The Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC) is trying to help address the shortage of skilled workers that companies need to thrive in its nine-county Central PA region, which includes Columbia and Montour counties.
As part of its strategy to find a solution, CPWDC convened career & technical education (CTE) directors and several business leaders to help define the need. It heard loud and clear that one problem is insufficient awareness of outstanding career opportunities and how programs offered at CTE organizations can help students access a pathway to a promising future, complete with community and family-sustaining wages, with area businesses. Another misperception is that a four-year degree is the only pathway to success. While some professions require a four-year degree, those in skilled trades that require less than a four-year degree can and do have happy, successful lives pursuing these careers. Finally, school administration and teachers need to be aware of the skills companies are demanding and then prepare students with the understanding the skilled trades are viable options for many students and that a four year degree is right for some students, but not all.
CPWDC is working to improve the disconnect between students, parents, teachers, school administrators and businesses by marketing the skilled trades in a number of ways. One such way depends on partnerships with cutting edge business leaders. Through a competitive grant awarded to CPWDC and with additional funding from The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber, CPWDC is creating a series of short, engaging videos to significantly increase the awareness of locally available careers in the skilled trades. In doing so, CPWDC wants to showcase area businesses that are in need of career and technical talent. The professionally filmed and edited videos will highlight the career opportunities available now and in the future within various sectors. Interviews of both senior level management and thriving employees will show all three target audiences why the skilled trades should not be overlooked as a career choice. Connections will be made to show how CTE plays a critical role in preparing the workforce needed now and in the future. Content will be widely available to reach as many students, parents, and teachers as possible, including via an online career connections website, Path2Careers, which is scheduled to launch this fall.
If you would be willing to be part of increasing awareness of the skilled trades by being part of this project, please a media release form and return to CPWDC by Aug. 17. The momentum of the project is building quickly and production is slated to begin at the end of August. For questions about the videos or the website, contact Erica Mulberger, CPWDC executive director, or Korrie Lucas, operations manager.