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Today’s Theme in Harrisburg is Workforce Development; Governor Signs Executive Order, Legislature Holds Hearing

February 19, 2019

Governor Tom Wolf today signed an executive order calling for a long-term investment in workforce assessment, development, and recruitment. His goal is to ensure the professional stability and economic success of every Pennsylvanian.

A bipartisan group of legislators, House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny) congratulated Governor Wolf on this new initiative aimed at addressing socioeconomic barriers and protecting the dignity of work for all. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale echoed these sentiments, applauding the diverse composition of leaders integrated into this strong coalition. Also joining the Governor in his announcement were representatives from labor organizations and the business community.

Governor Wolf’s initiative, the Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center, is slated to start immediately. The center will address Pennsylvania’s workforce challenges by convening a public-private partnership to target collectively public programs and resources to address Pennsylvania’s workforce shortage and talent needs. An executive committee will recommend action to reduce or eliminate impediments to employment, and better align resources and private sector needs to position the state as the keystone for a skilled workforce and competitive business climate.

The Governor emphasized that government should be a partner to ensure a ready workforce in Pennsylvania.

Many of these themes were referenced during the House Labor and Industry Committee’s  hearing about workforce development in Pennsylvania. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association and Pennsylvania Chamber, and many others, stressed the importance of leveraging the knowledge of community stakeholders, employers, and schools. These groups are familiar with Pennsylvania’s small business, generational, and community dynamics for program development and assessment.

The hearing’s presenters also spoke to the success of initiatives such as the YES Program, which works to develop soft skills, and transform youth and middle-aged individuals, who have been left behind in generational transitions, into “trainable employees.”

The importance of streamlined (red tape-free), flexible, and adjustable programming was reiterated by both Governor Wolf and representatives during the legislative hearing.

HAP supports the Governor’s decision to make a long-term investment in workforce assessment, development, and recruitment. Earlier this month, the association convened a Health Care Talent Task Force to guide the development of strategies that will help attract and retain the health care talent pool needed to provide quality, patient-centered care for Pennsylvania communities. The task force objectives include:

  • Identifying the workforce needs of member hospitals and health systems
  • Guiding the development of public policy strategies to improve the ability of hospitals and health systems to attract and retain the health care talent pool they need
  • Identifying strategies to support the transformation of the health care workforce given 21st century health care needs

For more information about HAP’s workforce efforts, please contact Mary Marshall, director, workforce and development, or for inquiries about HAP’s legislative efforts, please contact Stephanie Watkins, vice president, state legislative advocacy.

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