Manufacturers Applaud PA House of Representatives for Workforce Development Legislation

March 25, 2019 – HARRISBURG, PA - The Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association applauds the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on the passage of a package of bi-partisan legislation, #GoodJobs4PA (http://www.pahousegop.com/ctebills), aimed at filling the workforce gap crisis in our commonwealth.

“There are more manufacturing jobs available in Pennsylvania than the qualified individuals our state’s education system is currently able to produce,” said David N. Taylor, President & CEO of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. “These are good paying, family sustaining, meaningful, collaborative, problem-solving, highly fulfilling jobs. Without a pool of qualified, trainable workers, manufacturers will not be able to meet the demands of their customers, severely restricting Pennsylvania’s economic growth.”

Pennsylvania manufacturers face a crippling problem as there were a total of 71,000 manufacturing job openings in 2018 according to the Manufacturing Institute. Furthermore, in mid-February, there were more than 6,000 manufacturing jobs currently vacant in Pennsylvania according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

“A next generation workforce is needed here in Pennsylvania and I commend the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for passing a package of legislation that will begin to fill our growing workforce gap,” said Bryan Iams, PPG’s vice president of corporate and government affairs.

There are manufacturers that will train or pay for training for new hires. However, manufacturers throughout the commonwealth often can’t find new hires that are trainable due to a complete lack of both hard and soft employability skills.

“Pennsylvania’s industrial sector needs a workforce that is ready, adaptable, and trainable to enter into modern industry,” said Lee Kushman, Vice President & Regional Manager for Pennsylvania Steel Company, Inc. “Hard and soft employment skills are necessary to fill the void of vacant industrial jobs. Any legislation that is passed to enhance both the hard and soft skills of our young learners is a step in the right direction for Pennsylvania’s employers.”

A concerted effort to analyze, streamline, and execute a 21st Century workforce is desperately needed in Pennsylvania. Though there is still more work to be done, these bills represent a leap forward.

“Better coordination, more flexibility, and enhanced collaboration is needed between Pennsylvania’s education system and Pennsylvania’s employers to expand opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, and other programs that showcase the exciting careers our manufacturers have to offer,” said Douglass C. Henry, President & CEO of Henry Molded Products, Inc. “That’s exactly what the package of legislation passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives begins to do as we continue tackle the important issue of workforce development in our commonwealth.”

“One major issue is that students today don’t know or understand the opportunities that exist for meaningful, collaborative, and lucrative careers in manufacturing,” said David N. Taylor. “Our hope is that the package of legislation passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will allow schools to better showcase and communicate those opportunities in our 21st Century economy and better align the needs of employers with the available workforce.”

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