Governor Wolf Announces New Funding to Prepare Northwest Pennsylvania Students for Manufacturing Careers

May 23, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of new funding for the West Middlesex Area School District to provide students with the skills they need to attain family-sustaining manufacturing careers after they graduate. The grant will come from Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative.

“Strengthening our workforce can only happen when we look at every stage of a Pennsylvania worker’s life – even before they graduate high school,” Governor Wolf said. “West Middlesex Area School District’s program is vital for getting students engaged with manufacturers and setting them up for successful manufacturing careers when they graduate. We’re proud to support a program like this that will bring young workers into the manufacturing workforce in Northwest Pennsylvania.”

The $105,731 grant will support the school district’s manufacturing co-op program that pairs students with local manufacturing companies. Students will gain working experience with the manufacturer, and upon graduation from the co-op program, will be offered a position within the company. For the first few years of the program, the school district plans to enroll five students each year, with the goal of increasing that number in the future. By providing students with key skills and working experience and placing them directly in the manufacturing workforce, this program will help bridge the age and skills gap facing many manufacturing businesses in Northwest Pennsylvania.

“The West Middlesex School District is thrilled to receive this financial support to assist our graduates in finding employment in our region with local manufacturing companies,” said Emily Clare, principal of West Middlesex Area School District. “We look forward to building partnerships that will help us revise curriculum to meet the needs of the local workforce. Thank you to the DCED for believing in our project; we are excited to get started.”

The Pennsylvania Manufacturing Training-to-Career grant is designed to provide funding for training programs to help unemployed and underemployed individuals, as well as those with barriers, to gain the skills they need to gain employment in the manufacturing sector. Eligible applicants include technical and trade schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations that develop new and innovative training programs and partner with two or more manufacturers.

The Training-to-Career grant is part of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative that was launched in October 2017. This initiative ensures that training leads not simply to any job, but to careers that provide higher pay and opportunities for advancement. Working with DCED’s strategic partners, including Industrial Resource Centers (IRCs), Pennsylvania’s colleges, universities, technical schools, and non-profit organizations, this initiative fosters collaboration and partnerships to accelerate technology advancement, encourage innovation and commercialization, and build a 21st century workforce.

In the 2019-2020 Executive Budget, Governor Wolf proposed the new Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) to provide workforce development opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. SWEAP will expand access to early childhood education, increase investments in schools and educators, and further partner with the private sector to build on the PAsmart initiative. Through SWEAP and PAsmart, the governor is calling for an additional $4 million to help Pennsylvania manufacturers train workers and $6 million to expand career and technical education for adults.

For more information about the Wolf Administration’s commitment to manufacturing, visit the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

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