The Industry Partnerships program attempts to match skilled workforce training to the industries and jobs that exist in the Keystone State. Supporters say it will help to fill the gap that exists between the skills employers need and the skills that are available in the workforce. “There’s nothing worse in the world than to train somebody for a job that doesn’t exist,” says Tony Ross, president of United Way of Pennsylvania. Ross says that Governor Tom Corbett’s signature on SB 552 codifies the program, thus improving its long-term viability.
The program dates back to 2005, and the Department of Labor & Industry reports that some 118,000 people have received training since that time. “More than 6,300 businesses have taken part in more than 80-partnerships throughout the state,” adds State Senator Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster). Brubaker was the prime sponsor of SB 552. Pennsylvania’s Industry Partnerships program is also becoming a model for the rest of the nation.
The new state budget includes about $1.6-million dollars for the program’s administration. Tony Ross tells us another of the benefits is that it covers such a broad swath of industry. “Everything from health care, to manufacturing, to Information Technology – you name it – any industry can access this opportunity.”
Both the State House and Senate voted unanimously to make the Industry Partnerships program permanent. Governor Tom Corbett signed it – along with 45 other new laws – on Thursday.