BLOG: Creating and Maintaining Jobs That Pay in Pennsylvania
By: Kathy Manderino, Secretary of Labor & Industry
January 25, 2016
During my first year as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, I was privileged to meet with business owners and workers across Pennsylvania on Governor Tom Wolf’s “Jobs That Pay” tour.
My department is all about jobs.
We house the state’s Bureau of Workforce Development; serve as a government liaison with community colleges and technical schools and workforce investment areas; and house the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, and the Office of Unemployment Compensation. When we are not helping people find or train for jobs, we are helping them through difficult periods of unemployment due to layoff or injury.
So, in my role as L&I cabinet secretary, this tour allowed me to recognize the efforts of employers and workers, and to listen and learn about the opportunities available to those looking for jobs.
Most importantly, I brought back what I heard on the tour to help shape our workforce development programs to help people get jobs that pay in Pennsylvania.
Here are some of our successes over the past year:
Investing In Our Workforce
L&I received a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund for the development of micro-credentials in the state’s workforce development system. Micro-credentials are stackable credentials that showcase a job-seeker’s skills, knowledge, or experience to potential employers. They can come in the form of certificates or other benchmark notices and can be attained in much less time than a typical associate’s or bachelor’s degree. We are offering these micro-credentialing programs through our local workforce investment areas and PA CareerLink offices.
Encouraging Youth Summer Jobs
L&I received $7.5 million in combined federal and state funding to pilot two summer youth employment programs focused on low-income youth. These pilots helped youth age 16 and older in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions learn about the world of work and the myriad education and career opportunities available to them in Pennsylvania as they leave high school in a few short years.
Continuing the Great Work at OVR
Our Office of Vocational Rehabilitation’s efforts served more than 8,700 people with disabilities in 2015.
Developing Worker Skills
More than 6,500 people were trained for specific jobs in Pennsylvania in 2015. Many of these trainings were the result of a collaborative effort of the local workforce investment areas to devise strategies to help the long-term unemployed. Jobs that pay mean jobs for everyone.
As a result of our conversations with the trades – carpenters, electricians, welders, sheet metal workers – and learning of the many career opportunities available to young people in these fields, L&I is in the process of establishing an Office of Apprenticeship and Training. The office will provide a renewed focus on apprenticeships and to help to create new apprentice programs in nontraditional occupations for nontraditional demographics.
This is all in an effort to continue to provide jobs that pay.
Another Great Year Ahead
L&I’s programs to help job seekers find meaningful employment, along with many of Governor Wolf’s other jobs initiatives, have demonstrated that 2015 was full of good news for the state’s economy.
At 5 percent, our unemployment rate is tied with that of the nation. Our jobs growth reached a record-high in October 2015.
I am confident that we will continue to see businesses – and jobs that pay – coming to and growing within Pennsylvania.
Read more agency year in review blog posts.
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