Gov. Wolf, State Leaders Look to Bolster Pennsylvania Workforce

Members of the Workforce Command Center say there are five main points keeping people from working. They also gave 42 recommendations to overcome those barriers.

Governor Tom Wolf is looking to strengthen Pennsylvania’s workforce. That’s why he created the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center in February 2019. Today, the group released its first report, highlighting five barriers keeping the workforce from growing, and recommendations to overcome them.

“In creating the command center, we have taken a public-private vehicle to drive a common vision across our workforce systems to ensure Pennsylvania’s economic vitality well into the future,” says Ryan Unger, President and CEO of Team Pennsylvania.

Members of the Workforce Command Center say there are five main points keeping people from working. These include: access to affordable child care, job training, or transportation to work, difficult occupational licensing requirements, and challenges for people re-entering the workforce from the criminal justice system. Leaders say this is keeping companies from hiring the skilled workers they deserve.

“As good as our economy at the national and state level has been, it’s our view that it can be better and is being held back by the fact our employers cannot find enough people to fill the jobs that are available,” says Gene Barr, President of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry.

The Workforce Command Center made a list of 42 recommendations to address these barriers. Several each were made to the Wolf Administration, the General Assembly, and the private sector. Next week during his budget address, the Governor will ask for 14 million dollars in this year’s budget to be designated toward supporting these recommendations.

“By bringing together representatives of the state, business leaders, and workforce development groups, we’ve been able to identify the most effective and productive ways to build the best workforce in the nation,” Governor Wolf explains.

The full report, along with the list of 42 recommendations, can be found here.