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Wolf Administration Joins Educators and Boscov’s for Teacher in the Workplace Tour in Berks County

Program connects K-12 teachers to local businesses across Pennsylvania  

Reading, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Executive Deputy Secretary Robert O'Brien joined educators at Boscov's Distribution Center in Berks County today to see firsthand how the Teacher in the Workplace program is connecting the classroom to the workplace. O'Brien joined teachers and toured the family-owned department store's logistics and distribution center in Reading.    

Championed by Governor Tom Wolf, the Teacher in the Workplace program enables K-12 educators to visit employers in their areas. The teachers learn about the skills and knowledge students need for local jobs and bring that information back to the classroom. 

"The Wolf Administration is committed to ensuring that Pennsylvania's workforce is well-prepared for jobs that are in high demand," said O'Brien. "The Teacher in the Workplace program allows educators to engage directly with employers to develop a better understanding of the job skills needed in different industries. Teachers who participate in the program incorporate what they learn into their classroom instruction to better prepare their students for success." 

O'Brien was joined by 35 local educators, administrators and staff as he toured Boscov's Distribution Center's inventory control operation, warehouse management system, and transfer trailer fleet to see what skills these jobs require. Earlier this year, Governor Wolf announced nearly $2.6 million in Teacher in the Workplace grants supporting 59 programs in Pennsylvania. The manufacturing TIW program, administered by the Berks County Workforce Development Board, received a $50,000 grant to educate teachers about local manufacturing jobs to help them develop lesson plans that teach students the skills for in-demand careers.  

"Industries, particularly manufacturing, are experiencing a shortage of trained workers, which is why Governor Wolf is increasing access to STEM education, job training, and career and technical education programs," said O'Brien. "The governor's PAsmart proposal works to build a world-class workforce through strategic workforce investments to build a robust talent pipeline of skilled workers that businesses need to grow and thrive."   

Governor Wolf's nationally-leading workforce development initiative, PAsmart, is a new way to invest in people and business to create and expand innovative job training in STEM, computer science, apprenticeships, and other programs so workers get the skills that businesses need to compete in the global economy. PAsmart is expanding this year to provide $20 million for science and technology education, $10 million for career and technical education, and $10 million for hands-on skills training and apprenticeships. 

The employer-led Berks County Workforce Development Board has long understood the importance of strong business leader connection with educators and our 70,000 K-12 students to bridge the gaps with what they learn in school with a solid individualized plan for attainting their career goals," said Berks County Workforce Development Board Executive Director Dan Fogarty. "We believe that K-12 educators remain a critical, but underutilized conduit to building this connectivity.   

"Specifically, funding provided by the commonwealth to support efforts by our Career Ready Berks Pathways Alliance to support our inside Berks Business Educator Internship Program allow us to better coordinate and expand diverse summer internships for educators. This program provides a proven perception-building exercise to promote a deeper shared understanding of how career-related curriculum development can positively impact the fundamental student knowledge, skills and abilities that excellent local employers such as Boscov's consider essential for successful careers in the 21st century," added Fogarty. 

The Berks County Workforce Development Board works to identify the long-term, strategic workforce development needs of the community; propose strategies to meet those needs; set priorities; build partnerships to align resources in support of those strategies; test specific initiatives to advance those ends; and measure and evaluate results. 

"Boscov's is very pleased to support the initiatives of Career Ready Berks Pathways Alliance, Berks County Workforce Development Board and the Teacher in the Workplace program that are focused on workforce development to ensure that there are trained, skilled workers to meet future community workforce needs," said Toni M. Miller, Senior Executive Vice President, Boscov's, Inc. "Having L&I Executive Deputy Secretary O'Brien and educators visit and tour Boscov's Distribution Center is an excellent example of how businesses can effectively partner with the state, educators and other organizations to address future workforce needs.   The firsthand experience can help educators develop meaningful classroom curriculums that will facilitate a better understanding of the skills, abilities and educational knowledge that employers like Boscov's consider essential for successful careers." 

Boscov's Department Stores is America's largest family-owned department store with 49 locations in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Connecticut, and Rhode Island as well as an online website.  Within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Boscov's currently operates 24 store locations.  Additionally, Boscov's has a major supply chain/logistics distribution center in Reading, PA that supports the Company's retail business.  Boscov's has been proudly serving its customers and communities for over 100 years. 

The Teacher in the Workplace grants are funded through federal money made available from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act to offer grants through a partnership with L&I and the Department of Education. Federal dollars financed 91.4%, or $2,637,017.75 of the TIW grants. Local workforce investment boards provided matching funds for 9.6% or $248,141.69 for these projects. 

The PAsmart website has more information about pursuing an education and career in Pennsylvania at any stage of life. 

MEDIA CONTACTS: Penny Ickes or Theresa Elliott, 717-787-7530 or 

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