Governor Wolf: New Funding Will Help Close Manufacturing Workforce Gap in the Erie Region

May 01, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of new funding for the Erie Regional Manufacturer Partnership (ERMP) to support WorkAdvance, a short-term job training program that will address the needs of manufacturers and create a job-ready workforce in the Erie County region. The grant will come from Governor Wolf’s Manufacturing PA initiative.

“Our administration reaffirms its commitment to support programs like WorkAdvance to provide manufacturers with a stronger pipeline of workers and create pathways to family-sustaining jobs in the manufacturing industry,” Governor Wolf said. “ERMP’s program will provide manufacturers with a larger pool of entry-level talent and workers with greater opportunities for career advancement.”

The grant will provide $200,000 to ERMP, which will partner with the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College, NWPA Job Connect/PA, CareerLink, Northwest Industrial Resource Center, Greater Erie Community Action Committee, and the Erie county Career Pathway Alliance to offer WorkAdvance. WorkAdvance is a manufacturing training program that includes foundational career coaching, workplace and technical skills training, and employment placement assistance.

The program will include both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Participants will earn a paycheck as they go through the course. ERMP has a goal of recruiting and training three cohorts of 10 participants. Area manufacturers involved include American Turned Products, Custom Engineering, Econ Concrete & Steel, Erie Press Systems, Erie Strayer, Eriez Magnetics, FMC Technologies, GE Transportation, Industrial Sales & Mfg., Knox Western, Lord Corporation, Machining Concepts Inc., Maple Donuts, McInnes Rolled Rings, Modern Industries, PSB Industries, Reddog Industries/PHB Incorporated, and Zurn Industries.

“Manufacturing remains a strong contributor to Erie’s regional economy. The ERMP promotes collaboration amongst manufacturers, educators, workforce development professionals, and other leaders to align efforts and create a mechanism for ongoing dialogue,” said John Stull, chair and president of ERMP. “This funding will help strengthen the talent pipeline, filling openings with an increased sense of urgency. We would like to thank Governor Wolf for this opportunity and support to continue ERMP’s mission to develop highly trained, skilled and credentialed prospects for employment 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.

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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