Gov. Wolf: SWEAP Will Build the Skilled Workforce That Pennsylvania Needs

May 08, 2019

Hershey, PA – Pennsylvania must continue to make smart investments in education and job training to create the most skilled and qualified workforce in the nation, Governor Tom Wolf today told the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association (PWDA).

During his remarks, the governor outlined his proposed Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP), the centerpiece of his 2019-20 budget. SWEAP is a bold and sensible plan to rebuild Pennsylvania’s economy and prioritize skills training from birth to retirement.

“The economy is thriving and there are more jobs than ever before, but our economy is changing and how we educate and train people must change with it,” said Governor Wolf.
“We’ve invested in schools and expanded science and technology education, apprenticeships and job training, but we must do more.

“My SWEAP plan will bring together businesses, labor unions, educators, students, parents, and adult workers like never before. By working together, we can train people to have the best education, skills, and qualifications to attract more good-paying jobs here and grow the state’s economy for everyone.”

The governor’s SWEAP plan builds on last year’s successful launch of the groundbreaking $30 million PAsmart initiative that is benefiting students and workers throughout the commonwealth.

The proposed PAsmart funding under SWEAP this year includes:
• $20 million to expand computer science and STEM education;
• $7 million to expand apprenticeships;
• $3 million to expand job training through Next Generation Industry Partnerships;
• $6 million to expand adult career and technical education programs;
• $4 million to expand Manufacturing to Career Training Grants.

Other SWEAP components would enable more children to attend high-quality child care; ensure kids are in school by age 6 and stay until age 18; modernize the minimum teacher salary to help address a teacher shortage; enable more teachers to visit local employers and bring the experience back to the classroom; and increase job training for low-income parents.

The governor has traveled the commonwealth to hear from business owners, industry leaders, and hardworking Pennsylvanians about how the Wolf Administration can help them thrive. In addition to proposing a minimum wage increase, other actions the governor has taken to close the skills gap and support manufacturing and new growth industries include:

Increasing registered apprenticeships by 21 percent since 2016 after launching the Apprenticeship Training Office. Pennsylvania now has nearly 17,000 registered apprentices
Establishing the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center that brings together commonwealth agencies and the private sector to address the skills gap, worker shortages, and other workforce challenges.
Starting the Manufacturing PA Initiative to support critical training in that important sector of the economy.
Modernizing job licensing requirements to remove barriers to employment so hardworking Pennsylvanians can enter careers of their choice.
Championing Clean Slate, a first of its kind law enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support that helps formerly incarcerated or arrested individuals get their lives back on track and find employment.
Joining the Skillful State Network, a nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation to emphasize the importance of skills so workers, particularly those without four-year college degrees, can get good jobs in the changing economy.

During his remarks to the 35th annual conference of the PWDA the governor thanked the members for their efforts to help job seekers connect with employers looking to hire.

The PWDA is a voice for the 22 local workforce development boards in Pennsylvania. It provides a clearinghouse for information, develops professional training, and partners with advocacy groups and service organizations in economic development, education, youth, human services, and vocational rehabilitation.

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