Governor Wolf’s Middle Class Task Force Holds Roundtable Discussion in Northwestern Pennsylvania

November 03, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf’s Middle Class Task Force met at Edinboro University in Erie County today to hear from northwestern Pennsylvanians about how to improve the lives of middle class workers and their families. The task force consists of leaders from business, labor, education and workforce development.

“The middle class families of Pennsylvania need to be heard – from our rural communities to our largest cities – to tell us about their experiences and how we can work together to create jobs that pay and support business expansion,” said Governor Wolf. “This task force has repeatedly heard from companies that cannot find skilled workers and people who cannot find jobs. Meetings like this are starting to bridge that divide by helping industry, workers, educators and workforce development leaders come together to offer solutions and share information.

“It is important the people of the northwest have a voice in this process as we develop recommendations to improve Pennsylvania’s middle class, help businesses and workers, and grow the economy.”

The governor appointed a diverse panel of four chairpersons to lead the task force:

  • Gene Barr, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO;
  • Rick Bloomingdale, AFL-CIO President;
  • Dr. Sue Mukherjee, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Assistant Vice Chancellor;
  • Susie Snelick, Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association Chairperson.

Local job seekers and students joined the business, labor, educators, and workforce development experts from the community for an open conversation at the meeting.

“Our American democracy has been one of upward mobility through hard work and, for generations, millions of Pennsylvanians have made a better life for themselves by going to college,” said Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Interim Chancellor Dr. Karen M. Whitney. “Colleges and universities are drivers of economic and social mobility that play a vital role in Pennsylvania’s economy—providing employers with highly skilled, highly educated employees. By working together with business and industry, we can provide the academic programs that match both employees needs and the interests of students. It’s a win-win for students and the Commonwealth.

“From our perspective, there is a compelling partnership between the 14 state universities and the Governor’s Middle Class Task Force as we all look for ways to better meet the needs of hardworking Pennsylvanians.”

This is the fourth of six regional meetings the task force is holding around the commonwealth. The recommendations will be presented to the governor later this year.

The Wolf administration is supporting the task force with representatives from the Departments of Community and Economic Development, Education, and Labor and Industry.

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