Governor Wolf Announces Nearly $3.5 Million in Strategic Innovation Grants to Help Boost Workforce Development in Pennsylvania

April 13, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today continued his commitment to providing workers with the training they need to get good, middle-class jobs by announcing the award of nearly $3.5 million in Reemployment Fund dollars to 16 Strategic Innovation projects across the commonwealth.

“These funds will help Pennsylvanians develop the job skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce by employing creative and inventive workforce development strategies,” Governor Wolf said. “Strategic Innovation grants allow for well-coordinated approaches between state and local partners to provide high quality services for both job seekers and employers, focusing particularly on increased employment opportunities for Pennsylvanians with barriers to employment.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry awarded the grants through Local Workforce Development Boards (LWDBs) across Pennsylvania. The grants encourage local creativity and innovation in establishing career pathways, expanding the state’s pipeline of workers, increasing opportunities for youth workers, engaging employers directly to ensure that the skills gap is being addressed, and strengthening data sharing across state agencies and workforce development partners.

Following is a list of Strategic Innovation grant winners and amounts awarded by LWDB:

Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board – A $135,240 grant was awarded to expand digital communication for the purpose of community engagement through four initiatives: an online regional Career Hub promoting work-based learning, a website for the region’s CareerLink® offices, an update to the Central PA Workforce Development Corporation’s website, and outreach materials.

Chester County Workforce Development Board – A $246,000 grant was awarded to address the needs of employers in the technology, energy/construction, and healthcare industries by providing access to incumbent worker training, increasing training opportunities and identifying students for tech internship opportunities.

Delaware County Workforce Development Board – A $200,539 grant was awarded to  expand and improve career pathways and Allied Health programs by developing a seamless noncredit-to-credit educational pathway approach.

Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board – A $122,883 grant was awarded to enable the establishment of career pathway opportunities in response to the documented needs of local employers with the health care/life sciences industry sector through a comprehensive mix of services, including pre-training orientation, occupational skills training, and on-the-job training opportunities.

Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board – A $246,000 grant was awarded to prepare program completers with skills essential for entry level machining positions for Lehigh Valley manufacturers.

Northern Tier Workforce Development Board – A $149,919 grant was awarded to individuals who have been disengaged from the workforce due to incarceration or other barriers to gain the skills and tools needed for successful employment.

Partner4Work – A $252,000 grant was awarded to prepare, train and place at least 30 low-income, primarily African-American, individuals in entry-level jobs in the construction trades and manufacturing sectors.

Partner4Work – A $190,926 grant was awarded to create a non-traditional pathway for students to earn industry-recognized credentials leading to further education, training, or work, focusing on low-income youth and other youth with barriers to employment.

Pocono Counties Workforce Development Board – A $220,905 grant was awarded to develop and implement a Medical Secretary Certificate Training Program, focusing on targeting populations with barriers to employment, and providing placement into entry-level medical secretary positions.

South Central Workforce Development Board – A $295,000 grant was awarded to expand the region’s pipeline of workers for the healthcare industry sector and improve the overall quality of care at long-term care facilities through pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, and other similar work-based learning experiences.

South Central Workforce Development Board – A $252,000 grant was awarded to provide elementary, middle, and high school students enhanced opportunities for exposure and exploration of aquaponics and other agriculture technology as part of the West Shore School District’s Science, Technology, Education and Math (STEM) program.

Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board – A $203,863 grant was awarded to provide intensive case management, workforce development services, and wrap-around support to ex-offenders and to develop a reintegration plan that supports success.

Team PA – A $239,964 grant was awarded to provide the opportunity for school districts to apply to one of the nine Intermediate Units for a mini-grant of $5,000-$10,000, focusing on career awareness and preparation, career acquisition, career retention and advancement, and entrepreneurship.

Tri-County Workforce Development Board – A $252,000 grant was awarded to promote manufacturing and health care career pathways in the community and provide Basic Industry Skills training (pre-apprenticeship) that leads to employment.

West Central Workforce Development Board – A $221,400 grant was awarded to educate youth and young adults about in-demand occupations and career pathways through business and industry career fairs, educator in the workplace programs, and paid work experiences in targeted industries.

Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Development Board – A $252,000 grant was awarded to provide controlled work experiences for individuals who have barriers to employment, create a larger pool of trained technicians for manufacturers, and assist small and medium-sized enterprises by providing parts for production runs.

“These grants will allow us to expand the state’s pipeline of workers for targeted industry sectors and establish pathways as a route for career advancement and development, which means increased employment opportunities for all Pennsylvanians,” said L&I Secretary Jerry Oleksiak. “Governor Wolf’s recognizes that developing opportunities for job training will result in a workforce of highly trained and skilled employees, which is why he is proposing a $50 million investment in workforce development funding with the PAsmart initiative.”

The new PAsmart workforce development initiative would improve coordination across commonwealth agencies and invest $7 million in apprenticeships, $25 million in STEM and computer science education, $10 million for innovative approaches to help students and workers get skills training for STEM and other in-demand careers, $5 million to employers and educators to partner on training, and $3 million to support Industry Partnerships.

For a full list of grantees and brief summaries is available on the department’s website.

For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.

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