Governor Tom Wolf today visited High Steel Structures in Lancaster County to outline his bold budget plan to create the strongest workforce in the nation. The governor’s Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) will provide opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement.
“Our commonwealth is on a comeback and I want to bring students, workers, educators and businesses together like never before to create the best workforce in the nation,” said Governor Wolf. “Our world is constantly changing with new businesses and new technologies. We need to be laser-focused on educating and training people for good jobs in those growing industries.
The governor unveiled SWEAP in his 2019-20 budget on Tuesday 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.
Governor Wolf’s SWEAP plan would:
- Invest in high-quality child care and reduce waiting lists so parents can work.
- Expand home-visiting programs for at -risk pregnant women, infants and toddlers.
- Provide services so low-income parents get the education and training for better jobs
- Make sure kids are in school by age 6 and stay until age 18, and their teachers earn at least $45,000 per year.
- Connect teachers with businesses so classrooms are preparing students for today’s workforce.
- Expand PAsmart with additional investments in apprenticeships and Continuing Technical Education
- Provide one-time grants for community college students who are working in Pennsylvania.
The governor will also create the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center to bring together government, schools and industry like never before. The departments of Community and Economic Development, Labor & Industry (L&I), and State will work with external leaders including Chamber of Business and Industry President Gene Barr, and AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale. The governor wants to find innovative solutions that close the skills gap and rapidly meet the needs of employers.
“I’m very pleased to see Governor Wolf’s emphasis and new ideas on workforce development,” said Mike Shirk, Chief Executive Officer of The High Companies. “Working together to solve the serious skills gap across Pennsylvania is one of the greatest opportunities we have for strengthening our economy and broadening prosperity.”
While on site, the governor toured the company’s training initiative, High Steel University, and visited with new and experienced employees in the welding program. The company partners with schools, businesses and economic development officials on workforce development and to remove barriers to employment. Last year, the company was approved for the first registered non-traditional apprenticeship program in hospitality.