House Passes Package of Workforce Development Legislation

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

Last week, the state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a slate of bipartisan workforce development-related bills that have earned the PA Chamber’s backing.  The PA Chamber is helping lead an effort with the Wolf Administration, the General Assembly, state agencies and the private sector to build a more competitive workforce and close a jobs skills gap by empowering Pennsylvanians with knowledge about in-demand jobs and the skills and training required to obtain them.  To that end, our organization supports legislation that strengthens the Commonwealth’s workforce development programs and expands access to the tools that can help individuals accelerate their career path. The following PA Chamber-supported bills passed the House with overwhelming support:

  • H.B. 297 – Sponsored by Rep. Zach Mako, R-Northampton and requires the state Dept. of Education to develop materials outlining workforce needs, including training opportunities and future earning potential; and also calls for schools to allow community colleges and trade and technical schools to attend career and college fairs.
  • H.B. 334 – Sponsored by Rep. Seth Grove, R-York, and codifies into law a program to expedite classification of instructional programs; task PDE with establishing a standard application for schools wanting to establish or renew a CIP; and issue guidelines for students to apply certain courses toward credit for completion of a program at a vocational or technical school.
  • H.B. 393 – Sponsored by Rep. Patrick Harkins, D-Erie, and requires the Depts. of Education, Labor and Industry and Agriculture to develop and maintain a comprehensive online career resource center for students, parents, educators and school officials.
  • H.B. 394 – Sponsored by Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, and requires PDE and L&I to inventory existing workforce development programs, with goals of sharing best practices to improve the delivery of these programs.
  • H.B. 395 – Sponsored by Rep. James Roebuck, D-Philadelphia, and allows career technical education programs or a cluster of programs to establish occupational advisory committees at the Intermediate Unit level, to serve multiple districts or Career and Technical Centers.
  • H.B. 396 – Sponsored by Rep. James Roebuck, D-Philadelphia, and requires each local workforce development board to include in its membership at least one administrator of a career and technical center whose attendance area is covered by the service area of the WDB.
  • H.B. 425 – Sponsored by Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, R-Lehigh, and requires the Department of Labor and Industry to create CareerBound – a program that would aim to strengthen the connection between Pennsylvania’s students and the next generation of high-priority careers, providing those students with early exposure to a wide array of career opportunities.

The PA Chamber thanks the sponsors of these bills for promoting legislation that will help to train the next generation of skilled workers across the Commonwealth.  All of these bills now await consideration by the state Senate.