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Pennsylvania Governor Corbett Visits Reading Area Community College's Schmidt Training and Technology Center to Address Job Creation Priorities, Workforce Development

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today visited Reading Area Community College (RACC) to further his administration's workforce development and job training efforts with local employers. The visit included a student-led tour of RACC's Schmidt Training and Technology Center pneumatics lab and a panel discussion on workforce development featuring local employers, educators and government officials.

"Through JOBS1stPA, we are supporting critical workforce development programs that help Pennsylvania workers secure family-sustaining jobs, and help employers find the highly-skilled workers to keep our economy growing," Corbett said.

RACC's Schmidt Training and Technology Center provides customized training programs that adjust to the changing needs of employers. Types of students that are trained include those from traditional post-secondary schools, students choosing new careers, and local manufacturing employees using RACC to fulfill employer training requirements.

"Through training programs such as those offered at RACC and the Schmidt Training and Technology Center, students are trained for the jobs that are in-need and available today," Corbett said.

The governor's proposed 2014-2015 budget focuses on a Talented Workers program to align education and workforce development with current job opportunities. Investments include:

  • Pennsylvania First and WEDnetPA –Total funding for PA First is $42.5 million in 2014-15. WEDnetPA has supported training of more than 175,000 employees since PA First was created.
  • Partnerships for Regional Economic Performance (PREP) and Local Workforce Investment Boards (LWIB)$4 million in re-employment funds available to PREP regions and LWIBs to increase coordination between economic development and workforce development at a regional level.
  • Pennsylvania Targeted Industry Program (PA TIP) - To close the skills gap, the PA TIP provides financial aid grants to meet workforce needs. This budget increases this investment from $5 million to $6 million. To date, grants have been awarded to more than 1,200 students.
  • Jobs for All – The budget creates on-the-job-training reimbursement program, as a direct financial incentive to promote the hiring of young people with disabilities. The first phase of this initiative will help employers successfully hire up to 1,000 young people with disabilities. Also, $1 million in new state funds will allow for the drawdown of an additional $3.8 million in available federal funds, allowing the Department of Labor & Industry's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to serve more people with disabilities seeking employment.
  • JobGateway – JOBS1st PA will continue to connect job seekers and employers through JobGateway(SM), a free, user-friendly job matching website that helps Pennsylvanians looking for work find opportunities from tens of thousands of real-time job postings, find training for positions they have interest in and find out what industries are hiring in their region.

Corbett's proposed 2014-15 budget also provides a total of $1.62 billion for Pennsylvania's students and higher education institutions, including $212.2 million in operational funding and $47.9 million in capital funding for Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges.

With this budget, Corbett also launched the Ready to Succeed Scholarship program, which will provide an additional $25 million for middle income students who want to earn a two- or four-year degree. The Ready to Succeed scholarship would provide up to $2,000 to eligible students whose families earn up to $110,000. The scholarship program would be administered by the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and would be in addition to the $345 million included in the budget for state grants funding for students.

"Through the Ready to Succeed Scholarship program, more students will be able to graduate career-ready from institutions like RACC and will be well-equipped to enter Pennsylvania's vibrant workforce," Corbett said.

Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway has also met with community colleges throughout the commonwealth, including Community College of Allegheny County, Reading Area Community College and Philadelphia Community College to discuss opportunities for workforce development and highlight Pennsylvania's job-matching site, JobGateway.

"The Corbett administration has been working with community colleges across Pennsylvania to help them form partnerships that create solid and sustainable connections with the business community," Hearthway said. "One of the technical tools being utilized in that effort is JobGateway, a website created to better connect people looking for work and local employers. Institutions like RACC's Schmidt Training and Technology Center address this issue by training students to fill positions that employers demand and help students achieve great careers."

At today's event, RACC President Dr. Anna Weitz and Bloomsburg President Dr. David Soltz signed a "Dual Admission Agreement," which will create specialized programs to allow students to begin their education at RACC and graduate with a bachelor's degree from Bloomsburg. 

"In my Postsecondary Advisory Report, I have supported Dual Admission Agreements that allow students to transfer across the higher education system," said Corbett. "As an example, this great partnership between RACC and Bloomsburg will help graduates enter the workforce with the skills they need to secure family-sustaining jobs right here in Pennsylvania."

In addition to Gov. Corbett, participants of the panel discussion included Department of Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway; Dr. Anna Weitz, President, Reading Area Community College; Robert Harrop, East Penn Manufacturing; David Niemkiewicz, Bayer HealthCare, LLC; Bonnie Spayd, Reading Area Community College; Guido Pichini, Security Guards, Inc.; David Patti, Pennsylvania Business Council; and Dr. David Soltz, President of Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Media Contact:
Valerie Caras, Governor's Office; 717-425-1044
Sara Goulet, Labor and Industry; 717-787-5279
Tim Eller, Education; 717-783-9802

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

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