Building a Stronger Workforce Key to PA Chamber’s “Bringing PA Back” Effort
Bringing Pennsylvania’s economy out of the devastating COVID-19 era will be a challenging, multi-year effort – but with this responsibility also comes an enormous opportunity to re-explore the ways in which we attract and retain investment in Pennsylvania. Our “Bringing PA Back” initiative is guided by taking a fresh look at the ways in which we can collectively improve our state’s competitiveness; expand upon the education and career opportunities available to every Pennsylvanian; and build a 21st century infrastructure that will cement our state’s status as a global economic leader.
Workforce development is central to these goals. Long before COVID-19 was reported in the Commonwealth – in fact, back in 2016 – the PA Chamber adopted this issue as a core tenet of our mission as it was one that Pennsylvania employers listed as their No. 1 top-of-mind concern, as a jobs skills gap still exists between the positions that are available and the qualifications that job seekers are able to offer.
Through our internal efforts and our support for bipartisan legislation, the PA Chamber embraces our role as a leader in closing the jobs skills gap and arming Pennsylvanians with the information and connections they need to forge a bright career path and become a part of our world-class, 21st century workforce.
During the 2019-20 legislative session, we were proud to support an occupational licensure bill that streamlines the process by which former, low-level offenders can train and obtain a license for a variety of careers. This builds on legislation the PA Chamber’s support was central to seeing through – a first-of-its-kind “Clean Slate” bill that allows non-violent former offenders from having their previous records sealed from public view, thereby giving them a chance at securing employment.
In 2021, our workforce development efforts are carrying over into our robust “Bringing PA Back” effort. Throughout this pandemic, Pennsylvania employers have continued to experience workforce challenges that are detrimental to our efforts to restore our economy. We are urging lawmakers this session to build on the achievements we’ve celebrated together through policies that will help students better prepare for a future career; facilitate upskilling opportunities for incumbent workers; and encourage those on the sidelines or who have lost their jobs through this pandemic to transition back to the workforce. All of these efforts will result in Pennsylvania being a more attractive option for businesses looking to grow and hire, and for individuals embarking on their careers or relocating.