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.

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 Unfortunately, public workforce development programs are too often based on out-of-date industrial models and not designed to meet current needs.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:

  • The establishment of clear performance criteria and system-wide accountability standards for all government workforce training programs.
  • Regular monitoring and continual improvement of all existing government workforce training programs.
  • Efforts to eliminate the perceived educational bias against vocational education programs.
  • Efforts to expand and improve technical education in Pennsylvania to help job-seekers meet the requirements for employers' unfilled or prospective positions.
  • Proven strategies to increase the workforce pipeline for all employers.
  • Systems that more efficiently connect job seekers with job openings; particularly for those occupations where there are projected to be significant opportunities in employment needs.
  • Programs that serve as effective means to fill the skills gap in those occupations which require some post-secondary training and which are expected to grow more rapidly than lower skill jobs requiring less education.
  • Determining current and long-term community workforce needs and tailoring local programs accordingly.
  • Promotion of private sector educational and training programs as well as encouraging institutions of higher education to offer courses aligning with workforce needs.