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Wolf Administration Visits Penn Highlands; Highlights Job Training & New PAsmart Initiative

Posted August 29, 2018 at 3:05 pm

Today, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak and Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani toured Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, and participated in a local business roundtable in Johnstown, highlighting Governor Tom Wolf’s PAsmart initiative in job training programs and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education to help job seekers obtain good, middle-class jobs in 21st century careers.

“Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is working to build career pipelines to in-demand jobs in health care and STEM-related industries by providing students with post-secondary education and stackable credentials to meet local employers’ needs,” said Secretary Oleksiak. “Governor Wolf is proposing historic new investments through PAsmart to improve access for Pennsylvania students and workers to education and job training programs to ensure that students and job seekers receive the real-world skills they need to obtain good, middle-class jobs.”

PAsmart, a first-of-its-kind $30 million investment, is a new way of thinking about job training and workforce development by providing targeted funding for apprenticeship programs, STEM education, computer science, and more, so students and workers get the training and skills needed for in-demand, middle-class jobs.

Secretary Oleksiak and Deputy Secretary Cipriani toured the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College health care program and met with students and educators. The college recently approved a new Patient Care Technician certificate program that will be offered to students this fall. Wolf Administration officials also visited the engineering tech and computer science labs.

“Education and training programs like those offered at Pennsylvania Highland Community College that rely on cooperation between local businesses, educators, and local government officials to train and upskill the regional workforce provide positive benefits to employers and job seekers alike,” said Cipriani.

After the tour, the secretary and deputy secretary sat down with Rep. Bryan Barbin, Cambria County President Commissioner Tom Chernisky and representatives from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Cambria Regional Chamber of Commerce, Convergys, Goodwill Industries, Forest Hills School District, Johnstown Area Regional Industries, Johnstown Welding and Fabrications Inc., PA CareerLink® Cambria County, North American Hoganas, Southern Alleghenies Workforce Development Board, and Riggs Industries to discuss workforce development initiatives.

“We are most effective in meeting the training needs of our region when both businesses and government support our efforts,” stated Pennsylvania Highlands Community College President Dr. Walter Asonevich. “We depend on the partnerships we have with hospitals, manufacturers, the county commissioners, and so many others to provide the training needed in the most cost-effective way.”

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is located in Johnstown with locations in Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon, and Somerset Counties. Pennsylvania Highlands provides academic programs designed to prepare students for entry into the workplace or to transfer and continue their education at other higher education institutions. Pennsylvania Highlands works closely with businesses and industries to provide workforce training and continuing education opportunities to employees in the region.

Last month, the governor signed an executive order to cut red tape and improve coordination between several state agencies to more effectively deliver workforce development services to Pennsylvanians. Under the executive order, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, the governor’s private sector policy advisor, will provide recommendations on the distribution of the $30 million in PAsmart funding, which will be driven out through competitive grants. This collaboration will help to ensure the investments meet employers’ need for skilled workers and that workers are gaining the skills for good, middle-class jobs that will grow Pennsylvania’s economy.

For more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life, visit PAsmart.

Article Source: Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry