News Archive: December 2009
Labor and Industry Secretary Announces Million Dollar Grant
Lancaster: On Monday, December 14, 2009, PA Secretary of Labor and Industry Sandi Vito along with Senator Mike Brubaker and Senator Lloyd Smucker announced an award of funding in the amount of $990,000 from the Industry Partnership program of the Commonwealth to support Industry Partnerships in Lancaster County.
In Lancaster County, this funding supports the operation of the Center of Excellence in Production Agriculture, the Center of Excellence in Renewable Energy, the Center of Excellence in Long-Term Care Practice, the Center for Manufacturing Excellence, and the Industrial Maintenance Training Center of Pennsylvania along with incumbent worker training in agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and health care. Last year, Industry Partnerships in Lancaster County engaged nearly 430 employers and trained 2,933 incumbent workers using almost $1.6 million in state training money at an average of just over $564 per trainee.
There are more than 70 Industry Partnerships around the state with local workforce investment boards working with industries ranging from renewable energy to advanced manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and health care. Pennsylvania is a model for these so-called "sector" projects nationwide.
Twenty-Three Graduate from Latino Empowerment Program
Lancaster: Twenty-three Lancastrians graduated from the Latino Empowerment Program during a ceremony held at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in the evening on Friday, December 11.
Frances Rodriguez, Chair of the Lancaster County Latino Coordinating Committee, and Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, welcome those being honored to the evening. Amadi Ramon, mechanical engineer at ATK Mission Systems in Elkton, MD and a graduate of J.P. McCaskey High School and Millersville University, shared his story and encouraged graduates to turn disappointments into opportunities. Class members, Jessica Castro and Jose Frayre, recounted their experience during the seven week course and challenged themselves and their classmates to be the leaders at home, at work, and in the community that they can become. Norman Britol-Colon, Executive Director of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, also congratulated and challenged the graduates to fulfill the expectations that they taken on as participants in this program. Ms. Rodriguez suggested that these graduates are starting an epidemic (a concept used in a class text, The Tipping Point) that needs to spread throughout our community.
Graduates included Olga Aponte-Texidor, Maria Arredondo, Jessica Castro, Kristi Colon, Miguel Cuevas, Ivonne Diaz, Jose Frayre, Luz Garcia, Noemi Garcia, Emma Gutierrez, Letitia Hernandez, Elise King, Miguel Mercado, Ileana Miller, Madelin Nazario, Wilfredo Pagan, Leticia Paredes, Joaquin Plaza, Emma Rodriguez, Edwin Salgado, Annabelle Sanchez, Maribel Serrano, and Angel Suliveras.
The Alcoa Foundation supports this program whose mission is to empower Latino leaders at home, at work, and in the community.
WIB Executive Director Appears on Smart Talk
Harrisburg: Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, was a guest on Smart Talk, a weekly public affairs program, on WITF on December 11. Sheely joined Bill George, President of the PA AFL-CIO; Dr. Matthew Woessner, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Penn State Harrisburg; and Dr. Mark Price, Labor Economist with the Keystone Research Center along with host Nell McCormack Abom to discuss the proposals of the Obama Administration to encourage job growth. Click here to see more information on the program.
In the midst of a lively policy debate by George and Woessner, Sheely talked about the low rate of entrepreneurial activity that seems to make this recession different than others. "Entrepreneurs typically turn to the equity in their personal homes as the first source to capitalize new ventures but this recession has also seen falling home values and resulting tight credit," he commented. Also, Sheely spoke to the investments in upskilling the dislocated workforce that have been made through the public workforce system. "These investments will pay off in a couple of years as we see our companies being able to maintain their competitivenss in the global economy as a result for their reskilled workforce."
For information on the effects of Stimulus spending in Lancaster County, click here.
Getting Ex-Offenders Back to Work, Topic of Tenth Workforce Summit
Lancaster: On Thursday, December 10, the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board sponsored its Tenth Annual Workforce Summit at a morning meeting at the Eden Resort Inn in Lancaster. The Summit offered a report to the community on the efforts of the Board and its partners at the Re-Entry Management Organization, the Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole Services, the Lancaster County Prison, and the PA CareerLink of Lancaster County to provide more employment opportunities to persons who have been involved with the criminal justice system. Click here for a downloadable program.
Commissioner Scott Martin welcomed the attendees. Martin Wubbolt, Manager of the Ready2Work program of the PA Career Link of Lancaster County; Charlies Byers, an Instructor at the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology; Nick Russo, an Instructor at the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center; and Todd Blankenstein, a Probation Officer from Job Court, talked about programs that work for ex-offenders. Three program participants - DeVon Wright, Derrick Lewis, and Angel Matthews - who have been or are being successful in making the transition from prison to work shared their experiences. A panel moderated by Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Board and Chair of the Lancaster County Re-Entry Management Organization, with Lori Rank, Adminstrator of the PA CareerLink of Lancaster County; James Laughman, County Human Services Lead; Vincent Guarini, Warden of the Lancaster County Prison; Mark Wilson, Director of Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole Services; and Judge David Workman who presides over Job Court provided their insights and reaction.
All of those involved agreed that finding employers who are willing to work with ex-offenders is the most important component to getting people back to work. Sheely announced that the Workforce Investment Board, The Lancaster Chamber, the County of Lancaster, and the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County will be holding a Job Summit in spring 2010 to further address the issue of job growth.
In addition, Sheely present the annual State of the Workforce report which this year used data through the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 to document the beginning of the recent recession. He predicted stronger hiring in the first and second quarter of 2010 with job growth continuing to be slow for the next 24 months. Click here to download the report.
Also, the Board honored its Friend of Workforce recipients. Mayor Rick Gray; Christine Hertnecky and William Montani as well as the RR Donnelley Foundation; Mark Moosic and the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square; Charles Byers from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology; and Lisa Touchton from Arbor Education were recognized as Friends of Workforce and thanked for their contribution to the workforce system in Lancaster County.
Paper by Lancaster County WIB Director Published Online by EMSI
Moscow, ID: Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. included a paper written by Executive Director Scott Sheely entitled "Developing the Right Industry Focus" in its online Resource Library earlier this week. The paper uses Lancaster County as a case study for a process of finding a focus for workforce investments through a thorough analysis of the local and regional economy. Sheely's basic premise is that prioritizing industries for investment allow local planners to drill down into those industries to understand important information on career paths and skill clusters.
Lancaster County found that concentrating on Advanced Manufacturing revealed a missing skill set around advanced industrial maintenance and mechatronics which the local Workforce Investment Board addressed by developing a sophisticated training program in partnership with the Berks County Workforce Investment Board, the Reading Area Community College, and the Lancaster County Career in Technology Center. The resulting Associates degree in Mechatronics Engineering Techology at RACC is recognized as world-class example of industry-driven workforce development.
Interesting further connections at the skill level to renewable energy-related occupations are being studied. To see the full paper, click here.
AP Economic Stress Index Shows Manufacturing Leading the Way to Recovery
Lancaster: In a recently released report, the Associated Press Economic Stress Index, a monthly analysis of the economic state of more than 3,100 U.S. counties, found that manufacturing counties have outperformed the national average since March. The Stress Index calculates a score from 1 to 100 based on a county's unemployment, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates. The higher the number, the greater the county's level of economic stress.
The top 100 manufacturing counties with populations of more than 25,000 saw their Stress score drop slightly over the spring and summer quarters, largely due to improvements in the unemployment rate. By comparison, the national average of similar counties saw county Stress score increases of about 7 percent over the same time. Lancaster, York, and Berks Counties had decreases during the spring and summer.