Pennsylvania Joins National Job Skills Partnership to Create A More Highly-Qualified Workforce

Governor Tom Wolf is taking more action to help create a highly qualified and competitive workforce. Today, the governor announced Pennsylvania joined the Skillful State Network. Skillful is a nonprofit initiative of the Markle Foundation focused on creating a labor market that values skills so workers, particularly those without four-year college degrees, can get good jobs in the changing economy.

“Pennsylvania businesses are hiring, and new and growing industries cannot find enough skilled workers,” said Governor Wolf. “To meet that demand, we’re combining Pennsylvania’s amazing workforce, advanced technologies and strategic location with innovative education and job training to prepare people for those emerging careers.

“Pennsylvania is proud to join the Skillful State Network as we continue to invest in education and job training and partner with the private sector to prepare workers for in-demand careers that will grow our economy.”

Launched in 2018, the State Skillful Network has 26 member states that are making workforce development a priority. Together, the states will share information about the tools and skills workers need to thrive and how to break down barriers that keep too many people from working.

Joining the State Skillful Network is part of Governor Wolf’s strategy for Pennsylvania to have the strongest workforce in the nation that drives the strongest economy. Other actions taken by the governor include:

 Creating PAsmart, a new innovative $30 million investment in STEM and computer science education, apprenticeships and job training that prioritizes partnerships among schools, employers and communities. The governor is proposing an additional $10 million for PAsmart to expand job training to more adult workers.

• Proposing the Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) in the 2019-20 budget. SWEAP builds on the success of PAsmart to provide opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. The plan expands access to early childhood education, increases investments in schools, and partners with the private sector.

• Establishing the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center that brings together commonwealth agencies and the private sector to close the skills gap.

• Launching the Apprenticeship and Training Office resulting in 138 new sponsors and 193 new apprenticeship programs or occupations, increasing the total number of registered apprentices to 16,866 statewide.

• Starting the Manufacturing PA Initiative to support critical training in the important sector of that economy.

Skillful is partnering with Microsoft to develop skills-based training and employment practices in collaboration with state governments, local employers, educators and workforce development organizations. Skillful produced the Skillful State Playbook, a step-by-step guide to build a skills-based labor market, which includes tools and resources.

The governors of California, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Missouri also joined the network today.