In order to ensure that Pennsylvania can continue to boast a skilled and inspired workforce and remain competitive in the global marketplace, the PA Chamber has made workforce development a cornerstone of its mission in the 21st Century. To that end, we are working to close the jobs skills gap through an innovative partnership with the mikeroweWORKS Foundation to provide scholarships to deserving Pennsylvanians who are pursuing a rewarding career in the skilled trades. We also are encouraging policymakers to strengthen existing workforce development programs to make sure that the Commonwealth is fully developing and harnessing the talent, skills and capacities of its citizens.
Interview with PIA President CEO Suzanne Markel
Congratulations on landing the Number One spot in Forbes’s “Top Trade School” List! What is the energy level at the school — and with your students — after receiving this honor?
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO Gene Barr issued the following statement regarding Amazon’s decision to split its second headquarters between New York and northern Virginia.
In a recent webinar presented by the PA Chamber Education Foundation; Joe Harford, founder and president of cyber security company Reclamere, provided an overview of why the c-level must be involved in workforce to compete and remain in business.
Employers are reporting record high confidence in the state’s business climate, and are making investments in their facilities and workers that reflect this optimism. However, a jobs skills gap was listed for the first time as the biggest hurdle facing their business, and ongoing concerns about the state’s tax structure and rising healthcare rates still create barriers to economic opportunity. These indicators are among the responses from the PA Chamber’s 28th Annual Economic Survey, which was conducted in August 2018 by Susquehanna Polling and Research, a Harrisburg-based public opinion polling company.
High School Leverages Cross-Sector Partnerships to Train Students for 21st-Century Careers Recent reports from the Allegheny Conference on Community Development have examined an impending workforce shortfall and persistent skills gap that pose challenges to business growth in western Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh area high school Nazareth College and Career Prep is addressing these issues head-on through cross-sector partnerships that allow the school to equip its students with in-demand skills and connect them to future employers.
The recession, an aging workforce, and an increasing emphasis on high tech jobs have produced a shortage of skilled workers, particularly those in trades that require special training and certification. It is estimated that about 1 million skilled workers were fired or laid off during the recession, a number that still hasn’t been replaced. The National Electrical Contractors Association reports that approximately 10,000 electricians retire each year, with only an estimated 7,000 available to fill those positions - plumbers, carpenters, welders and other skilled trades face similar gaps, creating a potentially dangerous shortfall of qualified employees to replace workers who are retiring from skilled trade jobs.
The All Business podcast welcomes Dr. Maurice Flurie, CEO of Commonwealth Charter Academy. Commonwealth Charter Academy not only concentrates on fostering each students’ achievement, but also on the family – offering support and services so the family is integral to the learning environment!
Today I was inspired and motivated by second chances. I had the privilege of attending HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College's S.T.E.P. Academy graduation. The graduates were made up of a group of men and one woman who, in their past, maybe took a wrong turn, but were there now to make a right one. Who were ready to "step up" and make a better future for themselves and ready themselves with the tools they need to be successful in today's workforce.
“We need to create jobs!” This rally cry may be the most commonly-used phrase of elected officials and business leaders in the decade since the Great Recession, and it’s finally earned some vacation time. With the economy close to full employment, perhaps it’s time to shift our focus to the hard part: creating workers.
Last year, the PA Chamber Educational Foundation commissioned a study about the struggles facing Pennsylvania employers in terms of the quality of their workforce and the job candidates pool. The results showed what we’d long heard anecdotally — business owners in a position to hire were having a difficult time finding qualified job candidates with the skills necessary to fill these roles. We knew that closing this jobs skills gap wasn’t a problem that the business community could handle singularly, and that bringing attention to it meant doing something big. In this case, ‘big’ meant hosting a Workforce Summit last year that featured Executive Producer and Show Host Mike Rowe, best known as “the dirtiest man on TV” from the hit TV series Dirty Jobs, as the keynote speaker.
The skills gap is a multifaceted issue and a growing threat to employers’ competitiveness and financial well-being. The U.S. Department of Labor emphasizes that more jobs are open now — 6.2 million in June — than at any time since it began tracking this data in 2000.
Pennsylvania has a business problem. Tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians with a criminal conviction are being prevented from access to housing, education and, most importantly, work opportunities. And the cost is enormous. According to 2015 statistics from Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, connecting just 100 formerly convicted Pennsylvanians with jobs produces $55 million in earnings and yields $1.9 million in wage tax contributions over their lifetimes.
The PA Chamber Educational Foundation announced today that Customers Bank will donate $100,000 over the next five years to the PA Chamber’s innovative “Start the Conversation Here” workforce initiative. Customers Bank President and COO Richard Ehst – who also serves on the PA Chamber Board and as chair of the PA Chamber Educational Foundation – was instrumental in securing the funds for the donation.
To be successful in today's global economy, Pennsylvania must develop and harness the talent, skills and capacities of its citizens. Workers must be able to adapt and continually acquire the work practices and skills required by modern, flexible businesses. Unfortunately, public workforce development programs are too often based on out-of-date industrial models and not designed to meet current needs. Programs must also embrace a life-long approach to learning that is critical to the economic success of the Commonwealth.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry strongly encourages policymakers to undertake regular and thorough reviews of existing workforce development programs to make sure that each is part of achieving comprehensive, high quality results at an acceptable cost-per-participant. These reviews should include a cost-benefit analysis and an analysis of ways that excessive fragmentation of workforce development programs can be eliminated to provide more efficient delivery of services. Information from these reviews should be made readily available to the public. In addition, The Pennsylvania Chamber supports: