Governor Wolf Reaffirms Commitment to Good Jobs, Skilled Workforce in Second Term

January 07, 2019

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf is working to create family-sustaining jobs and bring businesses to the commonwealth. With new and innovative investments in job training, apprenticeships, and partnerships with the private sector, the state is preparing workers for good jobs in growing careers that will strengthen our economy.

Today, the governor joined government, labor and business leaders at the Iron Workers Local Union No. 3 in Pittsburgh and pledged to continue investing in Pennsylvania’s workers during his second term.

“Businesses are growing, and they need a well-educated and skilled workforce. We’re listening to workers and employers and investing in education and job training for careers in high demand,” said Governor Wolf. “We’re building a workforce for the 21st century that will help business expand and thrive, create good jobs and build a stronger economy for everyone.”

During the last four years, Governor Wolf has prioritized middle class jobs and supported high growth industries with a number of significant improvements, including:

  •  Launching PAsmart, a new and innovative approach that is investing $30 million in science and technology education, job training, and apprenticeships in expanding fields.
  • Creating the Manufacturing PA initiative to support manufacturing and link job training in these good-paying careers.
  • Launching the Office of Apprenticeship and Training to help businesses create apprenticeships for more workers can earn a paycheck while getting hands-on job skilled.
  • Increasing the number of registered apprentices by 27 percent to nearly 17,000 and the boosting registered apprenticeship programs to 725.
  • Overhauling outdated overtime rules so nearly half-a-million people are paid fairly for their hard work.
  • Eliminating burdensome business taxes such as the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.
  • Elevating the Workforce Development Board, the governor’s private sector policy advisors, to recommend improvements to public services and investments in education, career readiness, job training programs and collaboration among state agencies.

During the governor’s first term, Pennsylvania added 239,500 jobs, setting an all-time record with more than 6 million jobs. The state added more than 12,010 new businesses establishments.

At the same time, the unemployment rate dropped by 1.2 percent, to a near record low. The number of initial unemployment compensation claims declined significantly from 152,455 in December 2014 to 91,977 in December 2018.

The governor will build on that progress by continuing to fight for job training and workers, including to:

  • Make strategic investments in job training to produce highly skilled employees with in-demand careers with family sustaining wages.
  • Raise Pennsylvania’s minimum wage above $7.25, as 29 states, including all of our surrounding states, have done for workers. The governor raised the wage floor for employees under his jurisdiction to no less than $12 an hour on July 1, 2018. The rate rises by 50 cents a year until reaching at least $15 per hour in 2024.
  • Support efforts to combat the gender wage gap, as the governor did for state workers. State agencies no longer require a person’s salary history during the hiring process.
  • Support the creation of an additional 15,000 jobs with the creation of a Shell Cracker Plant in Western Pennsylvania and investment in the Port of Philadelphia.

“We will continue to invest in the workers of Pennsylvania to create a highly-trained and highly-skilled workforce,” said Governor Wolf. “We will grow Pennsylvania’s economy with strong communities that help workers of all ages to get good jobs, attract dynamic employers to our state, and create more jobs that will support a family.”

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