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04/12/2019

L&I Tours Program to Train and Retain Early Childhood Education Workers at the YMCA of Reading & Berks County, Highlights Governor’s Proposal to Boost Skilled Job Training

Reading, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani today visited the YMCA of Reading & Berks County's childcare center with Senator Judy Schwank to highlight the Early Childcare Provider Training and Incentive Program, which aims to train and retain early childhood education workers. During the tour, Cipriani discussed Governor Tom Wolf's plan to expand job training and education through his proposed Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP).

"Promoting job training and education programs, like the early childhood provider training program at the YMCA, ensures that we have a job-ready workforce to meet employers' needs," said Cipriani. "One of Governor Wolf's priorities is to make sure that Pennsylvania businesses have access to a world-class workforce, which is why his SWEAP proposal increases investments in job training and education programs to prepare students for emerging fields and careers." 

 Governor Wolf's SWEAP budget proposal provides opportunities for Pennsylvanians from birth to retirement. SWEAP builds on the PAsmart initiative that launched last year. PAsmart encourages school, business and community partnerships to prepare people for the jobs of today and the future. Through PAsmart grants, the Wolf Administration provided nearly $30 million to expand apprenticeships and job training, as well as bolster STEM and computer science in schools.

Governor Wolf's budget proposal also includes $2 million in federal funds to support education, training, professional supports, and an apprenticeship model specifically for infant and toddler teachers to improve their skills and advance their careers; as well as a $74 million increase in child care rates to increase the minimum wage for all Pennsylvania child care workers to $12 per hour. The wage increase is an important step towards ensuring that wages for early childhood educators are keeping up with growing educational requirements and the cost of living, reducing staff turnover for child care providers, and maintaining a strong child care workforce that give children a strong start that will carry through education and adulthood.

Deputy Secretary Cipriani and Senator Schwank toured the childcare center and spoke with United Way and YMCA staff about the early childhood provider training program, which is a collaboration between United Way, Reading Area Community College and several childcare centers.

"There is high demand for skilled childcare workers in Berks County and this unique program is training and mentoring well-qualified candidates for daycare sites in our community," Senator Schwank said. "I am so pleased that Deputy Secretary Cipriani was able to observe the program in action. It is a model that could be replicated throughout the Commonwealth."

The YMCA childcare center cares for children ages 6 weeks through kindergarten age and is partially funded by the United Way. The center is designated as a Keystone STARS 3 center, which recognizes both required standards, as well as continuous quality improvement efforts around staff qualifications and professional development. Pennsylvania's STARS system recognizes early learning programs with a rating ranging from one to four stars.  

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

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lindsay Bracale or Penny Ickes, 717-787-7530 or dlipress@pa.gov

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