foundation has teamed up with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation for the past three years. 

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How I See It: Where Criminal Justice and the Workforce Intersect

How I See It: Where Criminal Justice and the Workforce Intersect

Aug 6, 2019 | Lindsay Andrews

Vincent readily admits he was immature in his early 20s, a time when he was partying and convicted of driving under the influence, making false statements to police and retail theft.

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AHEDD: A Resource to Find and Keep Diverse Talent

AHEDD: A Resource to Find and Keep Diverse Talent

Aug 5, 2019 | Lindsay Andrews

Businesses that employ people with disabilities not only fill available labor needs, but often realize additional benefits and business opportunities. Employees with disabilities often assist companies in reaching NEW markets, suggesting product and process improvements, improving an organization's turnover rates and much more.

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SCCTC adds CDL training program

SCCTC adds CDL training program

Jul 24, 2019 | Susquehanna County

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New CDL program at CTC to help business needs in NEPA

New CDL program at CTC to help business needs in NEPA

Jul 24, 2019 | Scranton Times-Tribune

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SCCTC launches CDL training program

SCCTC launches CDL training program

Jul 24, 2019 | Wyoming County Examiner

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Pennsylvania starts automatic sealing of some criminal files

Pennsylvania starts automatic sealing of some criminal files

Jun 30, 2019 | Indiana Gazette

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Series of criminal justice reforms gaining steam in Pennsylvania

Series of criminal justice reforms gaining steam in Pennsylvania

Jun 7, 2019 | The Center Square

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Job’s for America’s Graduates

Job’s for America’s Graduates

May 22, 2019 | Lori K. Renne

Our recent All Business podcast takes us back to school where we are talking to Dr. Ruth Patterson at Olney Charter High School in Philadelphia about their JAG program—Job’s for America’s Graduates.  Listen in and learn how this program is teaching students employability skills and increases their workforce opportunities, all while reducing poverty and unemployment.

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Help former inmates get jobs

Help former inmates get jobs

May 10, 2019 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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PA Chamber Hires New Workforce Development Executive to Expand Workforce Efforts

PA Chamber Hires New Workforce Development Executive to Expand Workforce Efforts

May 3, 2019 | Tricia Harris

The PA Chamber of Business and Industry is proud to announce an expansion of its far-reaching workforce development efforts with the hire of Allen Norton as the organization’s first workforce development executive.

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How Military Veteran Partners is Generating More Veteran Employment Opportunities

How Military Veteran Partners is Generating More Veteran Employment Opportunities

Apr 29, 2019

Around 60 percent of veteran-owned businesses have experienced at least one financial shortfall, according to a recent report on veteran entrepreneurs. Beyond that, 75 percent of veteran entrepreneurs who were surveyed said that a lack of social capital — networks, mentors and other experts — was their biggest challenge to starting and growing their business.

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The Challenge Program Inc.:  Meeting Workforce and Education Needs in Allegheny County

The Challenge Program Inc.: Meeting Workforce and Education Needs in Allegheny County

Feb 13, 2019

Since 2010, national and regional studies have been ringing the bell about a shortage of skilled and qualified employees coming our way. The future is now here.

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In Centre County, business and education are joining forces to resolve to address local workforce needs

In Centre County, business and education are joining forces to resolve to address local workforce needs

Jan 10, 2019

With the goal of building a better local and regional workforce, the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and the county’s educational leaders have joined forces to begin addressing the workforce needs of employers across industry sectors.

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An inside look at Forbes Magazine No. 1 Trade School: Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics

An inside look at Forbes Magazine No. 1 Trade School: Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics

Nov 19, 2018

Interview with PIA President CEO Suzanne Markel:
Congratulations on landing the Number One spot in Forbes’s “Top Trade School” List! What is the energy level at the school — and with your students — after receiving this honor?

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Workforce and The C-Suite:  Why Senior Leadership Needs To Be At The Helm

Workforce and The C-Suite: Why Senior Leadership Needs To Be At The Helm

Oct 25, 2018

In a recent webinar presented by the PA Chamber Education Foundation; Joe Harford, founder and president of cyber security company Reclamere, provided an overview of why the c-level must be involved in workforce to compete and remain in business. 

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Nazareth Prep: Bridging the Education-to-Employment Skills Gap

Nazareth Prep: Bridging the Education-to-Employment Skills Gap

Aug 23, 2018

High School Leverages Cross-Sector Partnerships to Train Students for 21st-Century Careers Recent reports from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development have examined an impending workforce shortfall and persistent skills gap that pose challenges to business growth in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh area high school Nazareth College and Career Prep is addressing these issues head-on through cross-sector partnerships that allow the school to equip its students with in-demand skills and connect them to future employers.

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Millennials to Benefit from the Loss of Skilled Tradesmen

Millennials to Benefit from the Loss of Skilled Tradesmen

Aug 20, 2018

The recession, an aging workforce, and an increasing emphasis on high tech jobs have produced a shortage of skilled workers, particularly those in trades that require special training and certification. It is estimated that about 1 million skilled workers were fired or laid off during the recession, a number that still hasn’t been replaced. The National Electrical Contractors Association reports that approximately 10,000 electricians retire each year, with only an estimated 7,000 available to fill those positions - plumbers, carpenters, welders and other skilled trades face similar gaps, creating a potentially dangerous shortfall of qualified employees to replace workers who are retiring from skilled trade jobs.

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Commonwealth Charter Academy Focused on Filling Workforce Needs

Commonwealth Charter Academy Focused on Filling Workforce Needs

Jul 23, 2018

The All Business podcast welcomes Dr. Maurice Flurie, CEO of Commonwealth Charter Academy.  Commonwealth Charter Academy not only concentrates on fostering each students’ achievement, but also on the family – offering support and services so the family is integral to the learning environment! 

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A first look at second chances

A first look at second chances

Jan 16, 2018 | Lori K. Renne

Today I was inspired and motivated by second chances. I had the privilege of attending HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College's S.T.E.P. Academy graduation. The graduates were made up of a group of men and one woman who, in their past, maybe took a wrong turn, but were there now to make a right one. Who were ready to "step up" and make a better future for themselves and ready themselves with the tools they need to be successful in today's workforce.

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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 needs.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry strongly encourages policymakers to 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;
  • Efforts to eliminate bias against vocational education programs;
  • 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;
  • Determining current and long-term community workforce needs, tailoring local programs accordingly and creating nimble systems that can react in a timely way to market demands;
  • Promotion of public-private partnerships and private sector educational and training programs, such as apprenticeships and other innovative approaches to providing workplace experience and skill attainment opportunities; and
  • Encouraging institutions of higher education to offer courses that align with workforce needs, such as online programs, that are structured to best facilitate participation from non-traditional students.