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. 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.
One of our more well-known advocacy achievements in the workforce arena was the enactment of “Clean Slate” legislation -- a first-of-its-kind law that allows low-level, non-violent offenders to have their previous records sealed from public view, thereby giving them a better chance at securing employment. Last fall, the governor also signed Act 76 of 2019, another bipartisan effort the PA Chamber supported that incorporates a number of different workforce development proposals to expand information available to students and help them better prepare for their post-secondary education.
We’re also supporting a number of other important workforce development bills in the 2019-20 session that aim to expand the scope of people who have the information and opportunity to enter into a job in their chosen field. These include bills that would reform Pennsylvania’s occupational licensing process to help applicants with a criminal record avoid rejection when applying for a state-issued occupational license; encourage workforce investment boards to include representatives from career and technical schools; strengthen the line of communication between educators, employers and students about in-demand jobs; and more.
In addition, the PA Chamber recently launched a career calculator website tool that is designed to help Pennsylvania students determine their return on investment for entering into a number of fields, so they can head down the most rewarding career path.
We encourage you to visit our workforce website to read up on our mission and our successes thus far; and learn how you can help be a part of the skills-gap solution.
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:
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.
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.
By Secretary Teresa Miller
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.
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
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.
Workforce development and addressing the Commonwealth’s jobs skills gap continue to be a major focus for the business community. As a cornerstone of the PA Chamber’s mission, our organization – through our Start the Conversation Here initiative – has been working to bridge the gap between Pennsylvania employers’ current and future employment needs and the skills of today’s workforce. Pennsylvania’s diverse employment needs across a wide range of industries provide ample job opportunities. However, the state continues to have people without jobs and job opportunities without the people with the skills to fill them. Despite the good paying, in-demand careers that the skilled trades provide, they still tend to get overlooked by students and their families.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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: