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.

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.

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

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

Oct 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.

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Erie Voices: Child care is economic development

Erie Voices: Child care is economic development

Sep 2, 2021 | GoErie.com

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PA Chamber CEO Testifies at Senate Hearing on Workforce Crisis

PA Chamber CEO Testifies at Senate Hearing on Workforce Crisis

Aug 2, 2021 | Tristan Daedalus

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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Pennsylvania mask and vaccine outlook

Pennsylvania mask and vaccine outlook

Jul 29, 2021 | WJAC

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Department of Labor and Industry Issues UC Fraud Guidance

Department of Labor and Industry Issues UC Fraud Guidance

Jul 26, 2021 | Tristan Daedalus

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:

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Highlighting the Cost of the Workforce Shortage on Business

Highlighting the Cost of the Workforce Shortage on Business

Jul 19, 2021 | Tristan Daedalus

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 reopening— including $300 per week in federal pandemic assistance funds on top of standard unemployment compensation checks. With this money, the federal government is actively disincentivizing individuals from returning to work. Meanwhile, companies without workers are left to cancel orders, increase lead times, lose contracts and cut hours and services to stay afloat.

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

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

Jul 12, 2021 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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State & Federal Political Recap

State & Federal Political Recap

Jul 12, 2021 | Tristan Daedalus

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 called for the state's minimum wage to be raised to $15 per hour after an initial increase to $12.  The governor and advocates have also proposed eliminating the tipped credit system used primarily by the restaurant industry, which would force these small businesses to increase labor costs by 425 percent as they continue struggling to recover from the pandemic.

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PA Chamber Collaborates on Study Covering Childcare and the Workforce

PA Chamber Collaborates on Study Covering Childcare and the Workforce

Jul 12, 2021 | Tristan Daedalus

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.

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

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

Jul 12, 2021 | Tristan Daedalus

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.

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

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

Jul 9, 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:

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

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

Jun 28, 2021 | Sam Denisco

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:

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PA Chamber of Business and Industry issues statement on state work force

PA Chamber of Business and Industry issues statement on state work force

Jun 1, 2021 | Pennsylvania Business Report

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PA Chamber: Workforce Shortage Slowing Economic Recovery

PA Chamber: Workforce Shortage Slowing Economic Recovery

May 27, 2021 | Tricia Harris

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:

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Editorial: More than one reason for unfilled job openings

Editorial: More than one reason for unfilled job openings

May 18, 2021 | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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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: 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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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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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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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.