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05/29/2019

L&I Highlights Governor’s SWEAP Plan to Address the Skills Gap and Worker Shortage

Local students share their CTC experiences, give robotics and drone demonstrations in the Capitol    

Harrisburg With industries dealing with a shortage of skilled and trained workers that businesses need to succeed, Pennsylvania needs Governor Tom Wolf's bold plan to create a strong and competitive workforce, the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) said today. 

During a Capitol news conference L&I Deputy Secretary for Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani said the governor's Statewide Workforce, Education, and Accountability Program (SWEAP) plan would expand career and technical education and STEM programs so students and adults are prepared for 21st century jobs. 

"There is a tremendous need for skilled workers," said Cipriani. "Our investments in skills training, STEM, and job programs are working, but we must do more to meet the needs of industry and grow our economy. The governor's SWEAP proposal is the bold plan Pennsylvania needs to strategically invest in workers, so they have the skills for emerging careers. 

"We must also change the outdated stereotypes about career and technical education. These skills are in high demand and can open the door to good jobs in rewarding middle class careers." 

Cipriani was joined by students, teachers, and administrators from Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School (AVTS) and Dauphin County Technical School. The students discussed career opportunities available with a CTE education, outlined their experiences at CTE centers, and provided demonstrations on robotics and drone equipment.    

Cipriani said the governor's SWEAP plan builds on last year's successful launch of PAsmart to create a more qualified and highly-skilled workforce. The proposed PAsmart funding includes: 

  • $20 million to expand computer science and STEM education;
  • $7 million to expand registered apprenticeships;
  • $3 million to expand job training through Next Generation Industry Partnerships;
  • $6 million to expand adult career and technical education programs; and
  • $4 million to expand Manufacturing to Career Training Grants. 

Other SWEAP components would enable more children to attend high-quality child care; ensure kids are in school age 6 and stay until age 18; modernize the minimum teacher salary to help address a teacher shortage; expand opportunities for teachers to visit local employers and bring the experience back to the classroom, and increase job training for low-income parents. 

The governor also recently created the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center. The partnership between state government and private sector leaders will identify and address the barriers to work, skills gaps, and worker shortages in Pennsylvania.  

"Not everyone wants or needs to go to a four-year college, but every worker needs real-world skills for in-demand, 21st century jobs," said Cipriani. "The Wolf Administration aims to provide 60 percent of Pennsylvanians with some form of postsecondary education and training by 2015. The governor's PAsmart initiative is investing in both Pennsylvania's workforce and its businesses, to improve access for students to education, training, and career readiness programs." 

Cumberland Perry AVTS is a public school serving the Big Spring, Camp Hill, Cumberland Valley, East Pennsboro, Greenwood, Mechanicsburg, Newport, Northern York, South Middleton, Susquenita, Upper Adams, West Perry, and West Shore school districts. The school provides 21 different programs that integrate state-of-the-art tools and equipment into a career and technical curriculum that focuses on in demand careers.  

Dauphin County Technical School is a full-time, comprehensive public career and technical high school serving Central Dauphin, Derry Township, Halifax Area, Harrisburg, Lower Dauphin, Middletown Area, and Susquehanna Township school districts. The school offers 25 career and technical education programs that prepare students to enter post-secondary education and industry with the attitude, skills, and knowledge necessary to be successful in a constantly changing and competitive world.  

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

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

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