News Archive: October 2009
Lancaster County Workforce Investment Area Meets or Exceeds Performance Goals
Harrisburg: Recently, the PA Department of Labor and Industry announced that the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board and its contractors met five of its performance measures (Adult Entered Employment, Adult Retention Rate, Six Months Average Earnings for Dislocated Workers, and Literacy or Numeracy Gains for Youth) and exceeded four of its performance measures (Dislocated Worker Entered Employment Rate, Six Months Average Earning for Adults, Placement in Employment or Education for Youth, and Attainment of Degree or Certificate) for the 2008-2009 program year. This was the second year in a row that the Board and its contractor met or exceeded all of its goals.
"We have an incredible group of contractors including the Lancaster Employment and Training Agency, Arbor Education and Training, the Lancaster County Career and Technology Center, and the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit #13 which have done most of the heavy lifting in getting this work done effectively. All of us would agree that the oversight provided by our Deputy Director, Kim Sullenberger, is also an important part of our success over the years," commented Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board.
Workforce Investment Board Announces New Top 100 Jobs List
Lancaster: On October 19, the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board announced its updated version of the Top 100 Hot Occupations for Lancaster County. The new list puts projections on growth or decline in occupations over the next ten years together with information about retirements in the same period. This methodology allows the Board to provide much more detailed projections of human resource needs through the period. To download a copy of the list, click here.
Top 20 jobs include Retail Salespersons, Registered Nurses, Office Clerks, Customer Service Representatives, Laborers and Material Handlers, Truck Drivers, Sales Representatives, Nursing Aides, First Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers, Carpenters, Licensed Practical Nurses, Bookkeeping Clerks, Automotive Service Technicians, Chief Executives, Team Assemblers, Managers, Elementary School Teachers, Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators, Post Secondary Teachers, and Accountants.
City of Lancaster Announces Strategic Partnership to Rehab Houses
Lancaster: Randy Patterson, the Director of Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization for the City of Lancaster, announced on Friday, October 16 that the City, the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, and the Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology will be collaborating to rehabilitate as many as a dozen distressed properties in the coming year using $450,000 in stimulus funding from the City and another $60,000 in stimulus money from the Workforce Investment Board. Scott Sheely, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board, commented that "we're leveraging our money. That's a very, very good strategy and I applaud the mayor and city administration for looking for ways to do this."
Graduates from the Construction 101 and Building Maintenance programs of the Board will be the primary workforce for the rehabilitation project with other City-based contractors providing skilled workers. Many of the trainees are persons who have been involved with the Lancaster County Adult Probation and Parole Services and who are now striving to turn their lives around. The City through the Redevelopment Authority will contract with a local general contrator who will supervise the project as it evolves. Click here to see coverage by the Central Penn Business Journal.
Second Annual Latino Education Forum held on October 24
Lancaster: On Saturday, October 24, the Lancaster Latino Education Committee held its second annual Lancaster Latino Education Forum at the McCaskey East High School in Lancaster, PA. For a downloadable copy of the program, click here.
This one‐day event provided the opportunity for students, parents, educators, community leaders, and those who work for and on behalf of Latino students to engage in dialogues that generated an agenda to proactively address the needs of ALL students in Lancaster. An opening plenary, workshops and panel discussions focused on issues of critical interest to educational achievement. There were four components comprising this Forum: 1) Young Latinos Leadership Institute; 2) Lancaster Latino Parents Academy; 3) Professional Development; and 4) Community Engagement. Among the topics for the forum were Parental Involvement, Dropout Prevention, Graduation Achievement, Student Leadership, Higher Education Opportunities, School‐Community‐Family Partnerships, and Cultural Competence. Those attending included school district teachers and staff, parents, students and community agencies.
Created in March 2008, the Adelante con Fuerza Latino Education Committee seeks to serve as a catalyst for students, parents, educators and members of the community by proactively addressing and supporting innovative educational ideas. The various initiatives addressed by the committee further seek to transform our community into a learning hub in preparing students to become intellectual citizens of the world. The Committee is comprised primarily of professional Latinos who reside in Lancaster County. The impetus for its formation was the desire of community members to be engaged in education and the recently released report, Latinos in Lancaster County: Voices, Perspectives, Myths and Realities, authored by Lillian Escobar‐Haskins and sponsored by the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board.
Tolerance, Amenities and Economic Systems: Regional Development of the Knowledge Economy
Stockholm: In recent years, an economic transformation has challenged traditional regional stimulus policies and has led some theorists to reconsider the most effective methods to promote economic development in Western nations. Rather than
focusing primarily on the importance of attracting firms, some academics have suggested that in the knowledge economy, the attraction of individuals is the primary source of economic growth.
This paper by a Master's degree student at the Stockholm University reviews the most pertinent theories regarding this topic, including the fashionable creative class notion, the related skilled cities theory and the contrasting local production systems argument. These are important issues for us in Lancaster County as we see companies increasing their skill requirements and struggling to find the knowledge workers who know how to apply them on the job. See the Bibliography of the article for more resources.
For a downloadable copy of the article, click here.
Letter to the Editor Refutes Wire Service Story
Lancaster: (This is the full text of a Letter to the Editor that was sent to the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era regarding a wire service story that ran in that newspaper on September 24, 2009)
"On September 24, 2009, the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal New Era ran a wire service story in its Business Section entitled "Effort Fails to Find Jobs for Many Teens" which reported on the Summer Youth Employment Program run by Workforce Investment Boards around the country and funded by the US Department of Labor. The wire service story implied that the young people involved were competing with adults for summer jobs, that participants did not get jobs, and that the program had haphazard results.
In Lancaster County, the "facts" that were reported could not be further from the truth. More than 235 young people from age 14-24 worked in the program this year which was locally administered by the Lancaster Employment and Training Agency and funded with the support of the County of Lancaster through the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board. All of those involved received career information and coaching on general work skills. The older participants participated in skill training of various kinds before going out to jobs at over 40 different organizations around Lancaster County.
Those partners included the City of Lancaster, the Community Action Program, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Fairmont Homes, Elizabethtown Public Library, Ephrata Recreation Center, the Gathering Place, The Lancaster Chamber, the Lancaster County Conservancy, the Lancaster Council of Churches, the Lancaster Recreation Commission, the Lititz Recreation Center, the Manheim Community Library, the National Watch and Clock Museum, the North Museum, Rockford Plantation, Threshold Foundation, and Water Street Ministries among many others.
More importantly, ten participants were hired by their organization, six have enrolled in post-secondary education, three are pursuing training through the PA CareerLink, and most are going back to school. All of those involved received valuable work experience which contributed greatly to the needs of the non-profit organizations and government entities with which they worked. At no time were other workers displaced or replaced because of their employment.
We expect this program to continue beyond the summer with a focus on those young people who did not go back to school and who need to find a job.
Whether the Lancaster County program is the exception to the rule or whether the wire service exaggerated or misinterpreted the national experience, we can affirm to the people of Lancaster County that our young people from low-income families worked this summer in a way that contributed to the economy and well-being of our region. They made us proud of their accomplishments."
Scott J. Sheely
Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board