Governor Wolf Approves Funding to Help Berks County Job Seekers Overcome Work Barriers and Attain Manufacturing Careers

June 21, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Wolf announced the approval of new funding to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) to provide manufacturing career training to individuals with barriers, especially those for whom English is a second language. The new training program, developed using input from local manufacturers, will strengthen the area workforce and provide job seekers with the opportunity to attain reliable, good-paying careers in manufacturing.

“It’s so important that we train our workers – especially those with barriers – and give them the opportunity to get family-sustaining jobs in manufacturing,” Governor Wolf said. “This new program from the GRCA will provide those opportunities for workers while also expanding the talent pool for manufacturers in the area.”

The grant will provide $102,805 to GRCA to develop a new training initiative to help unemployed or underemployed individuals who face barriers – such as those who speak English as a second language – to gain employment with local manufacturers. Participating individuals will attend a comprehensive skill certification training program to increase their skill levels to meet the needs of manufacturers, providing local companies with qualified entry-level applicants who can fill positions of need. Through a defined series of courses over 10 weeks, 66 individuals will acquire both the critical business and adaptive skills desired by employers. Before employees can work on developing adaptive skills, individuals must master critical business skills including basic business math, effective work habits, time management, and customer service.

“This new training program will be transformative for our local workforce and manufacturers,” said Randy Peers, GRCA president & CEO. “The program is designed to empower participants with the enhanced language and adaptive skills that are necessary to thrive in the new manufacturing environment. We are changing lives while creating a pipeline of motivated prospective employees to help our local manufacturers succeed today and in the future.”

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.

This grant to the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance builds on the governor’s other efforts to promote manufacturing in Berks County such as a recently-approved grant to Reading Area Community College. Governor Wolf also recently announced other Training-to-Career grants to Workforce Solutions of North Central Pennsylvania, the Precision Manufacturing Institute, the Manufacturers Research Center, the Greater Johnstown Career & Technical Center and Robert Morris University.

The Training-to-Career grant is one of three components of Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative, along with Industrial Resource Centers and the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Innovation Program, 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.

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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