Guidelines are being drafted for a new program called Keystone Works, which could help unemployed Pennsylvanians find a job more quickly. “Keystone Works will provide an opportunity for the unemployed worker to receive training with a business while continuing to receive their UC benefits, at the same time incentivizing the employers to hopefully hire these unemployed individuals,” says Michelle Staton, deputy secretary for workforce development with the state Department of Labor & Industry.
The worker benefits by staying connected to the workforce, obtaining new skills and receiving job-specific training in a high-priority occupation. Even if they are not hired at the end of the eight-week program, Staton tells us the new skills will make it easier to find work elsewhere.
The employer benefits because the program helps off-set the cost of training, and offers incentives of up to $1,500 for every trainee they hire.
The new state budget includes $2.5-million dollars to cover the cost of those incentives. Staton says their goal is to train 2,000 workers in the first year of “Keystone Works.” The Department of Labor and Industry will be developing a website specifically for individuals and companies interested in Keystone Works.
The statewide jobless rate currently stands at 7.5%. July’s numbers are expected to be released later this week.